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Butler Basketball's First Lady
Interview with Tracy Stevens
May 01, 2011Things have started to quiet down on Butler's campus since the basketball team's recent loss at the NCAA Championship game in Houston. While players return to classes and the coaching staff gets back to their regular work schedules, the women and children of the coaches are also working on getting their families back into a routine.
The wife of Butler basketball's head coach Brad Stevens, Tracy, took time to sit down with Indy's Child to talk about the craziness of the past few weeks while traveling the country with young kids.
After traveling for weeks with her two small children, Brady, 5, and Kinsley, 22 months, from Washington D.C., to New Orleans to Houston, Tracy and her family are in need of some rest and relaxation.
"We were on about 6 planes, numerous buses, and spent 17 nights in a hotel room, we are tying to get back to normal and get the kids on a routine again," Tracy said.
Traveling with kids can be difficult and stressful, especially when your husband is the head basketball coach of the Butler Bulldogs during the NCAA championship. Fortunately Tracy had the company of the other coaches' wives and their children. All together, the families were traveling with nine kids, all under the age of six. Try keeping up with that for 17 days, you'd be exhausted too.
On game days Tracy has one goal: wear the kids out. Throughout the tournament Tracy would try to do a strenuous activity in the morning with the kids such as going to a park to burn energy, they would rest in the afternoon, eat and then go to the game.
With kids running around everywhere, Tracy does not get much viewing time during the games and said she only sees about 2/3 of each one. But she doesn't mind being a little distracted when Butler is on the court.
"Because I'm always distracted [with kids] that helps me to not be nervous. Usually you're getting someone a snack, or you're getting a toy out and then a book set up, so it's always something, but it's good because it keeps me calm."
It isn't until her kids are not at the games that her nerves start to kick in. "I get really nervous because I don't know what to do with myself," she said.
When it comes to Butler's recent loss at the 2011 NCAA Championship Game, Tracy said this year has been easier to deal with than last year's loss, with more time to recover.
"We got to do it two years in a row, we are better equipped to handle it. We are sad and disappointed but we realize how much we have accomplished before that game," she said.
Tracy said the children are beginning to grasp an understanding of everything that is going on.
She talked about her son, Brady, "One of the hardest moments of this year was in the last minute of the UConn game. It became obvious we weren't going to winÖI told my 5-year-old Brady, 'I think we're losing and I don't think we're going to win this game' and he started tearing up and said, 'we're gonna lose, we're not gonna get the trophy' and he started to sob uncontrollably. He climbed in my lap and he sobbed for 15 minutes about the fact we weren't going to take the biggest trophy home.
It was heart wrenching and I started tearing up because it was so sad, because his little heart was broken, because for him he's 5-years-old and it's about winning the biggest trophy and being the best."
Tracy said all of the kids were truly disappointed with the loss, but that they were thankful for all of the trips they got to go on.
As for Brady, he has taken on a love for the game in his own time.
"Since it has gotten warmer in the past month, every day he goes outside and shoots for about an hour. He does it on his own and is starting to really enjoy it," she said.
Being active is a major component of the Stevens' family life, especially when they are on the road. "They [the kids] need to get out and exercise and use their little legs," she said.
Tracy also enjoys being active, as the former DePauw soccer player still makes time to play her sport once a week with a women's league.
"If I don't do it [play soccer] I lose my sanity," she laughed.
Despite the hectic schedules and overall craziness of the trips, Tracy views the March Madness experience as "fun" and enjoys supporting her husband and team.
"It has been fun to see him [Brad] succeed in so many different circumstances and it's fun to see someone I know so well do something I didn't know he could do so well," she said.
Tracy loves the family atmosphere that Butler provides, saying the players treat her children like little siblings.
"They are like big brothers, and they are the coolest big brothers ever," she said.
Tracy said the team is very much a part of their family and where you really see this is through the players' interactions with the kids.
"Matt Howard will go to Brady's room so Brady can show him his latest invention and Khyle Marshall is constantly playing hide 'n seek with the little kidsÖit's like they are all family."
Tracy is happy to call Butler home, and describes the environment as a great family atmosphere and small community.
Traveling the country with young kids is not easy, and although it was quite the ride, it's time for Tracy and family to get their much needed rest, until next season that is.
Tracy's Travel Tips with Kids
-Always try to find a park to get the kids outside for some exercise.
-When eating out, order an adult entrée and split between two or three kids. An adult entrée has a better selection of vegetables and fruit, and is generally cooked in a healthier way. Most children's menus offer only chicken fingers, mac 'n cheese and some type of pasta.
-Always find the washer and dryer in your hotel or make sure the hotel has a washer and dryer.
-Realize your kids don't always feel safe in unfamiliar environments.
-Talk to your kids about making sure they stay close to you and address their concerns about being away from home.
-Always pack snacks.