The second Tom Brady Sr. walked through the door after a long day on the road trying to build his insurance business, his son was after him with requests. Can we go to the batting cages tonight? a young, sports-obsessed Tom Brady would ask. Would you hit ground balls to me at the park? Can you help me with my free throws?
The answer was always Yep. Always. In his fascinating biography of the New England Patriots (which you can check out at The Painted Porch), Seth Wickersham explains that, “Brady never forgot the image of his father entering home tired and then leaving, often still in his work clothes, to help his son.” It didn’t matter how the day had gone. It didn’t matter if there was more work to do or phone calls to make. It didn’t matter if they’d been getting along. It didn’t matter what was happening in the world, what the weather was.
His dad always said yes.
“Being available to me was the greatest gift I could ever receive from my dad,” Brady explained years later. “He never said no to me.” He never said no to helping his son get better, to encouraging his son’s interests, to participating in his son’s “project,” as we’ve talked about.
That this process created the greatest quarterback in NFL history? That was a bonus. The real win was the time they spent together. And you can imagine, from Tom Sr.’s perspective as a father, the cherry on the sundae was hearing his son recount his memories from those days, and realizing he never forgot them.