Athletes have to fulfill many responsibilities, such as attending practice, exercising regularly, traveling, being aware of their diets, conditioning—the list goes on. Yes, playing that sport is their job, but they are human beings with relationships and families, just like us. For instance, when you tune in to a Golden State Warriors game, you see Stephen Curry’s dad or wife in the stands cheering him on. When Kevin Durant gave his famous MVP speech, he gave all of the credit to his mom. Russell Westbrook and his wife recently gave birth to twin babies. This just shows us that athletes have obligations outside of sports, and sometimes those can cause conflict.
“Just a Kid from Sicklerville” is a documentary based on the story of former UNCG basketball player Kyle Hines, whose jersey is one of three retired by the University. The series gives insight into what it’s like to be both an athlete and a parent. Hines is currently a member of the PBC CSKA Moscow team, where he has played since 2013. The first episode of this series introduces us to Kyle’s lifestyle as an overseas athlete.
One thing to pull from this episode, is Kyle’s honorable mention of the word ‘sacrifice.’
“I’m ready to sacrifice my role, I’m ready to sacrifice whatever it is,” Kyle says. Learning he has a wife and a daughter living thousands of miles away makes me appreciate his sacrifice even more. It is extremely difficult for him, because he is not used to coming to an empty home.
While the first episode is an introduction, the second episode goes into more depth about Kyle’s family. He talks a bit about him and his wife, Gianna, who is pregnant with his second child, and is currently taking care of their daughter, Anya. Kyle spends the day with them, visiting different places and doing fun little activities together. We get a better understanding of the sacrifice he referred to in the first episode, with Kyle having to stay overseas for Thanksgiving. Having an overseas athlete as a spouse must be extremely difficult, but Kyle and Gianna have adapted and made it work—a testament to Kyle’s commitment to both his family, and the game he loves so much.
The final episode is the most intimate part of this series so far. Kyle isn’t able to spend Christmas with his family, but again he says, “It’s difficult, but it’s part of the sacrifice.” This is compounded by his Gianna’s fast-approaching due date. Unfortunately, Kyle isn’t able to be there, but he is able to coach Gianna through labor via Facetime and will be able to make it home to meet his newborn. He gets to spend some time with his family, but the time quickly comes for him to leave once again. The episode concludes with Kyle saying goodbye once again to his family as he returns to Moscow.
Overall, the first three parts of this documentary exemplify the struggles that athletes deal with on and off the court. Yes, athletes are expected to attend practice and play hard for every game, but they do have a life outside their sport, and sometimes we forget that. They make sacrifices just like we do—maybe even more.
Most noteworthy about this doc are Kyle’s conversations, which are organic and free-flowing. It was a great decision to include soundbites from Gianna. We learn about Kyle’s sacrifice from her perspective, as well as the sacrifices that she has made herself. Gianna goes months without Kyle being around, while she raises Anya and their newborn. She provides details about how good of a husband and father Kyle is. The third episode brings the theme all together: We vividly see Kyle carving out time for basketball while also upholding his duties as a father and husband. It is beautiful to see sacrifices as such pay off.
You can find all five parts of Kyle’s docuseries on his Youtube channel, SirHinesTV.