It is my pleasure to introduce you to Smarty Dad Steve Schattner. He was nominated by his wife Christine and I think her nomination says it all.
I would like to nominate my wonderul husband, Steve Schattner, to be one of your Smarty Dads. On top of being a wonderful provider for me and our two girls (he owns his own insurance business), he is a HUGE part of how the sport of lacrosse came to Charlotte, and is influencing the lives of many young boys and men with his rec, travel and indoor lacrosse leagues.
He was founder and owner of The Lacrosse Company, which was the first lacrosse- specific sporting goods store in Charlotte, over 15 years ago. He was one of the first coaches at Providence Day School and started the very first youth lacrosse leagues, which began at Freedom Park in the1990’s. He is now the Director of Lacrosse at Cannon School in Concord, coaching the Varsity team and overseeing the JV and JH programs, and owns T2 Lacrosse.
He spends countless hours and endless energy on the promotion of lacrosse and how it can be used as a positive influence in young men’s lives. But what I really admire, particuarly as of late, is the fact that Steve is more than willing to scholarship players, or provide some kind of financial assistance, to any player who WANTS to play.
He encourages fairness, sportsmanship and academics through his programs, with a focus on determination and commitment- to being a better student, a better athlete and a better person. And 18 years later, we still get phone calls and letters from former players who credit Steve’s guidance, coaching and influence as a part of their success as adults.
He is an amazing father to our two girls, Julia (4) and Lauren (2), and a great husband, but what I think truly sets him apart is his commitment to these kids. Steve grew up extremely poor, and lacrosse was his “ticket” out- it paid for his college education at UNC- Chapel Hill and opened doors that would have otherwise been closed. He is an exemplification of what it means to “pay it forward.”
Smarty Dad Stats:
Native of Camillus, NY; in Charlotte since 1998
Married to Christine for 8 years; live in Huntersville, NC
Two daughters- Julia, 4, and Lauren, 2
You own your own business, how do you balance work, lacrosse and family?
I will admit, it is not easy. I have found that staying well organized is the most helpful thing- it allows me to “compartmentalize” my work obligations so that I can spend as much time as I can at home. Plus, my wife has been great about handling the day to day aspects of our lives, which makes things easier.
You are a very hands on dad. What tips do you have for other parents about being involved in the everyday with your kids?
I have certain activities that I do with each child only- for instance, my older daughter and I have a standing Sunday brunch “date”. Also, I try to focus on quality, not quantity- I travel a lot during the summer, so when I am home, we are at the pool, the playground or even just playing together as much as I can. The yard can be mowed another day.
Where did you develop your passion for lacrosse?
I grew up in Camillus, NY (outside Syracuse) and attended one of the strongest lacrosse schools in the United States (West Genesee HS.) I then earned a scholarship to play lacrosse at UNC- Chapel Hill. I have been coaching since I finished college, and I love seeing kids getting excited about the sport.
I love how you have taken a personal passion to influence kids in our community– what prompted you to do that?
My high school coach was, and still is, a great influence in my life. He taught me how to be committed to something bigger than myself, to see things through and to always work as hard as my body and mind will allow. It is a philosophy that I use to this day, for every aspect my life. Also, my parents divorced when I was very little. Sports gave me someplace to go, kept me focused and out of trouble- if I can help a child have the kind of opportunities that lacrosse has given me, then it has all been worth it.
How has the sport changed in Charlotte changed since you have been here?
When I arrived in Charlotte, there were three schools with teams. Now, there are youth leagues for kids of all ages; middle, high school and club programs; retail stores to purchase equipment. The growth is amazing, and is good for the Carolinas in terms of a national presence. We used to take teams up North and just be happy to be there, but for the past two summers, we took our club team to NY and consistently beat top teams from the area. That would not have happened even five years ago.
What is the best way to get involved in Lacrosse?
There are many ways to get involved- either through your local Parks & Rec, or with a local league or club program. Kids as young as five can play on an organized team. But my best advice is just pick up a stick and start catching and throwing- find a wall if you do not have someone to play with!
What tips do you have for parents to encourage sport and healthy attitudes towards competition?
Understand that everyone has a role- the coaches coach, the kids play and the parents support. Try to remember that everyone is doing their best, and that it is your CHILD playing the game, not you. A positive, supportive attitude is the best environment for your child to play sports. I would also ask parents to cheer for EVERY player, not just their own.
Can you share your funniest coach of kids story?
I coach mainly high school boys, and they are motivated by different things. I was having trouble getting a player to shoot on his “weak” side, and offered him a million dollars if he would start shooting that way. When he finally did it, he came looking for payment, and I told him it was actually a million Jamaican dollars, and handed him a buck. We like to have fun like that!
What is your favorite family time activity?
I like to just be with my kids- playing in the yard, coloring, doing their favorite activities. On the weekend, we love to go out on our boat.
Favorite Dad-time activity?
I like to golf when I get the chance.
Favorite lunch spot sans kids?
I don’t get to take lunch often, but when I do, I like the Village Tavern.
Favorite place to take the whole fam to dinner?
We like Taxco Mexican in Huntersville- they love kids, the prices are great and there are always lots of other families there, too.
Best book you’ve read lately?
“The Rules of Golf in Plain English” by Jeffrey S. Kuhn and Bryan A. Garner. A good Father’s Day present!!
I don’t know, Toy Story 3?? Kids loved it. We are not big movie goers!!
Funniest thing your kids have ever said to you?
Anytime I do something, like get a snack or just answer the question on Dora correctly, the girls like to say “Good job, Daddy!” or “That was terrific!” I guess they really are mirrors of us.
Most fun thing you have done with your kids?
I love to go to the beach with my kids- play in the waves, build sand castles, look for shells. We stay out there all day.
Favorite date-night spot?
We like to go to Cabo Fish Taco in NoDa, or closer to home, we like Flatiron in Davidson.
Best summer tip to hang with your kids?
Summer is a great time to explore new sports your kids might like. A good camp is a great way to try something you might not want to make a full season commitment to. Most importantly, just have fun- do the weird things they like to do, and wear sunscreen.
Minivan or suv and why?
Minivan- I wanted it, my wife did not. But now we cannot imagine life without it. Between long drives to upstate NY, carpooling and kid life, it is the best choice for us. And the DVD player and automatic doors are a nice touch.
Favorite phone app?
I mainly use the GPS- I drive a lot, and it gets me where I need to go.
Best kept secret in Charlotte?
For lacrosse in Lake Norman, it’s Top Tier Lacrosse, of course! But for Charlotte in general, I would say the National Whitewater Center- there really is something for everyone there, it is a great way to spend an afternoon and the restaurant/ bar there is great, too.
I could not live without my…
My family, and my team parents- they assist me is so many ways and help me stay organized.