Trades affect the lives of an athlete's family as well
Part 2 of a four-part series
By Jon A. Dolezar, CNNSI.com
A sudden trade to another team can be very jarring to a player and his family, but Matt and Sarah Hasselbeck had resigned themselves to the fact that he would be playing elsewhere next season.
After moving into their new house on Thornberry Creek Golf Course on Oct. 1, the Hasselbecks never fully unpacked and kept the boxes handy knowing that a trade was likely just around the corner.
"It's usually not good to build a home when you are pretty sure that you are going to be moving in less than a year," Hasselbeck said. "But we did it anyway."
Uprooting a young family on short notice isn't appealing, but Hasselbeck had some experience. His father, Don Hasselbeck, was an NFL tight end for nine seasons and the family moved three times in the final three years of his career. The first time Don Hasselbeck was traded, he got a phone call at home from a sportscaster letting him know that he had been dealt to the Los Angeles Raiders, and 8-year-old Matt answered the phone to receive the news.
"It was a lot of fun, but I took it for granted," Matt said. "We moved around quite a bit, but that was just part of the lifestyle. And I enjoyed it, but I don't think I appreciated it until he was done playing."
After a successful career with the Patriots, Don was traded to the Raiders in 1983, where he played one season and won a Super Bowl ring. He was then waived by the Raiders and claimed by the Vikings. After one season in Minnesota, his contract was up and he signed with the Giants, where he finished his career in 1986.
"I think a lot depends on how old your children are," Don said. "At the time, our boys were small. I think it was probably the hardest on Tim, because he had the hardest time adjusting to new schools. In the long run, I think it was the best thing for him. It was also very hard on my wife because we were splitting the school year between our home in Massachusetts and whatever city I was playing in for those few seasons."
Having no children may make the move a bit easier on Matt and Sarah, but the sudden upheaval in their lives is still an unsettling reality of the world of professional sports that doesn't exist in the business world.
"I know that some people think that trading football players is like fantasy football -- OK, you get that guy, I get this guy -- but there are families involved," Matt said. "I knew from a very early age what it was going to be like. It's not an appealing lifestyle, but if you weigh the pros and the cons, the pros far outweigh the cons."
Matt Hasselbeck spent his first week with the Seahawks in a LaQuinta Inn in Kirkland, and his new, upgraded temporary accommodations in Seattle is a two-bedroom apartment that he is sharing with offensive tackle Chad Overhauser through training camp in July. Hasselbeck returned to Green Bay last week to take a quick vacation to Chicago with Sarah, and the two will visit their families in Massachusetts and Rhode Island through early May until he has to fly back to Seattle for the team's second minicamp.
Hasselbeck said he was impressed by his wife's reaction when he told her he had been traded to a city more than 3,000 miles away from their hometowns in New England.
"I think she took it OK," Hasselbeck said. "Sarah is a trooper. She's going to be a long way from her family which will be tough for her because she's really tight with them. But we have the offseason and there's training camp when I'm not around so she can go home and spend time with them."
Sarah and Matt flew to Seattle two days after the trade was announced for the introductory news conference and to get familiar with their new hometown. Both came away impressed by the city and are looking forward to making the move, despite its distance from their families.
"I can't wait to get out there," Sarah Hasselbeck said. "Seattle looks like a beautiful city and it looks like it has a lot to offer. I think it has a lot of good job opportunities, has great arts, places to go out, good running trails that I saw, and I lot of different things that we hadn't been exposed to here."
The diversity and culture of a big city like Seattle is appealing to the Hasselbecks, but they also realize that they will have to deal with things they lived without in Green Bay, like traffic and exorbitant prices.
"The cost of living obviously is a little bit higher out here," Hasselbeck said. "We are in sticker shock right now in Seattle just checking out places. But that probably won't be an issue. I told Mike Holmgren that I don't have a deal done, so how am I going to buy a house out here? I'm planning on being here for awhile so I want to get something nice, and he said to me, 'Don't worry about that. You pick out a house and come see me and we'll take care of that.' I don't know what he'll do -- maybe he'll just put the down payment down and just take it out of my contract when it gets done."
Selling their house in Green Bay shouldn't be too much of a problem, since local residents in the league's smallest market clamor for anything that a Packers player has touched. In fact, in the first two days after putting a "For Sale By Owner" sign in the front yard of their infrequently traveled street, the Hasselbecks had received 22 phone calls about the house.
But it's unlikely that the house will leave the Packers' family, as offensive coordinator Tom Rossley has expressed an interest in buying it. Rossley's family stayed behind in Kansas City last season while his daughter finished high school, but with his daughter off to college this year, he and his wife will be looking for a house in Green Bay. Hasselbeck's best friend on the team, kicker Ryan Longwell, talked about buying it as well, but ended up buying the house next door.
Despite concerns of planning for an upcoming move, Sarah Hasselbeck is thrilled for her husband's chance to be a starting quarterback in the NFL.
"Part of me wanted him to get traded, because I want him to play," she said. "It's much more fun to watch him play quarterback than to watch him hold and hope there is a fake field goal. I'm excited to watch him play a lot because it's been a couple of years since I've seen him play quarterback."