Tennessee Titans fullback Ahmard Hall says, “If you have discipline, you can get anywhere in life.“
Ahmard Hall is a man who makes things happen. At just 30 years old, he’s already served his country as a Marine sergeant in Afghanistan, helped the University of Texas win a national championship, and played fullback for the Tennessee Titans. Described as a thunderous blocker and explosive runner on the field, Ahmard is actually outgoing and funny in person. Despite his impressive resumé, Ahmard says his greatest accomplishment to date is his family which includes his wife and high school sweetheart, Joanna, and sons, Mason (age 7) and Preston (age 2)
You’re a fullback at work, what’s your position at home?
I’m a hands-on dad. Joanna and I work in shifts to balance it out. We had Mason during my sophomore year in college, so I’d go to work and school on one day while she took care of the baby. The next day she’d go to work and school and I’d be home with him. At night, I’d take the first shift from 10 p.m. – 3 a.m. if he woke up, then we’d switch off.
How did you feel when you held your son for the first time?
Man, it’s such an unbelievable feeling. That life you created … that looks just like you. I didn’t want to give him to the nurses. I couldn’t put him down.
What’s the evening routine at the Hall house?
During the season, I get home around 4:30 or 5 p.m. I’ll watch a show with the boys or go over homework with Mason and keep Preston busy with some building blocks while Joanna cooks dinner. We always eat at the table and talk about the day. After dinner, I’ll take Preston because he’s more work for Joanna during the day. I bathe him, give him his milk and put him to bed. Then I’ll read Mason a story and put him to bed at 8.
Who’s the tough parent at your house?
Both of us, but I’m the tougher one. I was a sergeant in the Marines, steeped in discipline. If you have discipline you can get anywhere in life.
With a dad in the NFL, do your children want to be football players, too?
I would love it, of course, but I definitely won’t pressure them to do it. I’ve seen so many overbearing parents use their sons to complete the dad’s dream of making it big. The kids end up hating football altogether. My boys already have the pressure being my son, when really I just want them to become productive citizens, go to college and take their own path. I’ll support them in whatever they do.
What was your childhood like? I grew up with five male cousins, and we played basketball and tackle football all day without coming back inside. It made us better at sports because day after day we were outside playing. I was raised by a single mom, so I started working at age 14 as a dishwasher at Golden Corral – the worst job I ever had in my life!
What big mistake did you make as a kid?
I was 16 and was allowed to drive my cousin’s sports car to go to a concert. I knew I was supposed to go straight home, but I went to an after party. I was driving fast, hit a bump and smashed it into a tree. There were five people in the car, but when I looked up after the crash, there were zero people in the car. They ran off and left me!
How would you handle the same situation if one of your kids did the same thing?
I’m going to be a little more calm with them because my mom tells me not to sweat the small stuff. I don’t want to sweat the small stuff because I’ve seen people that get on their kids about every little thing, then never have a long-term relationship with them. I want to have a good relationship with my sons for their whole lives.
If you had a parenting “do over” what would you do differently? With Mason, we’d probably start letting him do things like learning to ride a bike earlier. With a first child, you’re so protective. If we could do it over, we wouldn’t shelter him so much. I see Preston out there just doing everything, and he’s having a great time.
What do you like about living in Nashville?
Nashville is a great place to raise a family. It’s the best of both worlds. You have the city with music and restaurants. But there are parks and churches on every corner. And the neighbors are great. I know all my neighbors and talk to them every day. Nashville also has high quality schools. Mason attends Granberry Elementary School, a great public school with the quality of a private.
Deborah Bohn writes Busy Bodies for this publication in addition to celebrity profiles. She lives in Franklin with her family.