Casey Jennings Launches new podcast

Casey Jennings Launches New Podcast: Starting Point

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Nobody, Casey Jennings recalled, laughing on a Monday afternoon, nobody fights for grape nuts in the morning. He did, though.

“There was no pancakes and eggs or fruit loops,” Jennings said. So he’d scrap with his four older brothers for the grape nuts, and “when you have four older brothers, you get tough real fast,” he said, laughing again, “or you get your ass kicked. I had to learn that crying didn’t work. They weren’t mean brothers, but then again, I don’t know if there’s such a thing as an older brother that wasn’t a bit mean. My brothers taught me so much in my life and I have nothing but gratitude for all of it.”

It was a hard-scrabble upbringing at times, yes. His parents separated when he was 4. Mom was a cocktail waitress at a casino. Dad worked as a pit boss and a dealer. School years were spent with mom. Summers with dad.  

Not that they disliked it. They were providing for their kids. That pays more than the bills.  

Toughens you up a bit, that type of childhood. That’s what he thought, at least. When he’d see a wealthier kid at school, with the idyllic, American dream household, he’d think he had an edge.

“I thought because of my upbringing I was going to [mess] people up, because I thought I was going to be hungrier,” he said. “I might not have been smarter or had access or resources like other people but I was coming and I was going to get it done because of my hunger and my fight and I was going to do more.”

And then, as it often goes, Jennings met a girl. A 6-foot-3 Californian named Kerri Walsh. Blonde hair. Blue eyes. Great family. Cars when they were 16. Nobody fighting over grape nuts.

And Jennings had no edge on Walsh. The chip that resided on his shoulder, he realized, might not have been such an advantage after all.

“Lordy may, they taught me indirectly that ‘Wow’ they came from a different place than me,” Jennings said. “They grew up in California. They had all those resources I used to think made people soft. What I really have come to find out is that it’s not true. It’s more so the other way, that the consistency and knowledge that family dynamic can bring you is so important. Kerri has the biggest teeth of any other dragon I’ve met in the world, and that’s a good thing. The list is so long for these people that will run through brick walls and when they get through it they have this longevity of groundedness that keeps them persistent for years and years and years.”

And that is, in essence, what Jennings is looking to show and explore on his new podcast, to be launched on Father’s Day, Starting Point. He’s fascinated by family dynamics, the role they play in an individual’s life, and, in particular, the role of a father, which he is to three beaming, healthy children of his own.

“I want to dig back into adolescence,” he said. “I just want to dig into it a little bit with people and I want to be able to educate myself. I just kind of want to bring everybody together to show that regardless of your situation, how to navigate and how you can become the best person you can become by hearing other stories and relating to them and saying ‘I can do the same thing that guy did because my life was similar to him or her.’”

Now he has the platform to do just that, and a guest list that includes everyone and anyone, for everyone, he says, has a story to tell. Everyone can bring value to this world by simply sharing a piece of their world.

Maybe it will NBA basketball players, whom Jennings wants to have on though the interview won’t revolve around skills on a court, “but fatherhood and what it means to him and where his dad was,” Jennings said. Maybe it’ll be with Chris Crabb, father of beach volleyball’s best American rivalry between his sons, Taylor and Trevor.

Maybe it will be with the guy Jennings sees dropping his kids off at school, the one with all the keys dangling, who could be a janitor or a laborer. Jennings isn’t totally sure, and that’s the whole point.

He’ll bring on anyone and everyone, regardless of accolade or accomplishment.

“I want to ask him,” he said. “I just see the way he is with his children and I really want to ask him and introduce myself and see what he’s all about and he’s with his kids all the time, not helicoptering them, but he’s dropping them off and I’ll see him around town.”

Jennings said this from the mountains. He loves the mountains. It’s where he went as a kid and it’s where he takes his kids now for weekend getaways. As they grow older and he progresses later into fatherhood, the concept of family dynamic becomes more and more intriguing. The podcast will be as much a resource for him moving forward as it will be for listeners of all shapes and sizes and backgrounds and demographics – beach volleyball player or janitor, NBA basketball player or writer, fighting over grape nuts or having three easy meals a day.

“I want my children to have the best opportunity in life to be as grounded as they can be,” he said, “so that this life is as meaningful and they are as successful as they can be and not in a financial way, but just by being grounded and being the best person they can be and being able to handle the storms that will come their way.”

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