At Home With Adrianna and Matt Birk
FINE: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where were you born, family, school, hobbies, how did you meet Matt, etc?
Adrianna: I was born in Saint Paul, MN. I have one full sister and two half sisters. I went to a Catholic school my whole life. I enjoy kids, obviously, the beach and anything that involves family. Matt and I met at a diner in MN where I was a server in college and he was an eater!
FINE: You have 6 sweet kids – you are supermom! How do you do it all?
Adrianna: I am not supermom, but coffee, makeup, family, babysitters, a great husband (Dad) and good makeup are great ways to fake it.
FINE: What inspires you as a wife/mom/woman?
Adrianna: Single parents inspire me. My mom raised my sister and I pretty much alone and always worked really hard to send us to a private school and keep us in as many activities as she could taxi us to.
FINE: What advice or encouragement do you have for women/moms?
Adrianna: I think it’s very important to take time for yourself. I think if you don’t have faith and a moment for yourself you cannot be fully there for anyone. I also try to make a point to do a date night once a week whether it’s going to Target or dinner. That is a priority of ours.
FINE: You are a busy lady! How do you take care of you or take time for yourself?
Adrianna: When my kids are in school I love to work out. Well, I don’t love it but it energizes me. I try anything from boxing to paddle boarding, to Zumba. I think the key is changing it up.
FINE: What brought you to Naples?
Adrianna: My husband and I vacationed here about five years ago and fell in love with this town. At that time we bought a place and vacationed here any chance we had. When Matt retired we talked and decided we wanted 12 months of sun instead of 3 in Minnesota!
FINE: With 6 kids, have you found Naples to be “kid friendly?” What are your favorite places to play, relax, shop and eat with kids?
Adrianna: Yes, I think Naples has tons for families. People said it wasn’t always this way but we love the Galisano Children’s Museum
and the Naples Zoo. I think the beach is our favorite family spot and a trip to Aldo’s Italian Restaurant on Davis for pizza and pasta!
FINE: What are your favorite beauty/hair products? Adrianna: Well, this could be long but my favorite hair product is After Party by BED Head. A little goes a long way but it totally helps to smooth hair in the Florida humidity. My favorite lip color is Red Revival by Maybelline – it is a great deal and it is the perfect red! Also, I am not a fan of real tanning but love a good spray tan!
FINE: Naples has a lot of wonderful restaurants and shops – what are your favorites?
Adrianna: I moved from MN where I was 10 minutes from Mall of America, so this is a hard question. I love Waterside Shops but don’t get there very often. I also mentioned I love a deal and I am a fan of Target and Nordstrom Rack – we call it Nordy’s in MN. One of my favorite boutiques is GIGI’s in Mercato – adorable for kids! A few of my favorite restaurants are The Local, Food & Thought, Aldo’s and of course Starbucks!
FINE: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where were you born, family, school, hobbies, how did you meet Adrianna, etc?
Matt: Born in St. Paul, MN and have 2 younger brothers. The toilet seat was always up in our house – my poor mom! I have always loved sports. I grew up in a neighborhood with what seemed like a thousand kids. We were always outside playing something – football, baseball, kick the can, Cowboys and Indians. It was an awesome childhood. It was a neighborhood where you could disappear for hours, and then your mom or dad would open the door and yell for you to come home for dinner. We caused all sorts of mischief, but everyone looked out for one another. I met Adrianna when she was in college waiting tables at a greasy spoon type diner, and I was single and NEVER cooking for myself. The restaurant was one of the spots I would hit 2 or 3 times/week. They served the beverages in huge glasses. I would order an iced tea and then drink it down so she would have to come back and fill it up again and again. Every time I left the restaurant I was well hydrated!
FINE: How did you first get into football? Did you play any other
Matt: I played in 5th grade but then I quit. I didn’t care much for the ‘tough guy’ mentality. In tenth grade I transferred high schools. I was lifting weights and I thought I’d give football another try. Practice began in August before school started, so I thought it would be great way to make some friends at my new school. It just kinda took off from there.
FINE: Which teams have you played for?
Matt: I played for the Minnesota Vikings for 11 years (1998-2008) and the Baltimore Ravens for 4 years (2009-2012).
FINE: What was your position and role on your team?
Matt: I played Center on the Offensive Line. Other than snapping the ball to the quarterback, the Center is responsible for making “line calls” – basically, directing the offensive line, running backs, and tight ends to make sure everyone knows who they are responsible for on any given play. It’s not real glamorous, but, then again, neither am I.
FINE: What was a typical day like being part of an NFL team?
Matt: There was never a day that was just “a day.” It never got old. Each day I pulled into work I was like, “Wow! I can’t believe I work here!” But it’s hard work! And there are high expectations and it’s highly competitive. But that’s what you want in a career, so I was truly blessed. Plus, I had to eat A LOT to keep my weight up, so that was a nice auxiliary benefit.
FINE: Do you have any advice/encouragement to other men/fathers?
Matt: When you are home, be there. We all have a lot going on during the day. The world, our culture, our jobs – there is a lot of pressure on us. But that’s ok. Our families don’t care. To kids, dads are superheroes, and a superhero never lets his fans down. Things will rarely be ‘just right’ at work, and that’s fine. Our kids don’t care. They just want our attention, and that’s something we can all provide. Looking out 5 years from now, issues at work, or some lost game, won’t matter. But our relationship with our wife and children will always be important. We will make many mistakes as husbands and fathers, but our only job is to make sure we put forth the effort- in the end, that’s what will matter.
FINE: Since you are in the public eye, what do you hope the public sees/takes from your career, life and marriage?
Matt: I hope they see that I’m just like everyone else – I’m trying to be a good husband and father. The fact that I used to play football doesn’t mean anything. It’s just what God gave me the talent to do.
FINE: What would you say were your most memorable, greatest or favorite moments of your career?
Matt: Certainly winning the Super Bowl was special! What made it really special was that I got to share that moment with my wife, kids, parents, brothers, and friends. Those people sacrificed a lot during my career, and they supported me when things didn’t go well. To be able to provide a memory like that was a great honor.
FINE: You are also an Author! What inspired you to write your new book? Can you please describe what it is about?
Matt: I didn’t think I’d last very long in the NFL, so I tried to soak it all in while I was there. I tried to write down in my notebook little life lessons that would happen on the field, in the meeting rooms, or in the locker room. Well, 15 years later, I had a lot of material! I noticed the things that happened in football happened in life. Football is so intense that you can’t help but take note when a learning experience presents itself. I called it ‘Notebook Wisdom,” and then someone called it “All-Pro Wisdom,” and it stuck. My coauthor, who happens to be my neighbor, friend, mentor, and a successful businessman, and I came up with this framework we call “The 7 Choices.” We interviewed some perennial All-Pro Players in the NFL to give these choices some more visibility, and we ended up writing a book. It’s become such a passion of mine, and something I believe in with all my heart. I am very fortunate to be able to travel all over the country talking to any and every type of group, from Fortune 500 companies, to high school kids, about “The 7 Choices”.
FINE: What do you enjoy about Naples? Favorite restaurants, activities…at your favorite restaurants what do you like to order?
Matt: I love the lifestyle! Shorts, T-shirts, the beach, paddleboarding, fishing, golfing – all things under the sun! Most people in Naples chose to live here, which makes it fun. You meet people from all over the country, so everyone has a story. It makes for interesting conversations.
FINE: Any favorite charities?
Adrianna/Matt: HIKE Foundation, Greater Naples YMCA, Taste of the NFL, Pro-Life Movement FINE: What about Date Night Fun?
Adrianna/Matt: Dinner and then drive around until the sitter tells us the kids are asleep, then go home! Seriously!
FINE: Favorite Vacation Spots?
Adrianna/Matt: Minnesota – only in the summer!! “Certainly winning the Super Bowl was Special!”
more information on Matt’s book: www.allprowisdom.com