HOUSTON – With a mask and a laptop, Wade Smith blends in with all the other volleyball parents.
“I didn’t really know much about volleyball. It was a sport in passing that I didn’t really pay attention to,” explained Smith.
He pays attention now.
Smith retired from the NFL in 2014. Now, he pours his energy into the volleyball careers of daughters Arissa and Aaliyah, who readily admit there are pros and cons to having a former Pro Bowl offensive tackle as your dad.
“He pushes us hard,” explained Arissa, who is heading into her sophomore year at Ridge Point High School. “But it’s nice to have an athletic figure so he can guide us.”
Like most NFL players, Smith understands the importance of health. Arissa says through her ankle injury, her dad pushed for rehab and ice constantly.
“He says a lot of stuff, like, ‘Get ready to put in some work,‘” explained Aaliyah, who will start eighth grade at Baines Middle School.