THE NIGHT THAT CHANGED MY LIFE AND CAREER FOREVER
There was no doubt in my mind since I was a young kid that I wanted to become a sports play-by-play broadcaster, but little did I know that the job of Mr. Mom would trump that career and become a new challenge in September 2019.
There aren’t a lot of days that you can remember down to the second, minute or even hour but the night of Thursday September 19th, 2019 is one that I can remember down to the very minute detail.
I was assigned to cover a girls’ volleyball game at Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln High School as the Red Raiders were taking on the SPASH Panthers. I needed an extra set of hands with the computer work, and my wife, Lindsay, even though she was very pregnant, decided to come with and help.
When it was time to head over to the fieldhouse I packed up the equipment and my almost 39-week pregnant wife. Once we got there everything went smoothly. Lindsay and I enjoyed the game even though SPASH beat Lincoln in the match. After the conclusion of the match we packed up the equipment and headed home so I could put together my highlight and Lindsay could take part in an Usborne online book party.
Everything was going well I was just about to press publish on my highlight when Lindsay calmly asked me to meet her in the bedroom. She had just gotten off the phone with her mom when I walked in and she nervously said, “Steve I think we need to go to the hospital, my water just broke.”
She called her OB to ask if all the signs pointed to her going into labor and within the next 30 minutes we were roomed at Aspirus Riverview in Wisconsin Rapids ready to have a baby.
Earlier I had mentioned that I can remember everything down to the second, but after we arrived at the hospital the next set of events were a blur. Concern for my wife’s pain, trying to figure out how to be supportive and not knowing exactly how to help had be feeling very out of my element. Before we knew it though, the labor was over and Lindsay was ready to deliver our baby daughter.
Only 4 short hours after arriving to the L&D floor, Josephine Elaine Maves was born at 2:36am. We had no idea what we were in for, everyone told us what to expect but we didn’t know how to process that information until we were actually experiencing it. We now had our own little bundle of joy that we were responsible for.
I was supposed to go to a football game that night, September 20th, but knew it was out of the question to leave my wife and new born. When I came to that realization that I had to miss Friday night football and a few games the next week, I knew that my life and my career had changed forever. Sharing priorities with not just my wife and career, but now our child.
The first night that I had to leave Josie and Lindsay at home to go work a game I didn’t realize how hard it was going to be. I loved my career, but now I had this great love and commitment for my family. On top of that, Josie had a lot of colic and there were moments both Lindsay and I were at our wits end. Those long hours of trying to get our daughter to stop crying took a toll on Lindsay in a way I haven’t seen before. Leaving was hard. Thankfully, we have an amazing support system and my mother in law was able to add extra support and company on nights I was not home.
Between September 20th and March 12th, I worked a lot of late nights and long days in the career that I loved. I’ve had passion for this line of work ever since I was a kid, but now I could not get my family out of the back of my mind. I would wonder if there was something that I was missing or something I could be helping out with to relive the stress on Lindsay. I felt torn.
Winter was approaching and basketball games, wrestling matches, and hockey games were next on the docket, as well as Lindsay going back to work. This meant I was officially about to take on the role of Mr. Mom during the day and sports broadcaster at night. It was a joy to have Josie all to myself at times, but I’m not going to lie, I looked forward to getting out and going to my sporting events. It released some of the stress of taking care of a little human all by myself, something I never imagined I could do on my own. Balance. I learned that being able to do both is possible.
The winter season was coming to an end and then COVID-19 showed up. On the night of March 12th after the conclusion of the boys’ basketball sectional semi-finals the WIAA announced that they were suspending all high school sports for the rest of the winter and most likely the rest of the school year. This meant no boys basketball state tournament, no softball, baseball, girls soccer, boys golf or track & field. Also meaning no work for me during that time.
A very bittersweet time. More time at home with my daughter and wife, but also missing the career I love. We were waiting for the call from Jason Zaleski saying that we finally had work to do. Every day the phone didn’t ring, was a tough pill to swallow. I missed my passion. During that time though I was able to become a much better dad to Josie and better husband to Lindsay. I tried to make sure the house was clean, supper was made, and Josie was taken care of when Lindsay got home after a long day at work. So yes, a Mr. Mom!
When that call finally came saying that we had sports to broadcast whether it be golf, amateur baseball, bar league volleyball, 18U softball, 19U baseball it was something that all of us were excited for. I was going a little stir crazy and I think even Lindsay was happy to get me out of the house!
As excited as I was, I knew that when I got that call, my relationship with Josie would change forever. I would no longer always be there when she woke up from naps, had bath time, ate supper, went to sleep for the night or had play time with Lindsay during her awake time in the evenings. I had been spoiled during those months watching Josie grow up every day and was told to NEVER take those precious times for granted; I tried my best not to.
When I finally went back to work I knew Josie was in good hands with her Auntie O who was home for the summer from college and was staying with us until she went back to school. When Olivia couldn’t watch her my cousins Makena, Karlee and Tatum stepped up to the plate to watch Josie. Again, relying on such an amazing support system.
A perk for working with such an amazing company and having the reputation that we have, is being able to cover great teams in a variety of places. The Marshfield Chaparrals amateur baseball team playing this past summer and making it to the WBA State Tournament is the perfect example of that. We took a family vacation up to Spooner. Josie got to watch her dad work which is awesome for me to show her what I do even though she doesn’t really understand it yet.
Now just over a year later it hasn’t gotten any less hectic with a toddler running around the house. Trying to get game notes finished between naps, doing homework on teams after returning home from doing other games. It has become quite the balancing act as a sports broadcaster inside the Maves’ household, but I would not ask for anything else.
It has been an adventurous time for myself, my wife and my daughter Josie. I hope you all enjoy the work we do at Zaleski Sports. Because of our audience and sponsors I am able to spend time with the people I love, be a Mr. Mom for my family and do the job I have been passionate about since I was a toddler myself!