When I was only four years old my father police officer Bobby Thomas passed away from cancer. Most boys grow up wanting to be just like their dad but I never got a chance to know mine. I would heard countless stories of all the work he did to help others and would hear my fathers old friends recall memories like they were still in the moment, but none of those memories were my own. Growing up I was a drifter of sorts, I never aspired to be a superhero or anything else I was just content with being a kid. As I go older I eventually fell in love with the game of basketball at the age of sixteen years old. I would find out later that my father loved the game but I never had anyone to introduce me to the game when I was younger. To say that I was horrible the first three or so years of playing would be an understatement. I was a cross between a baby deer and a baby walking for the very first time. I would see my teammates fathers encouraging (and sometimes discouraging) them during the games, taking them to the court to shoot, and telling revised stories of their old playing days.
Even though I was raised by a loving, powerfully, and unbelievable mother I would be lying if I said I didn’t sometimes wish my dad was in the stands seeing my awkwardly run up and down the court. Eventually I got better, earned a full scholarship to play college basketball, and after that a professional contract to play in Europe. A career ending changed my path from playing to coaching the game and I thank god everyday that it did. Why? Because if it wasn’t for that injury I wouldn’t have my family. Sure there are thousands of people I’ve had the privilege of helping and impacting as a speaker and author but none more important than my son and daughter.
When I was younger I used to dream about being a father. I used to see my son and I playing basketball, going out for ice cream (most times right before dinner) and me sneaking him out of school to go on adventures. When I got married my wife and I were told by doctors that we were most likely not going to be able to have children. After trying almost everything to make that happen I decided with my wife that we were going to stop the process for a little while. I told her that we needed to change out mindset. Having a child should never be a stressful situation and thats exactly what we were making it. I went away to California for a speaking engagement and received a text on my last day from my wife. She said “No matter what time you get home please wake me up we have to talk.” As I ran through all the things I could have possibly don’t wrong I ran out of reasons why she would be waiting for me with a knife when I arrived home. When I came into the bedroom much to my surprise she was already awake. Under her pillow she had not one but four pregnancy test, each reading positive. (I guess she wanted to make sure) For the first time in a long time I cried as we hugged.
My wife and I have been together for over a decade at that point and it was the first time she saw me shed a tear. The first thing I said to my wife Melissa is that we were having a son. She smiled and said sure babe lets wait and see. After months of various women touching her belly and telling us that they were certain their baby voodoo predicts it will be a girl, our doctor confirmed it was indeed a boy. On June 4, 2013 at 4:28am Bryce Thomas was born. I gave him that name so he would have the same initials as my father. My wife was still recovering as the nurse walked me in to see my new baby boy. For all you fathers out there that know the feeling you know that no words can describe it. I just remember holding him and seeing his life and mine flash in a matter of seconds. Again tears rolled down my cheek as I held my boy in my arms. Bryce is three now and not a day goes by where I don’t thank the heavens for him and now his little sister Niya. I knew from the start that I would have a son but I had no idea that from the second I held him that I could love anyone of anything so deeply.