Hometown fan favorite Joe Reitz signed a one-year contract to return to the Indianapolis Colts this season. The former Hamilton Southeastern High School star wanted to play a third season with his home team. The offensive guard, who has started 29 games the past two seasons, chatted recently with ColtsBlitz.com’s Phillip B. Wilson about the adventures of fatherhood.
Phil B: Tell me about being a dad.
Joe: It’s great.
Phil B: What’s the home roster now?
Joe: My daughter, Juliana, is 3 and my son, A.J. (Andrew Joseph), is 1. And my daughter, thank the Lord, looks like my wife. And my son, he’s a little tanker like I am. It’s so fun to be able to come home after a long day after practice, or even after a game whether you played well or whether you didn’t play as well as you hoped, you look at those little guys. They’re always waiting to run to the door and give me a big hug. It kind of puts things in perspective. You want to keep your priorities in order: faith, family and then football.
Phil B: So your daughter is starting to ask questions?
Joe: Oh yeah, she’s question master. When I leave during camp, she says, ‘Daddy go football camp?’ The other day, we all went out to eat as an O-line and she asked where I was going. I told her, ‘We’re going out to eat with the football team.’ And she said, ‘Oh, to a football restaurant?’ She’s funny. She keeps it fun. She’s into everything princesses. So we watch a lot of ‘Beauty & The Beast,’ a lot of ‘Little Mermaid,’ all those old shows.
Phil B: Been there. Dora was real popular when my daughter was young.
Joe: She’s into ‘Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.’ You get a lot of that. But it’s fun. It’s special to be able to spend time with them.
Phil B: You probably, like most of us, when we’re young and single and chasing dreams, you heard people sound sappy and sentimental about how their lives changed, and you were like, ‘Whatever.’ But now?
Joe: If you’re a parent, you understand. If you’re not, it’s hard to understand because everybody can tell you how special it is and what’s it like, but until you’re there you don’t fully grasp that feeling. The people that know, it’s the greatest reward you can have, having kids and having them come up and tell you, ‘Love ya.’
Phil B: Blow your mind?
Joe: No doubt.
Phil B: My kids are now 13 and 11, I’ll tell them stories about the days they were born and they’re like, ‘Really?’
Joe: When people say your life changes in that delivery room, that’s an understatement. It does, but it’s for the better.
Phil B: It helps give your life balance?
Joe: I think that does help, instead of football being everything. Like I said, faith, family, football, if you keep your priorities in that order, your life is probably going to go pretty smooth. But when things start getting out of whack and you start spending too much time on this or that and forget about the things that are really important, then that’s going to affect your play on the field.
Phil B: Best thing you did offseason with the family? They’re probably too young for Disneyland or Disney World, right?
Joe: We took a trip up to Michigan and saw a lot of old friends, we were up there for about a week in Kalamazoo (he played college basketball at Western Michigan). Probably the best thing, my wife Jill and I, we left the two kids at home with grandma and grandpa and went to the Dominican Republic for four days. So that was nice, to kick back with no kids and sit on the beach. That was a lot of fun.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.