Smith has vivid memories of his first outing with Marksman. He envisioned a trip to the movies or the beach. Marskman took him to his house to help wallpaper, rake leaves and pull weeds.
“Seymour is an old-fashioned guy, and at first, it wasn’t so much fun being with him, but I realized he was teaching me life lessons, about hard work, about commitment, about how to take care of a house,’’ Smith said. “I also paid attention to how he related to his wife, his children, and that is how I treat my family. My mom never remarried, so Seymour became my role model.’’
Marksman remembers the day he met Smith.
“They were a good family, all turned out to be smart kids, but I remember the first time I walked into their house, they were all sitting around watching TV after school, and I said, ‘This has got to stop,’’’ Marksman said. “Homework should be done right after school, when the mind is still fresh from school, and then TV should be a reward for finishing work.’’
Marksman also taught him how to save money by cooking at home. “If you buy a bag of frozen breaded fish fillets, some French fries and lemonade, you can have a lovely meal at home and save 30 bucks,’’ he’d tell him.
Smith now loves to cook for his wife of 14 years, Kimberly, whom he met in a car accident in Dallas. Shrimp scampi and steak are his specialties.
Smith’s other male role model was Jackson, his Pop Warner football coach. He remembers overhearing the coach telling his mother that he was special, a confidence booster he carried with him for much of his childhood.
“When I heard negative comments, about how I was too slow or too small, I thought of Coach Jackson. I am still close with Seymour and Coach Jackson. They come to all our family picnics. Their influence on me is immeasurable.’’
A few years ago, a UPS driver rang the doorbell at the Smith home. When Smith opened the door, his twins Darius and Daryn hid behind his legs. They were 3 at the time.
“I remember looking down at them clinging to my legs thinking, ‘I’m their shield, their protector,’’ Smith said. “I thought back to when I was 3. I didn’t have a dad to protect me. It hit me right then how important it was for me to always be there for them. That’s why this has become my life mission, to be a positive male role model for as many kids as possible.’’
Throughout his playing career, Smith wore a rubber bracelet in memory of his father stretched over his left ankle. It read: “R.S.’’ Now, he pays tribute to his father in a different way — by being the husband and father his never got the chance to be.