At a lot of levels, it’s difficult for sports fans to relate to the athletes they either root for or against. They may feel some kinship to or dislike for said players because of the uniform they wear, the team they play for, the brilliance or struggles they demonstrate on the field, on the court, on the diamond.
This is especially true of superstar athletes.
Joe and Jill Sixpack might adore or despise them, but relate to them?
On the ground level, they have everything in common — except for millions and millions of dollars, mansions and/or estates, limos, Ferraris, private yachts, private aircraft, private islands and all manner of usually unattainable entitlements.
And then, Tom Brady, who’s typically as private a sports icon as there is, a star whose exploits achieved and championships won on the field are as well-known as anyone’s and whose private life is kept as airtight as possible, comes out and connects completely with the common man.
In a burst of candor, he reveals in a recent interview with Howard Stern what so many married men have experienced themselves — that he wasn’t meeting expectations at home. Not only was he not meeting expectations at home, his wife complained to him, to the point where she wrote her feelings down in a letter, about not doing necessary duties around the house.
Hold it right there.
Let’s get this straight — the quarterback who had led the Patriots to six Vince Lombardi trophies, the best QB of all time, the guy who owned all of New England, a sports hero to millions of fans from coast to coast and internationally, too, wasn’t getting the garbage out to the curb with regularity, wasn’t keeping the garage swept out, wasn’t getting to the dishes quick enough, wasn’t switching out lightbulbs in a timely manner, wasn’t playing enough hide and seek with the kids?
Yep. Something like that.
The wife doing the complaining was and is Gisele Bundchen.
Brady told Stern that over the past few years he had skipped the Pats’ organized team activities not on account of any dispute with coach Bill Belichick, rather because Gisele had concerns about his inattention to details around the house when football season was over, and therefore she was growing unhappy with their marriage.
“At different times, like any married couple, things need to be changed,” he said. “A couple of years ago … she didn’t feel like I was doing my part for the family. She felt like I would play football all season and she would take care of the house and then, all of a sudden, when the season ended, I would be like, ‘Great, let’s get into all my other business activities. Let me get into my football training.’ And she is sitting there, going, ‘Well, when are you going to do things for the house? When are you going to take the kids to school and do that?’
“That was a big part of our marriage that I had to, like, check myself because she’s like, ‘I have goals and dreams, too, so you better start taking care of things at the house.’
“So, two years ago, as it even related to football for me, I had to make a big transition in my life to say, I can’t do all the things I wanted to do for football like I used to. I gotta take care of things with my family because the family situation wasn’t great. She wasn’t satisfied with our marriage, so I needed to make a change there.”
Brady went on to say Gisele wrote him what he called a “heartfelt letter,” spelling out that he needed to do more and to help more with the family. He said he keeps the letter and pulls it out of a drawer every so often to re-read it, stirring him to remember what he might otherwise forget in the hubbub of his professional life — the significance of pulling his weight at home.
“It’s a good reminder for me that things are going to change and evolve over time. What worked for us 10 years ago won’t work for us forever because we’re growing in different ways. … We’re not together all the time. Then, when you come back together, she may have moved on an opinion or a feeling or a thought. I may have moved on an opinion, on a feeling, or on a thought and then how do you figure out a way to get it together?”
Brady is not Joe Sixpack and Gisele isn’t Jill Sixpack.
He’s the GOAT and she’s a supermodel.
They may have a huge house, a house on every continent, they once had a house with a moat around it. But they also have kids and, as it turns out, they have many of the same concerns that most couples have — about their own relationship, about the inner workings of their family, about lightbulbs getting screwed in, about garbage getting put out, about the mess in the garage, about kids getting dropped off at school.
They make the same mistakes a lot of folks make, maybe only in exaggerated forms.
Either way, it’s pretty cool that they care enough to work it out, to balance it out, to hit the reset button, and to move forward. Just like everybody else who does the best he or she can outside the home, but focuses, again, on what matters most, what should matter most.
GORDON MONSON hosts “The Big Show” with Jake Scott weekdays from 2-7 p.m. on 97.5 FM and 1280 AM The Zone.