Making time for both family and basketball represents a precarious balancing act for many coaches.
With three young sons at home, one approaching age 6 and twins who just turned 4, Darrin Constant has opted to focus on family and stepped down as the boys varsity basketball coach at Calais High School.
“I couldn’t be 100 percent committed both ways and in my mind to coach basketball, especially in a place like Calais, you’ve got to be 150 percent committed and I just couldn’t be that right now,” he said.
Constant coached at Calais for five seasons, with the Blue Devils qualifying for Class C North postseason play in 2018, 2019 and 2020 and advancing to the regional quarterfinals at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor in 2019.
“I loved every minute of it,” he said. “You form relationships with the kids and that’s the biggest thing for me. I was there long enough to have two classes for four years and the relationships you build with those kids and the kids that are still there are the best part about it.”
But now with twins Mason and Gavin in addition to Thomas, leaving home for basketball practices and games after his work day spent as a juvenile community corrections officer covering Washington County presented an increasingly difficult challenge.
“If I’m 150 percent committed to coaching I’m not 150 percent committed at home, and I’m just not willing to do that to my kids. They’re only young once,” Constant said. “Now they’re getting to the age that when I leave home for practice or a summer game they’re getting upset. … My biggest fear is looking back some day and wishing I would have been there more for all three of them.”
Constant had contemplated his coaching future since the end of the last basketball season but did not announce his decision until July 29, the day his twins celebrated their 4th birthdays.
“I tried to hang on and make it work because I love coaching and I love the kids that I coach,” he said. “It breaks my heart with the thought of letting the team down, but I have to do what is right for my family. I will be the biggest fan next year and I am looking forward to that.”
Constant doesn’t expect his absence from the sidelines to be permanent.
“I want to be involved with what’s coming up for the boys. Thomas will be starting rec ball in a year or two, so I kind of saw this coming. I just didn’t know it would be right now,” he said. “I’ll be 100 percent back at some point if they’ll have me, but my plan is to start coaching on the youth level when my kids are playing.”