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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Sinclair Dad: As Long As You Work Hard, I Don’t Care

July 18, 2018
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Andy Sinclair and his wife, Julie, never pushed their kids into athletics, but they certainly aren’t disappointed that’s where they ended up.

Their daughter, Alina, played soccer growing up before focusing on track and field in high school, when she was an all-league performer and three-time captain. The Cal-Berkeley graduate has completed four marathons.

Their son Connor plays defensive end for Claremont McKenna College after being a captain and all-league offensive lineman at San Ramon Valley High School.

And their youngest son, Tristan Sinclair‍ , is a four-star linebacker in the Class of 2019 and will head to a major college when he completes his prep career at San Ramon Valley this year.

Along with athletics, the Sinclairs exposed their children to things like music and leadership programs at an early age.

Andy Sinclair, who was the anchor of Stanford’s offensive line in the late-1980s, didn’t have a preference for what his kids did provided they were passionate about whatever it was.

“I said, ‘Hey, whatever you do, as long as you work hard, I don’t care,’” he recalls. “‘You just have to work hard.’”

Despite his own background in the sport, he enjoyed watching his kids play lacrosse and baseball just as much as football.

He’s quiet enough at his boys’ games that you may not even notice him sitting at the top of the stands and those who do know he’s up there may mistake his demeanor.

“People probably go, ‘Oh, he’s probably this intense pyscho dad,’” he laughs. “It’s actually just the opposite. I watch the games, don’t say anything and him and I talk privately after the game or the next day. I’ll just feed him what I think.”

That advice is generally isolated on little things, like not standing around the pile at the end of the play.

“He has very good coaches who are teaching him the game and he’s had that through his entire football career,” he says of Tristan.

Mr. Sinclair has enjoyed seeing his kids mature through high school and college.

“It’s been an interesting process as a parent, watching your kid grow and develop,” he says. “Every kid is different. My two boys are a lot alike with their passion for football and competition. But yet, they’re completely different in how they view things.”

Tristan will have the freedom to pick the school he thinks is best and his parents won’t push him in any particular direction, not even toward Stanford, but if he were to make a decision they didn’t agree with, he’d definitely have to explain it.

“If it was clear and obviously a choice that left his mom and I scratching our heads, we’d obviously sit down with him and have a conversation,” Mr. Sinclair says.

But that’s doubtful, especially with Tristan narrowing his focus to a finite group of schools, including Notre Dame, Stanford and Cal, all of which his parents would approve of.

As much as the family has enjoyed getting to know the staffs at each of the schools, one piece of advice his father has given him is to not put too much weight on that aspect of things.

“I hate to say this because there are great coaches at all of these places, but you have to go to a university for you, for what fits you,” Mr. Sinclair says. “There are three coaches at every school, the one there, the one who left and the one who’s on his way.

“I had three offensive line coaches at Stanford. I had the same head coach, but three offensive line coaches. My point is that the coaching is great and you work with these gentlemen all of the time, but you have to go because you want to be part of that university in your life. You’re associated with it your whole life.”

 
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