Punching the Ticket on Episode #100 with Jeff Cheney
Punching the Ticket on Episode #100 with Jeff Cheney
How do we celebrate hitting 100 episodes of Hustle and Pro? It’s gotta be big, right? Sure does. That’s why we invited Mayor Jeff Cheney to the show to learn about his sports allegiances and his childhood sports journey. We’ve punched our ticket on this major milestone, and here’s to 100 more!
Enjoy this episode and other episodes of Hustle and Pro in our archives.
[00:48] Quick hits with Jeff Cheney
[02:03] Was young Jeff Cheney into sports?
[03:37] Bleeding Burnt Orange
[06:30] Pro Sports
[11:32] The ups and downs of parenting athletes
Resources within this episode:
- Jeff Cheney: Instagram @jeffcheney | Facebook @MayorCheney | Twitter @JeffCheney
- Kelly Walker: Bio | Instagram @kelly_walkertexas | Twitter: @kelly_walker_TX
Connect with Lifestyle Frisco:
Welcome to Hustle & Pro, Season 2, talking sports and Frisco from youth to pro. Now here’s your host, Kelly Walker.
Welcome to the 100th episode of Hustle & Pro. I’m really excited to make it to 100 episodes. They say, that’s when you know, you’ve got a solid podcast when you get to a hundred. So I thought, “how can I celebrate getting to a hundred episodes? I need a big guest.” So of course we got one. Welcome to the studio: Jeff Cheney.
Wow, so honored to be number 100.
I’m excited to hear from you. ”Cause I’ve seen, you know, here and there, some of your personal, you know, sports posts and interests and things, but I’ve never really learned much about it. So that’s what we’re here to talk about. Now. I know you’re, you’re the Frisco mayor. But this is not an, a mayoral duty. This is not, you know, talk about so much Frisco. It’s really about you specifically. So to start off, I like to ask all my guests some quick hits, just to kind of jump in and get to know what, what you like about sports. So who would you say is your favorite athlete?
Oh, Michael Jordan. Let’s go.
That was fast. That was easy. Uh, what about your favorite sports movie?
Oh boy. Um, I’m going to go with Hoosiers.
All right. So I’m not even gonna ask you your favorite sport ’cause obviously you’re, it’s a basketball theme going on. Um, so, so Season 3 of Hustle & Pro is about to start and I change up those questions, um, every season. So I’m going to give you next season’s because I just am curious what yours is. Um, what’s on your playlist if you’re working out or doing something sporty.
You know, I’m a kid of the ’80s. And so back then, you know, being in suburban America, you know, we thought we were all tough looking, listening to rap. And so I go back to my roots, you know, I got a little, um, Snoop Dogg and Dr.- So I, uh, that’s what I usually pull up when I, when I’m working out.
Yeah. I have some of that too. I have a mix, but I definitely have some rap on there. I feel like it makes me work out a little harder when I have something like that to listen to. ’80s rap is the best. Yeah, it is. Oh man, that commercial right now, the, um, the “scoop there it is” tag team. Gosh, I love it every time I’m like, this is great. Okay. So let’s just jump into kind of personally your background. Like what type of young athlete were you?
Sure. So I was, um, what a Frisco kid is today, you know, playing multiple, multiple sports at the same time, you know, changing jerseys in the car. Um, so I played at all, um, you know, soccer, basketball, baseball, football, um, and so, you know, that was my life growing up, um, like a lot of Frisco kids these days and just always loved sports, loved being an athlete. My dad was a coach for baseball. And so that was bonding for us, certainly, um, you know, growing up. And
So he coached you. Do you have siblings that were also playing?
I do. I have three sisters. And so they were all athletes, also two older sisters that are twins. They played softball and, and were into equestrian riding as well. So I do consider that a sport. That’s not your average sport because if they listen to this and that I say that it isn’t, then they’ll come after me.
Oh for sure it is. They’re competing and have to keep up. And yeah, that’s, that’s interesting. I don’t know much about equestrian, but that’s, that’s cool. So there’s softball players. That’s my thing too. So I didn’t even know you had twin sisters. Yeah.
And then a little sister too. And so she was an athlete and um, I guess she ended up probably being the best of all of us. She’s actually run ultramarathons. Wow. Yeah. So it was like fifty-something miles. She ran in one, one day.
That’s incredible. I don’t even know if I hit that and like, you know, half-a-year sometimes. Um, okay, so you, yeah. You played everything, like you said. Um, so is this in Texas you grew up?
I did. So grew up outside of Houston.
Okay. I thought Houston. Yeah. All right. So then that kind of leads me to my next question. I’m about to ask you about your college team knowing full well it’s one of my rival college teams, uh, ’cause I’m a Red Raider. But tell me about your college allegiances.
Well, I, I bleed orange. So I graduated from the University of Texas. In fact, we’re a Longhorn family. Um, my dad was a Longhorn. All three of my sisters were Longhorns. And so it’s definitely a tradition. So in high school I didn’t even apply to another school. You know, I got into Texas and that’s all.
That was your goal from when you were smaller, then. Especially like you said, it’s in the family.
And all your sisters, so everybody just kind of, you just knew growing up, like that’s where you were going to go. Yeah. We’re gonna be Longhorns. So then probably growing up, you were always watching Longhorn sports.
Oh yeah. Yeah. And I went through some rough periods, you know, my age, you know, as far as bad football teams.
Yeah. It comes and goes, especially with most of the college teams that we follow here in Texas. Right. So did you ever have aspirations to play anything in college?
I did. I actually, um, people laugh when they find out I used to actually be a basketball player, pretty good one. Um, because they don’t think I look like it. Um, but I actually tried out for the UT basketball team every single year. Um, I practiced with a lot of the players, um. Really? Oh, yeah. And
So, you were trying to do like a, like a Rudy situation and like work hard and get on the, walk on the team.
You know, if you go back and ask 20-year-old Jeff, um, he would tell you that he was the best point guard on campus, you know? And so um pretty cocky, but I, you know, I was a gym rat. I mean, I’d play basketball 8 to 10 hours a day. I mean just all day long ’til, ’til my legs gave out and then we’d wake up and do it the next day.
Wow. So you I’m guessing, unless this is a newsflash, I didn’t know about: you did not, you never played for the UT team,
Never played for the UT team. I practiced with them a lot. Um, you know, and of course played a lot of pickup and you know, they actually, it was really tough to get on the team, even if, as a walk-on because they do prefer walk-ons only they have so many spots. Yeah, it’s just not big rosters. Yeah. And so that, that was tough to get on. But I did my friends always joke about this. I did get my revenge, um, winning the, Hoop It Up tournament in Austin, which was a big deal. Yeah. Austin is like one of the biggest ones, too. And UT players come and play in it. And I actually, we had to beat the point guard who I think thought was stealing my spot on the team. In the semi-finals, we beat him. And you did. Pull up a three right in his face. So you showed him. I showed it. That was my revenge.
I love Hooped Up. I haven’t heard of thought about that in ages. One of our best friends, um, who we played with through the middle school level then went to separate high schools. But she, um, she was the best basketball player. I know she went and played in college, but she was our Hoop It Up ringer. Yeah. And you probably get four, but only three are playing at a time. Right. So you only need a few. Yeah, man, that’s fun. That’s good stuff. I hope kids still get to do stuff like that. Okay. Then let me talk about your pro teams and allegiances. Now this kind of, Frisco comes in here too. Obviously you, you have a lot of, of connections now, um, probably before too, but I mean, you do so much with, as Frisco develops in sports teams, but what are your actual like allegiances to different sports teams?
You know, we’ve um, Dana and I, Dana grew up in Houston too. And so we moved to Dallas back in 2000. And so we used to be Houston teams and we kind of slowly converted, of course we were Oilers fans and then didn’t really have, um, allegiances when they moved to the Titans. So it was pretty easy for us to transition, to be Cowboys fans real quick. Um, I think probably the team we, um, held onto the longest was the Astros and they kind of took the Rangers, you know, making those world series runs to finally get us to flip the switch back over there. But we’re, we’re loyal, loyal to our local teams.
So what about a few years ago when the Astros are in the World Series and they’re on top again. You’re still rooting for them.
Still rooting for them, you know, just kinda, you know, rooting for them when they’re not playing Dallas teams were playing the Rangers. So yeah.
I’m a Rangers fan all the way, just ’cause I grew up in Waco. So, um, I guess we could’ve chosen South and been Astros fans, but, but my dad was also our coach, our softball coach for me and my sister. And, um, it was just kind of our thing was to drive up here for special occasions and, and go to, we did like the Six Flags Ranger game weekend celebration thing. That was kind of our family road trips. So we’ve always been Rangers fans.
We’ve, we’ve adopted the Chiefs now. Um, you know, obviously because there’re ties here to Frisco with the Hunt family who own FC Dallas. And so getting to know that family really well, they’re just amazing people. And so, um, it’s pretty easy to cheer for them right now. And I know Mahomes. Yeah,
Well, yeah, it’s not hard to cheer for Mahomes for me either way, but I’m the same way with the connection with the Hunts. Um, I mean, if the Cowboys aren’t in the Super Bowl, like that would be, I guess my next preference is the Chiefs. Um, like you said, just the getting the, the interaction that I do get to have as far as like media and availability and things with the Hunts, um, is really cool watching their story and, you know, every chance they get, they talk about their mom and, and how she’s gone to all the Super Bowls and all that good stuff. But, um, my husband has, grew up playing soccer around here. And so he’s the same age as Dan, I think. Um, and so, you know, they’ve crossed paths on different soccer teams and clubs and all of the, the history, his personal soccer life here. So I root for them. I root for FC Dallas, obviously just ’cause we’re soccer people too. But, um, but I root for them to have, you know, success with their NFL team also. Yeah. Yeah. So then when we talk about like your experience being mayor and getting to have involvement with some of these different teams, um, has, how has that bolstered or maybe changed your interest in sports in this town?
Well you just feel a connection, like you just said, the Hunt family, you know, as far as getting to know them and the people behind the brand, um, you know, it gives you that bigger sense of attachment and to just hear the stories, you know, and how they got to where they were, they did, you know, seeing behind the scenes, you know, meeting the players, you know, and you, you realize you see them on TV, but realize, you know, most of them are just normal people like us, you know? And so that, that part of it is fun and, and starting to see them around town, you know, quite a bit, and it’s great, you know, and being a sports fan, you know, who wouldn’t, you know, if you’re going to be a mayor of any city and you loves sports, why wouldn’t you be mayor of Sports City, USA?
You’re in the right place. Yeah. Has it, has it, um, you know, increased your appreciation for sort of the logistics and how some of these things, what goes into some of these things happening?
Absolutely. I mean, especially this year with COVID and just, you know, we’ve been in the details even more, but just what it takes to run an organization. And, you know, I mean every single game is an event. It’s a big event to event planning and, um, all that goes into, um, into that, um, creating a great game day experience. And so, um, you know, we’ve learned a lot from the city too just seeing how these teams professionally run things and put on great events and you know, what it means for tourism, you know, in the city and the 6 million visitors that used to come here and will hopefully be coming back soon.
They’ll be back. Yeah. I mean, as fans, it’s so easy to walk in to a stadium ballpark, what have you, and just experience it from that point of view, which is how most of us consume sports, our whole lives, right? Like you probably grew up, uh, did you get to go to games at UT games also? Oh yeah. So you probably grew up, you know, that awe of walking in and finding your seat and, and checking out the field and even like some sports, like, we love to go early to watch batting practice or those kinds of things. Um, but then seeing, seeing the other side of it and having a different perspective, you realize how many people are in the stadium so early to get their jobs and their checklists done. And like with the Legends, I did an article once with Malcolm and them on like their daily checklist, how it starts at 8:00 AM for their 8:00 PM game, for example.
And it’s just like, it’s a long game day and it’s, we’re lucky as fans to just get to walk in the door and be like, “here we go, this is great. Give me my popcorn. Let’s, let’s enjoy it.” You know? Um, so I want to ask you about parenting athletes and kind of like, what, what kind of athletic, you know, parent are you. Are you, are you the laid back kind? Are you the super involved? Are you like the want-to-be coach? I think your kids are at an older point right now, so you’re, you’re, you’re probably not coaching anymore, but what, what does that look like for you?
You know, I have multiple personalities when it comes to my kids’ sports. So, um, basketball, which, um, you know, was my sport. Um, I coached both of my boys and actually Katelyn in basketball. In fact, I coached, gosh, I booked the field house for probably a decade between both of them. You know, I’m a numbers guy, so I would literally track stats and trends during the game. Um, you know, we would like to play aggressive. And, um, if you ask both my boys, they would say I was, um, pretty intense as, as a coach. And, you know, I joke that I was the Mack Brown of Frisco basketball because we won a lot of games. Um, and then when a lot of championships and it wasn’t because I was a great coach, but I was a great recruiter. Yeah. You know, it’s about the Jimmy’s & Joes and not the X’s & O’s.
What age are we talking? How, how old did you coach them and like, for basketball?
Yeah. Until they went, um, you know, probably into middle school with middle school basketball. So we started both of them when, gosh, when they were probably five or six years old, at the YMCAs then worked through field house and, um, we knew all the referees, I mean, it was, it was fun. We had a great time with that.
I’m in that field house, uh, timeframe right now ’cause I have a ten-year-old boy that plays basketball field house. So he’s, uh, all-year round, different sport kid: soccer and basketball and, um, flag football sometimes and baseball, all those things. But right now I’m in field house season, you know, there’s definite seasons of your life when you’re into it or you’re not
We felt like we were living there for a while.
Well, my, ’cause because Jack will play basketball there, like right now and then sometimes on the indoor turf, right, for soccer. And then like my husband’s still plays soccer. And so sometimes we’re there for his adult men’s league games and it’s just funny. I’m like, okay, how many times in one day, can we go back and forth to one building for different sports?
So I would say on the flip side, mother personality, is it, and after about 10 years of coaching basketball, I was happy to go back and be a dad in the stands. Um, and when I watched them play other sports, um, you know, I’m pretty laid back. I’ve always been a big believer that, you know, game day is about the players and not the coaches. Um, and so it’s their opportunity to be on stage and perform and let them perform. Now I do cheer, um, pretty loud, uh, when they do good things. But yeah, and I, I, I’m a big believer in, you know, the 24-hour rule when it comes to coaches and your kids, you know, you, a lot of parents get emotional, but if you have a problem with a coach, you know, let 24 hours pass, you know, and that emotion subsides and then, you know, have a conversation, but- cooling off period. Cooling off period, yeah.
It’s important. I didn’t, I didn’t really hear much about that as a parent, until middle school. We had like a sit-down, I don’t know, the, the athletic coordinators brought in speakers and actually loved hearing from her so much. She’s been on here a few times, but, um, that whole just idea, the concept of when you have a problem, like let it cool down, because most times, a day later, it’s really not that big of a deal. Most times the kid has already forgotten about it. Right. And especially if you sort of let it go and it’s really not worth the battle to bring up. And the coaches are, that’s where you get into that middle school, where, where you go from the parents to these, these teachers. They’re teachers and coaches who are just trying to teach the team as a team. Right. It’s not the parent and there’s no favoritism anymore. It’s, it’s a totally different type of coach. And you have to give them grace and understand that, like, you don’t really know what, what is all going on behind the dynamic of this team. Right. And so, um, yeah, I love that 24-hour rule also. Okay. So you said that when they do something good, you’re pretty loud. What about when something goes wrong?
Uh, no, I do not ever speak negative on the field. And you know, one thing that’s always important, too, is that car ride home. Right. Which is, you know, you were, you know, if your kid goes 0 for 4 that day, I can guarantee you, if you tell them how bad their swing looked, they’re going to just tune you out, you know?
They know they went 0 for 4, like they feel it, right.
Those are the days you pick them up and, you know, tell them, “Hey, you know, you’ll, you know, go 3 for 4 tomorrow, you know, right back at it.” Yeah.
Sometimes we like to laugh about it, you know, like, “Wow. I thought you were going to try to go 0 for 5.” Or you know, make it, make it a joke to where we all kind of understand, like it happens to everybody. It’s fine. It’s just sports. Have fun. Did you have fun? Like, you know, they’re still so small, so yeah. The car ride home is an interesting dynamic.
That’s probably the one that, you know, if you had my three kids here to interview to fact check me, you know, post-interview, that’s the one that I hope they would say is that, you know, our mom and dad were always really positive and were, were never negative even when we had a bad day.
Yeah. So you kind of gave up the coaching world as they go into middle school and kind of all their sports, doesn’t it become so much more enjoyable. You lose the connection, granted that you’re involved in everything. Um, but it’s being in the stands is so nice and chill, like show up, you show up at game time and leave and it’s all good. And it’s like, “Hey, what are we going to get for dinner?” Or not you know, let’s break it down and figure out what went wrong and you know, all this stress that comes with it.
Yeah, I mean, part of me loved the intensity of that hour as far as “okay, I put together a game plan, you know, we’ve practiced so hard, let’s see how it executes” and you, you know, you feel great when they do well and then it’s your fault when they lose. Um, but yeah, when you’re just sitting up in the stands and get to watch you’re like “ah, that was fun”
Easy-breezy. But what about the connection part of it? because that is one thing when, when my husband and I have stopped coaching either together or separately, different sports. Um, ’cause I did a lot of stuff with my daughter while he did most of the stuff with Jack. Uh, he still does some. Um, but, um, one thing I realized in middle school and now high school sports, the thing I don’t like about just sitting in the stands is it, I don’t know the players. You know, coaching, you, you know, your kids’ friends and new friends that are new teammates so well and the big picture, you know, you know, their parents, you know, a lot about them, you know, their personalities, you know, the funny little things they say and do and the jokes and you’re kind of in the circle with your kids’ group. And when you miss that, like, it really bothers me that I’ll show up for one of Reese’s volleyball games. And I’m like, “Oh, I don’t know those three girls, like, I don’t know their names, who are their parents.” Like, it just, that part is as hard as- you feel that, too?
I agree. We, we miss that. I mean, I think our, our circle of friends has somehow come from our kids’ sports teams. You know, you spend so much time with them. Um, and really FFL, I mean, Frisco Football League. I mean, that was probably the one where you had the most, you know, connections kind of going through and now some of these kids have kind of scattered and I actually still follow the, the kids that we kind of grew up with and all these different sports at these different schools, you know, maybe even more than, you know, at our school at Wakeland, you know, as far as everybody. So I do miss that, but it’s also fun now. We’re in that phase where we’re seeing these kids, you know, some of who I coach like, um, Chase Lowery, Frisco High, I coached him in basketball. He’s going off to play division one football next year. So it was so cool to just see Chase excel like that and just see all these boys how they’ve changed over time and what they’re doing. And, um, I do miss that.
Yeah, that is probably really rewarding. Especially with all the signing days we’ve had and so much Frisco activity with that is to see, not that you are like the reason this kid is going to play D1 sports, but you’re a part of it. You know, there’s, there’s something to be said for the coaches who started you on the path. They, might’ve not been there to teach you the actual skills you’re using and playing in D1, but they taught you a lot of different parts of the, of being a teammate and winning and losing – some of the really fundamental or foundational things that they built upon over the year. So that’s probably really cool. Uh, okay. One last question. You mentioned basketball a few times. So do you still get to play like recreationally? Do you, do you get to play in a pickup leagues or weekend warrior or anything?
You know, I, I did keep playing. We had a, an old man’s team, um, that we played at the field house for a while. We were the, uh, the Shot Callers.
Yeah. That’s funny, Shot Callers. Yeah.
That’s great. Um, you know, they’ll- wanna be a baller or, you know, Shot Caller. Anyway. And one of my good friends, um, Rod, he tore his Achilles in a game and I was kind of like, “you know, I don’t know if that’s the way I want to go out.” So my knees aren’t quite holding up, so I’ll, I’ll shoot around, but I haven’t actually, uh, played in in a while.
Yeah. There’s a difference. Right. And just shooting versus getting, getting stepped on, landed on, landing on your ankle weird. Yeah, achilles. We’re at that age. Um, yeah. My husband has had a couple soccer teammates that snap those Achilles, and that is a ridiculously hard thing to come back from and then kind of go, “okay now wait: why am I an old-“, you said old man league. I didn’t, but I said, I call my husband’s league old man league. “Why am I at this age, coming back from an injury that was ’caused by playing rec sports? And then why would I consider, keep playing that just for this to happen again.” We’re all we have jobs. We can’t just be like on crutches for six months in our life. Right. So, um, yeah, I hear you. I still try to play a few things here and there, but it’s getting less and less. The older, the old- once I hit 40, I’m like, “Oh, batting practice? I’m there. Games? Not as, not as often?”
Yeah. Golf is sounding pretty good. Yeah. You get to golf a lot? I do not get to golf a lot, but with the PGA coming to Frisco, I, um, uh, I need to start working back up on my game so
Well, I’m sure you’ll get not only opportunities, the most amazing state of the art beautiful opportunities. Um, you know, recently drove by in, in awe of how much is going on there, how much progress is being made, but then just also knowing, and kind of seeing the vision and hearing it from people like you guys of what’s to come. It’s really cool. Really exciting. Yeah. You’re going to get, um, a lot of cool opportunities to play there, hopefully. And a lot of the Frisco residents will, they just have to take advantage of it. Right. So that’s exciting golf, golf coming to Frisco. Awesome. Jeff. Well, thank you. I know you’re so busy. Uh, there’s probably never a time when you’re not busy, uh, as the mayor of a town like Frisco. So, I appreciate the time out of your schedule to come sit down and talk to us and get to know you a little bit better to celebrate our episode number 100.
Well, thanks for having me. Love talking sports; so, couldn’t turn it down.
Well you’re welcome back any time, especially if those Longhorns do something worthy of having the Longhorns conversation. Sorry. No, well, it’s not like my Red Raiders are either. Um, but no, you’re welcome back anytime, of course. And thank you guys all for listening to this episode of Hustle & Pro. Remember to subscribe so you can get notifications on next week’s episode.