A professional athlete’s schedule doesn’t allow for a lot of flexibility and balancing professional and personal commitments becomes even more of a juggling act. So, what happens when a husband and wife are both active, professional athletes? Just ask Brian and Jayme Robison.
The Robisons met in junior high school in their native Texas and have been married since 2008. For the past eight years, Brian has been a defensive end for the Minnesota Vikings who drafted him out of the University of Texas in 2007.
From early childhood, Brian dreamed of playing in the NFL and Jayme had dreams of being a professional competitor as well. Both have seen those dreams fulfilled. Jayme is a barrel racer and member of the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association, a women’s rodeo circuit.
These very different commitments require a lot of cooperation and organization by both spouses. Brian is based in Minnesota during the NFL season, but home is still Texas and is where Jayme keeps her horses and her horse breeding business. Jayme flies back and forth between Texas and Minnesota throughout the football season, but can’t be away from her own business and training for too long. Barrel racing competitions take place throughout the year.
“It’s a mutual relationship,” Jayme said. “I cater to him during the football season and in his offseason I get that returned. It’s give and take.”
Unfortunately, these aren’t the types of sports that lend themselves to the Robisons training together. Brian’s training, is of course, comprised mostly of various types of conditioning and weight training. Jayme on the other hand, gets all of her training from riding her horses.
“You don’t necessarily have to train outside of the daily routine,” Jayme explained of her sport. “You’re feeding, cleaning, you’re on your feet. You’re constantly working your body. I don’t work out outside of that.”
One thing they have in common is the understanding of, and dealing with, the risk of injuries and the recovery process. Brian has seen his fair share from muscle injuries to ankle sprains. But nothing like Jayme, who, several years ago fractured her hip.
“I had a horse rear up and roll over on top of me,” she said.
During the points in their schedules when Brian is tied up with football and Jayme has a rodeo competition, they have a strong family support system, which steps in to help with their three-year-old daughter, Madelyn, and infant son, Parker.
And how about a family where when the children ask for a pony they get one? In fact, they don’t even have to ask. Jayme picked out a pony for her daughter when she was still in utero. The first time Madelyn got on a horse she was a year old, accompanied of course, by her mother, and, in a similarity to her father’s job, she wears a helmet (Jayme rides Western style in which helmets aren’t used; Madelyn’s helmet is strictly for safety.)
Little Madelyn is getting exposure to all aspects of her parents’ vocations and hobbies. They are an outdoor family and in addition to riding her pony, Madelyn is developing a love for another sport – fishing, for which Brian also has great enthusiasm.
“She will fish with her dad or she will ride with me,” Jayme said.
But for Brian, fishing has become more than just an occasional means of relaxation. He first learned to fish when he was four years old on the banks of nearby creeks and streams. Then he started fishing off boats and that’s when he really got…hooked.
He’s already building a post-NFL plan, which involves teaming up with his father in fishing competitions and he currently spends as much of his free time as possible honing his skills. “I’m in the process of learning a lot of things,” he said. “Getting more into the tournament aspect. I’m learning more and more every day. I’m very competitive with it. It’s not just a hobby, it’s a passion.”
In many ways, it’s also therapeutic for him. “I have ADHD,” he said. “I always have to be doing something. I can’t sit in the house and just relax especially when the season’s over. I get bored. Fishing’s been that outlet for me; it eases my mind.”
And the thrill of the catch is as satisfying as a big win on the football field.
“I find it such a challenge,” he said. “First you have to find the fish and then you have to get him to bite. I’ve been in situations where I’ll put a lure on and then I’ll switch a lure and then I’ll catch 10 or 20 fish.
You have to figure out what they’re going to bite and how you can weed out the bigger fish from the smaller fish.”
And the couple likes what they are passing on to their children. Regardless of what they ultimately choose to do with their lives, there is one very important thing the Robisons hope to instill.
“I want them to have their work ethic,” Jayme said. “That little piece of Brian and I that tells them to get their butts off the couch.”