Rabbitohs halfback Adam Reynolds told our Members last week how he juggles a professional rugby league career alongside the busy schedule of being a father of four.
I had my first kid at 18 years old. It was good. It made me grow up.
I had just finished school, moved into a labouring job at Leichhardt Council, was playing under 20s and had a baby with my partner Tallara. If I didn’t have a kid I probably wouldn’t have moved into work so quickly and wouldn’t have grown up so early. I had a good support network at home with my mum, dad and obviously Tallara.
It was tough at the time to raise a kid at that young age but something that I don’t regret.
When we found out Tallara was pregnant she moved into my house in Waterloo where I lived with my mum, dad and my brother. It was a pretty squashed household for a bit of time there. We lived like that for a while before our second daughter was born and we realised pretty quickly we needed our own space.
That was probably one of the toughest times to go through. I started fairly early at the council at 6am. Although I really enjoyed the work it was hard getting up early every morning, finishing half way through the day and then having to come to under 20s training before I got to go home.
I wouldn’t get home and see the family until 7 o’clock at night. I basically wouldn’t see them all day. I talked to them on the phone but virtually would sit down and have dinner with them, go to bed then do that all over again…
Obviously life is still very busy and I usually have very long days. The kids wake up pretty early, so we’re up early trying to juggle their life and get them to school or day care or other activities. Then I get myself ready to go to training. I spend a long day at training and focus on what we need to improve on and at the end of the day I go home but the day’s not finished. I’ve got to get dinner ready, shower, bath, homework and all those types of things that go into it. It’s a good way to disconnect after training. It’s two separate worlds: football and family.
On game day, I actually like not thinking about the game too much. I’m a pretty relaxed person on game day. I like to joke around and have a bit of fun. Having kids at home definitely keeps my mind off the game. I can go about my business like a normal day as if there was no game on which probably suits me best. It’s a good distraction to have and at the end of the day when the game is done it’s also a good way to get away from it all and just get back to life as a normal person.
My family have always supported me whether we win or lose, whether we perform good or bad. At the end of the day they support me and they know how much work goes into a week and how much you put into a season. For them to come out and support me not only through my NRL career but through my junior career too is really great. Whether it was travelling to Lismore or down south to play they were always there when I was a kid and the support didn’t go unnoticed.
I wanted to be just like my brother when I was younger, he was basically my hero. He was a very talented junior, he broke a couple of records in the Souths comp and he was just a freakish player. Unluckily he suffered through a few injuries in his early days and that sort of set him back and he never got a bit of form to get back into it. I suppose I’m living both of our dreams together, we ride the highs and ride the lows together.
Mum and dad’s support has been good throughout my career. They travelled wherever I was playing, they came to basically every game that I played. There are many thanks that go back to them and I probably wouldn’t be where I am today if they weren’t around - from making training sessions to setting me straight and making sure I was a kid with manners, they helped me grow up treating others how I wanted to be treated.
I didn’t plan on having four when I first started. I always wanted kids young. I wanted to have more than one kid so that they could grow up together. Tallara and I started dating a long time ago, I was 15 at the time. It certainly made things a lot easier growing up with her and spending a few quality years there.
Tallara is the backbone of the family. She makes things a lot easier at home. Obviously looking after four kids isn’t easy, I know I struggle a fair bit when I am on my own with them so for her to do it day in, day out just proves what a great person she is. I suppose she keeps the clock ticking in the family. If it wasn’t for her it probably would be a lot harder turning up to training every day and having to worry about things other than just what I need to.
As to where their names come from, I’ve got no idea.
Nakylah was the first one and I think Tallara’s mum came up with that name. I had Aaliyah picked out from basically the start, I always liked that name. Kobe was another name I liked and Zariyaa is one that has come out of nowhere I guess. We sort of like unique names and always wanted something a bit different.
I’ve got memories of my old man and I playing back when I was a kid and that resonates now with my son and I. I always wanted a little boy. If it was the way I wanted it, it would have been a boy every time but now that I’ve got three girls, I definitely see them in a different light than what I thought before having kids. I’m happy with my three girls and one boy.
It doesn’t bother me if Kobe chooses to play rugby league or not, I’m happy to let him do what he wants to do and I’ll support him with anything. He’s into his soccer at the moment so we’ve got him in a few soccer programs. He loves the Rabbitohs; he’s always trying to put on Rabbitohs games at night time. I am just happy for him to be himself and obviously with the girls it’s the same. They’re doing gymnastics, netball and swimming.
Getting to their training sessions all depends on the schedules. My son does soccer throughout the week, usually Monday morning so I don’t really get to see him play but I’ve been to a few of his sessions. He enjoys it, I get told about it every time he scores a goal or whenever he participates in any sport.
We get to a training in the afternoon while the girls are doing netball or gymnastics and I muck around with him then a fair bit too. It’s good to just have a lot of sport in our family. It’s continued from my time as a kid with my brother. We were both very sporty and played a few different sports as well.
At school there are a lot of kids there that know who my daughters are and what I do for a living. That comes with the good and the bad. Sometimes they get asked a few questions or they get a bit of support from their friends but there are those times when they do get bullied. There are times where my name gets brought up or the team gets brought up when we’re not doing so well and there are general comments thrown around having a go at their father. That’s the bad side of things but I think the positives outweigh the negatives.
I tell them to not listen to it and really focus on what they can control. If someone does say something really nasty and they don’t like it I tell them to go and tell the teacher and always sort it out in a good way and not to turn to aggression or fight about it. I try to teach my kids to be respectful and treat other kids how they want to be treated.
There has been a fair bit of change whilst growing up in South Sydney. I am really proud of the area. I grew up across from Redfern Oval in Elizabeth Street there in the housing commission and still can remember the old stadium. There was always some violence around this area but it’s come a long way.
Growing up and moving to Waterloo at a young age you notice the support straight away for the Souths area and the team. Seeing Souths getting reinstated was probably one of the best days in this community. All the people here were really proud and supportive of that and the support has been there for the Club ever since and no doubt will be there in the future. They definitely wear their pride week in week out with us.
It’s good to see a bit of success in the past few years and the area thriving off that and hopefully we can regain that form and continue to make the people of this area proud.