Meet our Last Dad for the month of June, Thomas Keyes, a native Long Islander who has been in Fairfield since 2009. He started Triple Double in 2019 never knowing how much it would grow to what it is today! He has been married to Kristin for 14 years and have 3 adorable kids. A teacher during the day to running classes and camps at night, weekends and throughout summer! Some how he finds time to have coffee at Las Vetas and drinks at Tony D’s. Thanks Tom for finishing up our month! You are an asset to the community, keep up the good work!
Where are you originally from and how long have you been in Fairfield?
I am originally from Sayville, Long Island. My wife (Kristin) and I bought our house in Fairfield in 2009 and have remained in that house ever since. Kristin is from Trumbull so she was familiar with the area and we thought Fairfield was a great place to raise a family. It also reminded me a lot of my hometown which I loved.
Tell us about your Family!
Kristin and I have been married for 14 years now. We have three awesome kids: Trip (13), Wesley (10), and Lyla (6). I will try my best in the rest of this interview to sound interesting, but honestly the kids are our life and I love being their dad. Each one has different interests and personality traits that make our home a constant place of action. We have a busy life but Kristin and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I actually have a job other than running Triple Double! I am a History Teacher at Norwalk High School. I truly love what I do and after 19 years still have a great passion for it. Coaching and teaching are pretty much the same thing at the end of the day and I am grateful to be able to do both. If anyone ever has a desire to discuss the lasting effects of the Treaty of Westphalia on Europe or visit an art museum, hit me up!
One thing you wish someone would have told you about fatherhood?
I didn’t realize how crazy it would be in the early years to juggle two working parents, three kids at different stages, all in different schools or daycares…with the standard lack of sleep that comes with a baby. Now that the kids are a bit older we get sleep but our daily schedule is jam packed with sports and activities. The most important meeting of the week is Sunday Night where we go over the weekly schedule for the family and make sure everyone has a ride to and from where they need to be.
What’s your favorite thing about raising a family in Fairfield?
There are so many things to do with the kids, no matter what age. We love the parks, beaches, downtown area, and restaurants. Our family’s experience with the schools has been great, and we love the sports organizations for our kids. But my favorite thing about raising my family here is the community. Last summer I was a coach for Trip’s Little League Team (Fairfield American – 2x State Champs!) and we made it to Regionals in Bristol on ESPN. I was just amazed at how many people from town followed our team all summer long. A lot of people took the time to drive all over the state to support the kids and that was a great feeling to know the whole town was behind us.
Best dad hack that makes your life easier?
I always keep snacks in my truck for the kids. We are always shuffling to and from games and practices so having snacks on hand is definitely beneficial. No one wants to deal with a hangry kid. Honestly, the pick up truck itself is a dad hack. I do not necessarily need it but I love it. My advice to anyone considering it is to ditch the Wrangler and get a pick up truck.
Tell us about your job, when & why you decided to start in this field?
First off, I definitely don’t think of Triple Double as a job and never imagined that it would become as big as it currently is. I retired from coaching high school basketball (Norwalk High) in 2018 because of my growing family but still knew I wanted to “stay in the game”. I personally thought there was a void in town for basketball at the younger ages. People thought I was crazy to want to coach kindergarteners in basketball but I love teaching the game and the kids really are a lot of fun. I started doing Above and Beyond classes at Mill Hill and Jennings. From there it kind of took off and we eventually set up HQ at St Pius where we do the majority of our programs. We added in a girls program which is run by Kathleen Regula, who does a great job with it, and also now have a full summer camp schedule.
What do you love about your job? Challenges you face?
The best part of the job is the kids. The way they come running into the gym all excited, grab a ball, and start shooting around is awesome. I love to see that. I also love when I’m driving around town and I see one of our kids out in their driveway practicing. It just makes me smile. We also have great coaches that work in our program. I get lots of emails every day, but every once in a while I get one that is complimenting one of my coaches and it really means a lot to get those.
We face challenges all the time but nothing that we haven’t been able to overcome. I think convincing people that the real little guys (under first grade) could play basketball was a challenge. I think we definitely proved the naysayers wrong about that.
If you weren’t working in this industry, what do you think you would be doing today?
For years my other “2nd job” was bartending and I’d probably still be doing that. Up until Covid, I spent my summers in Montauk working as a bartender. The money was great but it was tough to be away from the family for 4-5 days at a time. Triple Double afforded me the opportunity to give that up so I can be home with my family full time in the summer. This doesn’t mean I can’t still make a great Spicy Margarita and I will happily put my Bloody Mary up against anyone else’s. Usually if we are at a party and there’s a bar there, I naturally find myself behind it mixing up the cocktails.
Best advice for dads who experience the inevitable guilt handling a career and helping support a family?
I think the hardest part about running a business is being able to “turn it off” and keep the balance. Admittedly I struggle with this. Sometimes you just need to leave the phone at home and take your kids to the park or take your wife out to dinner. The best way to balance work, wife, and kids is to be present.
Who has most influenced you to be the father that you are today?
This one is easy. I have a great father that showed me the blueprint. I feel like he did everything right. I often find myself doing stuff he used to do and while I laugh at it, I am completely fine with it. I know that if my parenting is half as good as his is, I’m doing pretty good. He is also modelling how to be an awesome grandpa to his 12 grandchildren. Also, shout out to my older brother (Jim) and brother in law (Brian) who had their kids when I was still a teenager and I like to think that observing their parenting of my nieces and nephews while I was in my late teens and early twenties kept me in the loop on how to do it.
What advice would you share with a new dad or other dads?
People are not lying when they say: “Enjoy it. It goes fast.” Personally I feel like we had a baby and then I blinked and he’s a teenager now. There are definitely long days involved in parenting and we all can’t wait for them to grow up to make things “easier” but when I see a dad rolling into triple double with his 6 year old, 3 year old and pushing a stroller, as crazy as this sounds, I miss that.
We love supporting local businesses – favorite places in Fairfield to…
Have Dinner with Family: Dinner for us is often on the fly. We go to Southport Diner all the time. They have something for everyone in my family. One person can get pancakes and another can get a burger. I just love the variety yet simplicity that a diner offers. My family also loves Rawleys for something quick.
Grab a Drink with Friends: House Parties! My partner Kathleen Regula and her husband throw great parties! Also we made great friends with the parents of Trip’s Little League team so a party at Coach Lawlor’s house usually goes late into the night. I could send a video to prove it but those are in the vault. I usually get my booze from Harry’s they have a great beer selection. They always have a wide and ever changing selection of bourbons there.
Watch a game: Tony Ds. It’s like hanging out in your buddy’s basement and I mean that as an absolute compliment.
Have a Date Night: We like to hop around downtown. We start with a drink at one spot, usually JB Percival for a manhattan and then dinner somewhere else, but Molto, Sinclair, Malibu Taco, or The Chelsea are always in the rotation.
Spend time together as a Family (Outside): Outside Activities: Fairfield has so many great spots. Besides the beach, I love golfing the par 3 with Trip and fishing with Wes- we have some great spots along Mill River that are great. We also all love playing pickleball together. (Yes, we are a pickleball family!)
Spend time together as a Family (Inside): A Fairfield Stags Basketball game! The new arena is pretty awesome and the basketball is high level. It is totally affordable and a fun activity for the whole family. If not that, a local high school game is also a great activity for the kids and it is great to go out and support your local teams.
Grab coffee: I like Las Vetas. I can bring my laptop and get some work done, but it’s also a nice place to just sit on the couch that faces the window and watch the people walk by (I love “people watching”). They usually have a good soundtrack going in there too.
Get a Breakfast Sandwich: Pink Creek Deli – The Shredder