My Life Experience from Birth (1987) until 2019

I’m 32 as I write this and have noticed myself many times trying to recall certain events. I wanted to type out a short(ish) outline of my life so far. The good and the bad.

Hopefully I will learn more about myself and be able to produce a slightly better daily life for myself and those close to me as I continue to navigate this interesting world. And maybe others can learn something from my experiences along the way too.

My goal is to start making these life updates yearly as I did with 2019. Here is the recap of everything leading up to that mediocre year.

Let’s start with my angry baby self…

Birth until Kindergarten – High Energy (1987 – 1991?)

There is a home video of me at a dance recital that sums up this time of my life very well.

My lovely mom was teaching the class and calling out each of the students to come out onto the stage. This happened to take place in the same daycare that I got kicked out of for being too energetic and mean.

The students would walk out calmly after they were called. Parents would give a nice quiet golf clap to cheer them on. Then it was time for my name to be called…

“Next up we have Calvin Keeney.”

Calvin Keeney sitting on a small red tractor while driving it and looking at the camera. He was about 4 years old

Keep in mind I was about 3 or 4 years old at this time. Old enough to know the answer to the famous question adults like to ask. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I wanted to be an NBA player. The next Michael Jordan.

When my name was called, my mind was at center court of a Chicago Bulls game as the players get hyped up before a game. Not at a dance recital.

I sprint out from off stage yelling “WOOOOHOOOOOOO!!!”. You could hear a parent off camera mumbling “oh my lord…”

So yeah, my early childhood was full of tiny Calvin running around thinking he was already in the National Basketball Association. My high energy and need for mental stimulation didn’t mix well with the mundane tasks that came with daycare. I got kicked out and moved on to the big leagues. Kindergarten!

Elementary School – Competitive and Curious (1992 – 1998)

Kindergarten through 5th grade was a lot of fun from what I can remember. I spent a lot of time playing sports and working my way towards being the next Michael Jordan.

This was also the time I started realizing how much I liked playing games in general. And making my own rules to existing games more importantly. I would have friends over to play modified hide and go seek, capture the flag, or whatever board games I had around the house.

I remember taking different board games from our game closet, mixing the pieces and rules together, then adding my own twist and enjoying it with whoever was willing to play me.

The most challenging part of this process was figuring out what rules worked together and what didn’t. Balancing my new game creations was a lot of fun I had as a child and something I still enjoy as an adult.

Middle School (1998 – 2001)

Puberty, organized school sports and an interest in girls were what filled my middle school days. Oh, and lots of video games.

I had done very well in little league sports but they were mostly based on age. Thanks to getting kicked out of daycare a year early, I was on the younger end of my grade. So not only was I small for my age, but I was young for my grade. This made school sports very challenging (just the way I like it!)

My curiosity and attraction for girls began to grow as I hit puberty. Though my anxious mind tended to struggle more with actually interacting with them as my interest rose. I did well with girlfriends that were confident and extroverted because they seemed to be willing to make the first move.

I’m an introvert though so finding a fellow introverted girlfriend seemed tough if not impossible considering how little I was willing to make the first interaction. So I played lots of video games instead of going to big fun parties.

I was never a big fan of large parties and crowds though so I didn’t mind too much. By the end of middle school I had found several friends who also liked to play video games and a few that enjoyed competing in sports.

Overall, I enjoyed middle school though it was a bit more intimidating to me than elementary. A lot was changing with my body and the coaches seemed to be very “manly” while not making a whole lot of sense to me intellectually. I liked most of my coaches but I never did understand how people can seem so confident to know everything about a particular topic. There’s more than one way to win a game. Right?

High School was Intense (2001 – 2005)

Calvin Keeney holding his "Defensive Player of the Year Award" that he won two times in High School. He is in front of his basketball goal at his home driveway
2 time defensive player of the year award for the Lorena Leopards basketball team.

I really kicked it into high gear focusing on my goal of making it to a D1 school to play a sport so I could ultimately become a pro athlete. My main focus was on basketball though I also played a bit of tennis and tried to get better at it once I realized I might not make it as a basketball player.

High school was very intense for me because our basketball workouts were crazy hard. I remember one tournament we were in. We had games 3 days in a row. Normally we would only play 2 a week. On day 3 I believe it was, we were punished for having a bad game on day 2. Our team ran line drills before getting onto the bus for day 3. Needless to say we were exhausted and played horribly that game.

The high school basketball team I played for didn’t do well. Our junior year we made it to the playoffs in a week district but I don’t know if we ever were even close to having a winning season overall. That dream of being the next Michael Jordan seemed to die as I focused on tennis my senior year.

I rushed to get good enough at tennis to go to college. I ended up walking onto a Division 3 team at UMHB (University of Mary Hardin-Baylor).

Also, I did several years of summer tennis camp from about 2004-2010. Those were very fun times and I really enjoyed coaching those camps. I missed them when I started my job and could no longer do them.

What I did in High School Other than Sports

Outside of sports I had a pretty laid back high school. I enjoyed taking classes that I thought were fun and enjoyable vs. trying to challenge myself with hard classes. I left the competition for the courts and kept the books fun and enjoyable.

One of my favorite groups to be a part of was drumline. I had one of the best teachers I have ever met in any subject. His name is Damon Vela and he made being on the drumline a blast! A lot of friends and good times were had in high school drumline. Thanks Mr. Vela 🙂

My Love Life through High School

My love life consisted of 3 different girlfriends. One each year of high school with a year off during my junior year (Yes this was the year our basketball team went to the playoffs. Haha!)

Overall I was pretty shy and still am. At least when it comes to reaching out to someone I find attractive. Most of the girlfriends I’ve had either made the first move or I was set up by someone else.

I’ve done much better at this the older I get. Thanks to awesome friends like Cindy Austin to help me understand what a good relationship is about.

College – Some of the Best Years of My Life (2005 – 2010)

Spoiler: I didn’t make it long as a D3 tennis player. We had someone transfer to our school during my second semester. This bumped me down to the #7 player meaning I was the first bench warmer. I wasn’t used to riding the bench and didn’t feel like traveling hours on a bus to watch others play.

I had some friends on the team but the time I was spending trying to get better at tennis seemed to not be worth the opportunities I was missing having fun in college. There was also a girlfriend back home feeling jealous that had a bit of influence with my decision. At the time I was frustrated with that part of it but I’m actually really glad I ended up focusing on school and fun.

Finding a New Outlet for My Competitiveness: Trading Card Games

Early in my college days I discovered a new card game called WoW tcg (World of Warcraft the trading card game). I fell in love with this game and was actually able to become a “pro” at something I loved competing at which was WoW tcg. I met many friends through this game and grew my relationship with my younger brother as we traveled the U.S. competing in high level card tournaments.

I was able to put myself through college by working construction during the summers with my stepdad along with free tuition thanks to my mom being a teacher at Baylor. And about $8000 I won from playing this card game.

Learning About Investing and Practicing My Strategies

My mom taught me the importance at a very young age. I was probably in middle school when I first went to see an investment adviser with her. Saving money and investing well came fairly natural to me. There is a big part of my brain that loves analyzing data and drawing intelligent conclusions from the data. Forming a plan and then having the patience and discipline to execute that plan.

This was all great signs for becoming a successful investor. I didn’t make much money in college. I might have even lost a little investing. But I knew that I was making big steps towards understanding the markets as a whole.

One important part about my investing in college is that the mortgage crisis of the Great Recession in 2008 happened. I believe I had actually had to sell most of my stock by then but I know it hit my shares of Microsoft very hard.

I stopped investing for the last few years of my college life because I ran out of extra money to invest. My curiosity for the subject remained and I still studied it off and on but not as much as when I was actively trading.

The Great Recession of 2008 luckily didn’t impact me too hard because of how little I had left in the market at the time. I’m grateful for that.

College Art Degree – Doing What I Love

Overall I really enjoyed college. It was the first time I felt a whole lot of freedom. I experienced getting to make a lot of decisions on my own such as switching from being a Christian Studies Major to an Art Major.

Before I switched I remembered asking the head of the Art department what he thought about getting a job with an art degree out of college. He was very honest and it seemed like it wasn’t too likely. I thought that might be the case but I was ok with that as I loved creating.

During my freshmen and sophomore year at UMHB, I rediscovered my love of creating through painting. I would watch Bob Ross painting shows and others similar to him while trying to improve my own skills. When I wasn’t playing video games I was practicing painting.

Because I enjoyed painting so much I decided to pursue my creative desires with an Art Major. I’m very happy with that decision because I chose doing something that makes me happy vs. choosing something that would make me lots of money. It was one of the many times in life I’ve chose passion over wealth.

College Friends and Intramurals

I’ve never liked being around large groups of people but I highly enjoy spending lots of quality time with a few people. We had a college house the last 2-3 years of my college life that was amazing. I got to live with some of my best friends and enjoy being walking distance from my art classes.

College intramurals were also some of the best times of my life. I played:

  • Football
  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Volleyball
  • Kickball

This was amazing. I got to be a player/coach for several of my teams. I love leading a team and we had a great time winning multiple championships across several different sports. My best friend Justen and I have a same competitive spirit and we enjoyed playing alongside one another in intramurals.

I’m grateful for not making it in the college basketball and tennis scene if only because it allowed me to play intramurals. Some of the best times of my life were had doing this. Great memories.

Last thing about my college friends, we found plenty of time to enjoy video games together. Lan parties were amazing as we battled each other in different Halo games on the Xbox. Rock Band and Guitar Hero were a blast to play with friends. And then Call of Duty became popular with a few of my housemates and I.

A Vivid Memory of Moving Out of My College House

When I was moving out of my college house, it felt very sad. I remember this feeling of “it’s over.” As if this time of my life won’t be experienced again. I don’t remember feeling like this any other time of my life. It was surreal and it really hit me that those great times were ending.

I was positive that I could have many more awesome experiences in life, they would just likely be with other people and in a new environment.

Discovering a Place I Fit in and Belong – Down Home Ranch – 21 y/o until 25 (2008 – 2013)

I started working at Down Home Ranch on weekends when I turned 21 in 2008. It seemed like the perfect fit for me as I finished my last few years of college. I had helped out at Special Olympics growing up and always seemed to enjoy the mixture of care giving and competitiveness.

When I graduated college in 2010, I ended up not having a job with my art degree. This wasn’t a shock to me and I kind of expected it. I also didn’t really know if I wanted to pursue art as a career but I was happy to have learned a lot of creative things to use in whatever job I took.

The summer of 2010 was a fun one. I played in some WoW tcg card game tournaments, went on a family reuinion and continued working weekends at the Ranch.

As I worked weekends and started filling in more and more at the Ranch, I noticed that I really enjoyed it there. I loved the community and people I was working with. A lot of my friends lived there in that remote community.

There was a coworker of mine at the time that I liked too. She was fun to hang out with and we enjoyed each others company when not working. Down Home Ranch is located outside of Elgin, Texas so it was quite far from any friends and family I had outside of the Ranch. Forming a relationship with my coworker was nice and convenient so I had someone to spend time with on the weekends.

What I did at the Ranch that was so Fun

I remember lots of fun times with my 4-5 housemates. We formed a very good bond and I keep up with most of them to this day.

Some of my favorite memories from the Ranch are:

  • Nightly dance parties to the High School Musical trilogy.
  • Jamming out to various soundtracks in the van on the way to shop at Wal Mart on Mondays.
  • Spending time with my girlfriend on the weekends.
  • Playing football and basketball with the Ranchers.
  • Teaching my housemates important life skills such as cooking

I was a Resident Assistant (RA) here on the weekends from 2008 until 2010. Then I was full time RA at Gabriel House from Summer 2010 until Spring of 2013. I left the Ranch to pursue my dream of being a board game designer. I had always liked making games and now I had an idea of one of my own.

Thanks to saving up a lot of money through investing, I was able to take several months off to pursue this dream.

Extreme Depression – Age 26 (2013)

This ended up being one of the worst years of my life. It was very sad and a lot of things went poorly such as:

  • Family problems
  • Car totaled
  • Ran low on money and didn’t have a job
  • Played too many video games instead of designing my own board game
  • Relationship with my friend from the Ranch ended (we didn’t want it to end but knew we weren’t fit to marry each other so it was hard ending the relationship).
  • Had trouble finding a job. (I actually looked into coaching tennis but wasn’t qualified for any of the openings).
  • I no longer had people that I was caring for. It went from being responsible for 5 adults with Intellectual and Developments disabilities, to feeling like I was on my own island.

I had so many problems that year towards the end that I had serious problems sleeping. My body and mind were tired almost all of the time, but I couldn’t fall asleep. It was extremely frustrating and this was the first time in my life where I didn’t really care to live anymore.

There was a nurse hotline through my insurance and I called them one time. I wasn’t wanting to hurt myself or end my life. But I really felt like I had no purpose and I was lost. Running on little to no sleep was literally driving me crazy. It was difficult to find pleasure in anything I did in the 4th quarter of 2013.

What Went Right and Started Turning this Around?

So it’s hard even writing about this. Even 6 years later I don’t feel happy about this time of my life. It was horrible to be honest. Memories of this time of my life are what constantly drive me to do good things and to be a helpful person. I don’t always succeed but at least I have a lot of discipline to do what I perceive as good.

I remember a few things that started to slowly turn my life around to be a bit more positive. These events didn’t happen overnight and it took about 6-12 months before I really started feeling more normal.

  • I was living with my dad and he noticed I had been down and was going to my friends house doing unhelpful things. My dad has trouble bringing up tough conversations but I’m happy he did on this one. He didn’t say much and I don’t even remember what he said. But he said something to me at one of my lowest points and it helped me realize I need to stop going to that friend’s house and hanging out with them. Thanks dad.
  • One of my friends from WoW Tcg helped me get a job near Austin. Thanks Julia 🙂
  • My older brother let me move in with him at his newish house so I could save on rent. Thanks MJ!
  • Insurance paid for my total car and I was able to get a used car to start driving again.

I began working at an insurance job in December of 2013. My life was full of anxiety and I was experiencing semi regular panic attacks. Those are awful!

This new job was great for me though at this time because it gave me a routine. It was a fairly demanding job and very structured. I would go to work M-F from 8:30am-5:30pm with an hour lunch. During the lunch I developed a great habit of working out with my coworkers. This was EXTREMELY helpful for my mental and physical health.

I also got the pleasure of learning to program some of the databases. My friend and fellow coworker named Chris Loesche was very good for me. He challenged me with difficult tasks and was also patient with me as I learned to code with no experience. Thanks Loesche and fellow workout buddies. Yall are dear to me.

Finding Love – Age 27 to 29 (2014 – 2016)

About 6 months into working at the insurance job, I found an awesome romantic partner that shared a lot in common with me. We met through an online dating website and had a lot of fun together.

We both enjoyed video and board games. One of our favorite activities to do together was to design our own board games. I am really good at balancing games and she was great at creating a fun theme.

As our interest grew in board game design, the more I wanted to start my own board game business again.

The insurance job was helpful in teaching me a little about how to code. This was important to me learning the necessary skills to understand NanDeck. A lot of board game designers I knew used NanDeck to make prototypes of their games but it was complicated for people not knowing how to code (like my previous self).

Pursuing My Passion to Start My First Online Business – Streamlined Gaming

My intuition was telling me to start my own business. I knew this because I would read a lot of Jame’s Altucher’s blogs (and other similar content). He talked a lot about “Choosing Yourself” and chasing your own dreams. I had saved up about $50,000 throughout the years thanks to my wisdom and patience with investing.

There was this interesting calculator online that would tell you how much money you would have in X number of years if you kept saving and investing the way you were. I remember typing in my $50,000 and the interest I was making year after year in the stock market. By the age of 70, I was predicted to be a multi millionaire many times over. (The calculator told me I had more money than 90% of people my age despite making less annually than about 80% of my peers.)

That seemed neat to me but I felt like I still lacked a purpose and challenge. I wanted to do more with my life than “make a lot of money”. The insurance job was FAR from my dream job and I knew that I would regret staying somewhere “safe” like the insurance job versus going out on my own to try my own business. Even if it meant risking all of my money. I was young and could make more money if it didn’t work out afterall.

Now that I knew how to code a bit, I was able to use NanDeck better and create games quicker. It was a fun time in my life. So much fun that I decided to leave my job at the insurance company and start my first online business. Streamlined Gaming is the online business I set out to create to teach people how to make and sell their own board games.

When I Started to Create My First Online Business (Streamlined Gaming)

I had started dating my girlfriend that enjoyed making board games with me in June of 2014. I left the insurance job in about August of 2015. So a little over a year after dating, I decided to move from Austin to San Marcos to be with her as I started Streamlined Gaming.

At the time I knew how to use NanDeck and make prototypes of board games. But there were many things I didn’t know how to do:

  • I didn’t know how to make a website
  • I wasn’t sure how I would make money with Streamlined Gaming (SLG)
  • I didn’t have a product to sell
  • I was terrified of being in front of a camera though I was sure making videos would be essential to teaching NanDeck to others.

The list goes on and on about the things I didn’t know how to do. I was determined though so I pushed through and learned a lot during that first year.

That first year working on Streamlined Gaming felt overall very unproductive. I learned a WHOLE lot but didn’t have much to show for it. My website wasn’t even complete! And the only video I was able to get myself to make was quite bad to be honest.

Losing Love and Friends – Age 29 (2016)

The Fall of 2016 was the start of another very rough time in my life. This was probably the 2nd hardest period of my existence so far. Towards the end of the first year of working on Streamlined Gaming and living with my girlfriend, we started having problems.

Marriage was being discussed and I wasn’t ready to commit to something that big given how lackluster my progress with Streamlined Gaming had been. I was basically jobless and my career looked bleak.

There was a particular friend that I started hanging out with more and more towards the end of my other relationship. I enjoyed spending time with this new person because she would get me out of the house and doing active things with other people. We would walk our dogs, bike and she would join us at the river.

I didn’t pay much attention to her for a long time but noticed that I enjoyed this new part of me that she was helping me find. The part of me that enjoys exploring the outdoors (I’m mostly a homebody). I gained confidence in myself as I got better at biking and more physically fit.

Staying in San Marcos, Texas after My Relationship Ended

When my girlfriend and I broke up, I moved across town to stay near the new friend that I had made. The new friend and I began dating but that only lasted about 2-3 weeks before she decided she didn’t want anything to do with me.

This was extremely hard for me. I felt like we had a lot in common and I missed our friendship really bad. Some of my best friends I met playing board games had also just moved out of state at this time. So I was left in San Marcos, Texas with my dog, myself and a dream to create Streamlined Gaming.

I could write an entire book on this part of my life. It’s hard to relive this time period even just typing this short recap up. But I want to remember where I came from and what I’ve been through so here we are.

Being Overly Sad about the Loss of My Short Term Girlfriend

Everytime I feel like I am over this person, I seem to get sad about it again. My best guess is that is how I grief. The grieving process is different for everyone and for me I feel like it was so tough to lose this person because we were just starting our relationship. It wasn’t like our relationship lasted a while and ran it’s course.

There were still a lot of unanswered questions. I want answers to this day from time to time but know they are likely to never be answered. I’m mostly okay with that even though it makes me sad at times.

When I made the decision to stay in San Marcos for this person, I was ok with the saying “It’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.” 3+ years later as I write this I am still happy I at least tried to go for the love my gut had even though it hurt really bad when it didn’t work out.

“Hurt really bad” in this case meaning that I cried for 30-60 minutes A DAY for many weeks in a row. I felt extremely lost during this period of my life. There were few friends left for me in San Marcos and not many connections outside of there either.

What I did that was Helpful to Push Through 2016-2017

There were several people that were very important to help me during this extremely tough time of my life. I also want to point out that this period of time for me was extremely sad full of crying while the 2013-2014 period of my life was more full of anxiety and panic (mixed with a depressing feeling of hopelessness).

Here are several people/events that helped me through this particular time:

  • My Mom – She drove 2 hours to my apartment one night just to have dinner with me and turn back around to be ready for work the next day. Her motherly instinct was spot on that difficult night which happened to be right after the friend of mine and I basically stopped talking to each other. Thanks mom <3
  • My therapist – I had started seeing a behavioral therapist in about April of 2016 after an extreme panic attack sent me to the ER. It felt as if I was dying and that I was having a heart attack. My body showed signs of a heart attack as well. Panic attacks are one of the worst things I’ve experienced in life and I’m glad I finally started seeing a therapist to help me understand what they are and how to better be in control of my own mind. My therapist was great in helping me through my relationship problems and making good decisions to find friends and activities that were helpful to me during this time of sadness. Thanks Dustin!
  • My friends from Down Home Ranch – I kept in touch with several of the friends I made when working at DHR. It was great hearing from them and their families from time to time. One particular time I remember one of the parents telling me “Down Home Ranch. Because you are always loved there.” when I asked Facebook “where would you move to anywhere in the world and why?” That was really heartwarming and it reminded me how much I loved the Ranch. Thanks Heidi, Chris, Casey, Mike, John, Matt and everyone else at DHR!
  • My dog – Nasus kept me motivated and moving forward as if he was my human son. He would get me out of the house multiple times a day to exercise and explore. We would go swim in the San Marcos river 1-2 times a day. It was very freeing.Thanks Nasus 🙂
  • My new online business – I hired my friend Ely to work with me to help get Streamlined Gaming published. I had been working and studying the website for a long time. Over a year but still hadn’t published the dang thing. November 4th, 2016 was when I finally had the privilege to announce that SLG was live. Thanks Ely!
  • My Gaming Friend – There was one person left in town that I met playing games that I really got along with. I felt like he was an older version of myself. We are both INTPs and think a lot alike. Enjoy similar games. And love being creative. Thanks for your friendship, David.
  • My Online Gaming Friend – I initially said “no video games” as I worked on Streamlined Gaming. But then I realized that I was having little to no interaction with people on a daily basis so I added video games back into my nightly schedule. My friend from high school played games with me and watched funny youtube videos together (like this one) to help keep my spirits up. Thanks Travis!

I was able to sleep fairly well at nights considering how difficult this time was. Much better than in 2013-14 at least. My thanks go out to those mentioned above and others that were helpful to me during this time of my life. You were very important in helping me push through this and get back on my feet months/years later.

Going Back to My Second Home (Down on the Ranch) – Age 29 to 31

Money runs out quick when starting an online business and hiring people. I was spending around $3000 a month for my business and living costs. I was making around $1 a month. So every month I was spending about $2999 more than we were bringing in.

This isn’t sustainable…

I realized I needed to get a job within about 6 months of working full time on Streamlined Gaming. Around this time I was looking into jobs from teaching tennis in San Marcos to going back to “where I’m loved” on the Ranch.

One weekend in the spring of 2017 I went to a movie with some of my friends from the Ranch. I heard there were openings in the Resident Assistant job that I used to have. Within a week I was rehired back and working as the new Isaiah House RA.

My Big Concern Going Back to the Ranch

This house was new to me when I first left the Ranch back in 2013. But I knew most of the guys living in this house fairly well. The big concern I had was how my dogson would do in this new environment.

Nasus was used to a quiet home with just 1-2 roommates. He didn’t have much experience in a louder and more active household.

Honestly, I had wanted to go back to the Ranch for several years now but had put it off because I now had Nasus.

Overall Nasus did very well and he made some great new friends on the Ranch. One of our housemates would walk Nasus every night. He loved doing this and it brought a big smile to his face while giving us an excuse to discuss our day without distraction from a tv or Ipad.

What I Loved About Being Back on the Ranch

Here are several things I really enjoyed about being back at Down Home Ranch as a Resident Assistant:

  • Free Time During the Day – I worked nights and mornings so I could still work on Streamlined Gaming with Ely during the day.
  • The pool – I had access to the Ranch pool and was able to swim laps to stay in shape despite being on the computer many hours a day during my off time.
  • Coaching Special Olympics Basketball – I became the S.O. coach for our basketball team. It was the highlight of most of our nights. What started out as once a week turned into once a night. This revitalized my passion for coaching.
Calvin Keeney kneeling down to talk to one of his athletes on the Special Olympics Basketball Team He Coached for Down Home Ranch
Coaching at the Special Olympics Regional Basketball Tournament January of 2018
Calvin Keeney holding a "Coach of the Year" Award that his Assistant Coach Presented to Him After Special Olympics Regionals in Texas February 2018
My team presenting me with “Coach of the Year” Honors after we went 0-2 at the Regional Special Olympics Basketball Tournament winning Bronze Medal (out of 3 teams). This period of my life taught me that you can still win big despite what the scoreboard says at the end of the game. Thanks team!

Why I Left the Ranch the Second Time

I started feeling a bit burned out after about a year being back on the Ranch. This is common for caregivers. I also had the extra stress on myself to start SLG so I was essentially working 1.5 – 2 jobs.

There was a time when I noticed I started looking for other jobs. I didn’t really want to leave the Ranch at that time but I realized I must be getting burned out.

I LOVED coaching the Ranchers in Special Olympics basketball so I looked for other coaching jobs. My brain kept remembering how much fun I had teaching tennis back when I had my own summer tennis camp. So I decided to take my coaching skills to the tennis court but for a new(er) game. Pickleball.

Setting Out to Chase My Dreams of Being a Professional Pickleball Coach – Age 31 (2018)

A few months before getting burned out from the Ranch, I started playing Pickleball on the weekends. The story as to how I first played Pickleball is actually really cool too.

My friend that left me heartbroken in San Marcos used to tell me about Pickleball being played there at the activities center a few times a week. Back then I felt like I didn’t have money to be spending on a gym membership to play pickleball but it sounded like fun.

Also, once we split up and didn’t see each other anymore, I kind of didn’t want to try it out because of that. I was worried I would see her there or something silly my brain was thinking would happen.

How I Started Playing Pickleball

One weekend in 2017 my younger brother Drew came to see me during his spring break (I believe) at Baylor University. We played tennis together and noticed a very interesting looking game being played a few courts over. I went and asked them what it was. “This is pickleball.”

Having seen Pickleball being played looked VERY interesting:

  • The ball made a cool sound.
  • The game was fast paced.
  • It looked like a game made just for my liking.

I put off playing Pickleball for about a year as I focused on building Streamlined Gaming.

One of My Biggest Inspirations in Playing Pickleball

Now this is a very cool part of the story. Crazy to me now looking back on where I am now with coaching Pickleball as I write this in December of 2019.

Gary Vaynerchuk had been a big inspiration to me as I tried building an online business. He is a really good entrepreneur that helps others wanting to build their own business.

I was a big fan of his daily vlogs that he would post on Youtube. One day he posted this vlog where he played Pickleball with Andy Roddick and Andre Agassi. Two of my favorite tennis players to watch growing up (my first tennis racket was an Andre Agassi racket.)

It looked so fun and I decided it was time to try this fun sport. Now that my brother Drew and I had just moved in together in January of 2018. We decided to try this in about April of 2018 after seeing this vlog.

I was instantly hooked on playing Pickleball and it was the highlight of my weekend to play every Saturday at the Austin Tennis and Pickleball Center.

Calvin Serving the Pickleballball wearing a gray shirt
This is a fun picture of me playing pickleball at Steve Kuhn’s House in Austin Texas. The same place I saw Gary Vaynerchuk playing Andy Roddick and Andre Agassi. Life is funny!

How I Got to Start Coaching Pickleball at the Austin Tennis and Pickleball Center (ATPC)

My brain finally got the courage to ask about coaching tennis and pickleball in September of 2018 as I looked for a new job. Lincoln ran ATPC and was excited to have me join the team.

I would start off teaching tennis to juniors and pickleball to beginner level players. It was a nervewracking time getting back into coaching but I think my first year was a success. There were definitely some good times and some bad times along with way more injuries I would have imagined. But lots and lots of good friends and experiences I made during this time.

Summing Up My First 31 Years of Life

Many of these segments could have been an entire book or movie. Maybe I will write or make one someday, but for now I wanted to get a nice timeline of the major parts of my life.

When I try to remember when something happened, I can refer back to this and better recall what was going on during that time period. I’m excited to have this as I progress through life and experience the ups and downs.

Hopefully this will keep me more grounded as I am reminded of the horrible times that I’ve pushed through. And the good times that come to an end.

Knowing that life has unexpected good times and bad is helpful for me being grateful for every moment that I have.

Here’s to many more great experiences to me and those around me. Thanks for reading 🙂

P.S. Want to chat about something from my life that resonated well with you? Contact me here or leave a comment below. I like to hear from others experiences too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *