By: Brian Laubscher
Sports Information Director
So the University has a social media group that gets together on a fairly regular basis and discusses such things as Facebook, Twitter and blogs. Yesterday, we met and blogs were a major topic of discussion, and I was more than a little embarrassed to show that the Sidelines Blog hadn’t been updated in more than a month. So, today I started lining up our bloggers for the 2012-13 school year and figured I would get the posting started (at least to give you all some new content).
Of course I looked back to see what, if anything, I wrote last July and it turns out I posted on July 26, almost one year to the day. My how things have changed in that time.
On July 26, 2011, I wrote that there were only 35 days left before our first game and I was in the process of preparing a nursery, taking childbirth classes and trying to milk as much sleep as I could before meeting my first born. I thought life was going to get pretty crazy, but it was far different than I expected.
I wrote on July 26 of last year that I was a little horrified about the prospects of childbirth and what I was about to witness, but as stated in my post of October 4, the entire experience was pretty amazing and far from traumatic. I thought it was because we were just super cool and laid back parents, but it turns out it was because we had a super cool and crazy laid back son.
Life changed forever on September 18, 2011 and of course there were adjustments, but like most all parents I can now tell you that it’s worth every moment.
Having a child in the midst of football season was among the greatest of fears. People told me I would average 2-3 hours of sleep per night all while I would be working 50-60 hour weeks. They said I would be a zombie and they said I would get frustrated and they said it would be tough. Maybe it’s just because everything appears rosier looking back, but I remember sleeping at least 5-8 hours per night. I was rarely ever frustrated because there was very little crying and the only tough part was having to leave Parker and mom to go to work every day.
And so it went through the entire fall season until Thanksgiving arrived and ushered in the final stage of the new me – being a full-fledged dad.
The nature of being an SID is that you rarely are able to actually take all the vacation time that the University allows and so I had been maxed out on the number of vacation days for the better part of a decade. When I learned of little Parker’s arrival, I began planning for how I would now enjoy all those days that I never took.
I met with my superiors, Jan Hathorn and Jeff Hanna, and both were completely supportive of my decision to take as much parental leave time as was possible. Despite having to leave my little guy nearly every day for the first two months of his life, I was going to experience him every day for the next six weeks starting on the Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving.
For the first time since assuming my role as Sports Information Director on July 6, 1998, I did not think about what I should be doing or what I could be doing with regard to the job. I did not check my email, did not field phone calls and did not check the website. I was a dad first and SID second. To be honest, it was a bit liberating. I still worked a few games here and there when I was needed, but I didn’t ask what was being done and left my assistants completely in charge (one of which started working the very week I began my break).
The result of these actions included an enhanced bond with my son and the release of an immense weight from my shoulders. I love my job, but I realized it no longer defines who I am. It took a long time to come to grips with this but I’m a happier person for it.
Once the second week of January arrived, it was back to the office, but my leave continued as I was permitted to take every Monday and Thursday off until the middle of June. I loved my time with Parker and I loved getting back to work at the office, but it did come with its own unique sets of challenges. Though I continued to work as much as I could from home the two days I was off, finding ways to accomplish tasks around 1-2 hour naps 2-3 times per day was difficult. So was trying to finish five days worth of work in three. I never fell behind, but always felt like the greyhounds chasing the rabbit they can never seem to catch at the dog track.
Soon enough the 2011-12 athletic season concluded and the summer began. It still seems like a whirlwhind (perhaps that’s just the way things feel as a parent), but I’m finally feeling like I’m ready and prepared for the new year to begin. I’ve got a great staff, a loving supportive wife and the best kid anyone could ask for.
They say life comes full circle and maybe that’s true. We are now just 35 days from another season and I’m left wondering what the next year holds in store just as I did one year and one day ago. The difference is that the world appears so different to these eyes and I can’t wait to experience what comes next!