It’s been quite the offseason for me and my family already, with still more yet to come as we wind toward another basketball season.
Right now, I’m on Team No Sleep, but I’m still doing really well.
Robyn and I welcomed our second daughter, Charlotte “Charlie” Margaret Hayward, to the world about a month ago. That’s just another incredible blessing for us.
I’m so proud of Robyn for being so great through the whole thing. It’s amazing what mothers have to go through. First and foremost, they have those long nine months of their body changing, their hormones affecting them, emotional changes. Then to go through the whole process of giving birth, and the labor process—I know that’s a painful thing.
Charlotte’s birth took a little bit longer than Bernadette’s, but I think having been through it before (and not too long ago at that) was good for Robyn. She knew what to expect.
One major difference was that we were in Utah this time around for the birth. When Bernadette was born, we made sure we were in Indianapolis, where we’re both from, for the final months of Robyn’s pregnancy and the birth. It was comfortable for us.
But since then, we’ve really embraced having Utah be our home now, so we decided to stay here this time. The Jazz have been really cooperative, and great in supporting us, and giving us anything that we need. The hospital was also great, so it was an excellent experience.
It’s unfortunate that we don’t get to see as much family, because both of our families are back in Indiana. Not everybody gets to see the baby like they did when we had Bernadette. We have been able to FaceTime, and post pictures on Instagram though, so people at least get to see Charlotte that way. That’s the beautiful thing about the technology we have today.
A photo posted by robynmhayward (@robynmhayward) on
How did we land on Charlotte?
We just like the name, honestly, and we like the nickname of “Charlie.” For whatever reason, we have two girls that have boy nicknames. We’re rolling with it though. I am outnumbered now, 3-1. But I do have our dog, Cyber, who’s a male. So it’s me and Cyber versus the world.
ADJUSTING TO CHANGES
Things change drastically when you add another little one.
A photo posted by robynmhayward (@robynmhayward) on
Thankfully, we were ready to bring her home and had everything set up. We had all the stuff from Bernadette, and I’d spent time before Charlie was born helping try to get everything ready. The first time, you buy all this stuff that you don’t ever use, but you don’t know that at the time. This time, we were a lot smarter with what exactly we were going to need.
There hasn’t been much sleep to be had for either of us, especially Robyn. She’s breastfeeding, and has to get up every couple of hours to make sure that the baby eats. At the same time, Bernadette still wants her mom, so she has to try to balance that—where she finds time to play with Bernadette, and be with her and love her, too.
Balancing everything is something that has been extremely difficult for us. It’s not only balancing time for both Bernadette and Charlotte to get the attention they each need and deserve. It’s also allowing Robyn to still be who she is, and not just being the mom. All moms probably know: If you just have to sit at home all day, every day, it can drive you insane.
So balance has been a big word and a big theme for our family this summer.
There have definitely been times where Bernadette is not happy because we’re paying so much attention to Charlotte as a newborn baby. The first time we introduced Bernadette to Charlotte, it was at the hospital. We got Bernie this shirt that said something like, “I’m the big sister.” We thought it would be cute. Instead, it was literally like five seconds of, ‘Oh, what’s this new thing?’ And then Bernie was like, ‘OK, I don’t care about this at all.’
A photo posted by robynmhayward (@robynmhayward) on
What’s amazing is how big Bernadette is compared to Charlotte. I noticed it the first time I held Charlotte. Right off the bat, I was struck by how little and light she was. It’s amazing how fast things change. I mean, in just 13 months, Bernie is so much bigger than Charlie.
Watching Bernadette grow, incidentally, has been one of my favorite parts of being a dad. She’s doing things all the time that amaze me. One day, I was watching her, and I got a phone call. I was checking my phone, and the next thing I heard was Robyn calling across the house.
“Gordon,” she said, “you’re supposed to be watching her!”
Bernadette was out of the room. She had moved the baby gate, opened the door and was in the kitchen with Robyn. I was like, “What the heck! How did she get out?”
Little things like that happen and you’re just like, “Man, she’s learning fast.” You’ve just got to try and stay ahead of the curve in terms of what they’re learning as best you can.
I think that’s just part of how being a parent works. You make mistakes; you learn from them, and you move on. You’re not going to make the right decision or the right move every single time. But as long as you learn from it, you will find that balance.
So that’s where we’re at right now. We’re trying to find it.
For me personally, it’s an adjustment trying to balance my job as a basketball player, and things like turning down an opportunity to play in the Olympics, with being a father, and making sure I’m there for my wife and now two children, having a family life and all that stuff.
A TOUGH CHOICE
Making the decision to not join USA Basketball in Rio and represent my country in the Olympics was one of the most difficult choices I’ve ever had to make.
It was truly an honor for them to invite me to be on the team. Playing in the Olympics has been a dream of mine from a young age. I always imagined being part of the opening ceremonies, where you walk with your country, and just experiencing that whole thing, being able to interact with some of the athletes from the U.S., and other countries, and be a part of that.
There was a time in my life, not too long ago actually, when doing that if given the opportunity would have been a no-brainer. Even last year, because I had been working out with Team USA every summer and really put in the time, it was one of those things where I went into it thinking, “Oh, this is a no-brainer. If I get asked to be on the team, I’m going, 100 percent.”
But I think ultimately for me, I wanted to be here with my family. It would have been too tough for me to make the choice to leave them, and play for Team USA at a time like this. I felt like being here with Robyn and here for Robyn, and supporting her through these first few months with our second child, was important.
Experiencing what goes on when you have a child, to me, outweighed the benefits of being an Olympian.
It was definitely an honor to be asked. That wasn’t something that I ever thought was a guarantee going into it.
Obviously we’d known for a while that Robyn was going to be having the baby in the summer, but initially, I honestly didn’t think about it. I didn’t really put two and two together in terms of what that would mean. It kind of hit me when the NBA season was done. Robyn and I started to talk about it, and then my agent and I started to talk about it.
That is when we realized, “Oh, this is going to be a much tougher decision than I thought.” But we didn’t even know at that point if I would be asked to be on the team. There were a lot of great players on that roster they had to consider. So it wasn’t a quick decision on either side. It was something we really thought about for a couple of months before they made a decision on the roster and before I ultimately made my decision not to accept an invitation.
Some of the other stuff going on in Brazil definitely weighed on my mind as I debated it, too. You’ve got the whole thing with the Zika virus. There is also a lot of crime there, as the whole thing with Ryan Lochte just showed. So a lot of different things factored into the decision.
I also wanted to spend the summer in Utah and commit to training. We have a big year ahead of us with the Jazz. I want us to make the playoffs this year, and I’ve been training since May to help make that happen. You miss a big chunk of that vital training time before camp when you go to do something like play in the Olympics, and it kind of changes up your routine. I want to be the best player I can be to get us to the playoffs. I want to be an All-Star this year.
Those things are important to me. I felt the best place to be to achieve those goals was Utah. I also looked at the fact that I’m only 26 years old, and I feel like if my career goes the way I want it to, I will get another opportunity to play in the Olympics.
When the time came to let them know that I had decided not to participate, we had a conference call with my agent Mark Bartelstein and I both on the line with the staff at USA Basketball. We both informed them I wouldn’t be able to take the offer and they completely understood and realized the situation I was in. They were great about it. I think the door is still wide open for me in 2018 and 2020, should things progress the way everyone wants them to.
I’ve built a good relationship with everyone over at USA Basketball. I started playing in the program on the under-19 team, so I know that they know what I can do. The thing about Team USA and USA Basketball is that we definitely don’t have a lack of talent in United States, basketball-wise, so it’s going to be their decision who they invite in the future. As far as that goes, you never know, but I feel confident that hopefully I will have another opportunity. And then we can cross that bridge when we get there.
The one thing that I said when I decided not to go was that I would have to make sure that I was at peace with the decision, and that I wouldn’t regret it. When I made the call and told those guys I wasn’t going to be able to do it, it was a super tough decision.
But I was 100 percent at peace. It was the best choice and the right choice.
That said, I’m still pulling hard for those guys that are on the team in Rio. With the talent they have on the roster, at the end of the day, they are still the most talented team in the world. They’re off to a good start, and I expect them to win gold. I think everybody in the country expects it. That’s what USA Basketball’s legacy is and what we all, as members of that program, want it to continue to be.