In my professional world, the term “dialed in” is often used in reference to a player who is hot at the plate and hitting everything he sees. Or a pitcher who is dominating the opposition with ease.
As president and CEO of the Arizona Diamondbacks, I’m often put in a position to accept an award for the great work our organization does in the community and, sometimes, it can be uncomfortable receiving something that you know is really a reflection of those around you.
The same holds true when it comes to our family, where my wife Amy is the driving force in helping us juggle the many responsibilities that come with my career. In fact, when I accepted an award as “Father of the Year” a few years back, I pointed to Amy during my acceptance speech and said she was actually father and mother of the year in our household.
They say the baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint, consisting of 162 regular season games, plus 30 more in spring training—and, if you’re fortunate, another 20 in the postseason. The games are mostly at night and on weekends, and yet, our staff is back at the ballpark at 8:30 the next morning, even after a very late night at Chase Field. It also means numerous nights on the road, either with the team or for other business commitments.
So what do you do when you spend more time at the ballpark than you do in your own home? For us, the answer has been to make the ballpark our second home.
After meeting in college and being married for 23 years, Amy has grown up with me in the game of baseball. Her recognition of the demands of this position have been a huge key in letting me become the father that I’ve always wanted to be.
For 19 years, since our oldest child was born, she has made it part of her routine to bring our family to me at the stadium. That means that on most evenings during the summer, she will pack up the car and drive the kids downtown, where we can all sit together for nine innings.
From that standpoint, I’m fortunate that baseball is my passion and profession because it lends itself so well to conversation and interaction. While other sports may be more fast-paced, the time between pitches and between innings affords us an opportunity to talk about our kids’ most recent exams, their latest tennis or soccer match, or an issue they might be dealing with at school.
That being said, we’ve always enjoyed Sunday night dinners, date nights, movie nights, memorable vacations and holidays, and pillow parties at home, where we lay on the family room floor watching a movie with every pillow in the house under us and surrounding us. And I’ve tried to attend most of their school and sporting events as they’ve grown up, though conflicts have made that a true challenge.
Our ballpark routine may seem unconventional to many, but it works for us. I always preach to our employees that it is our job to “find a way to win, even when we lose” on the field and that’s often how I feel regardless of the outcome of that night’s game. Whether we have a walk-off victory or lose an important game in heart-breaking fashion, if my family was there with me to share three hours together, I’m still able to come home feeling like a winner.
Editor’s note: Derrick Hall is president and CEO of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and a resident of the Town of Paradise Valley. His column first appeared in a newsletter published by MASK (Mothers Awareness on School-age Kids). MASK is located at 8937 E. Bell Road, Suite 202, Scottsdale, Ariz. 85260. Click here to join the MASK mailing list.