Steven Wright: The world has cheered on your family as they’ve watched it grow and tackle life’s many challenges. How do you think your fans relate to the Roloff family?
Zach Roloff: We have a lot of fans that have gone through serious challenges, too. I think watching our show gives them inspiration by reassuring them that others have to tackle these challenges throughout life.
They see us on TV and they realize that their families are going through the same or similar struggles that we are. And not just situations related to dwarfism. When they watch Little People, Big World, they’re seeing everything from family dinners to family disagreements. They see real, relatable family situations when they watch the show.
SW: What is your happiest memory from growing up on Roloff Farms?
ZR: Definitely playing soccer outside!
SW: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve experienced while growing up in the spotlight?
ZR: Probably just learning how to let things go. There are a lot of people out there, especially on the Internet, who will say a lot of negative things about you and form negative opinions of you. I’ve learned you just have to let things roll off your shoulders. Being in the public eye can be difficult, especially when I was younger. When we were younger, my siblings and I didn’t really have a choice when it came to being in the public eye. We were just kind of doing what our parents were doing.
SW: Everyone knows about your passion for soccer. How has the game helped shape you into the man you are today?
ZR: The game has shaped who I am in tons of ways. Everything comes back to soccer. It taught me a lot about teamwork and sacrifice. Like the way that soccer forwards score all the goals while the defenders operate as a kind of engine. A lot of my life philosophies can be traced back to soccer. When things aren’t working out in life, I say it’s because we’re not operating like a successful soccer team in the moment.
SW: Last March, you kicked off your first annual soccer fundraiser to build awareness for dwarf athletics. What was that experience like?
ZR: It was a great experience. It gave me the opportunity to “get my feet wet” with event management. I gained experience with hosting a large fundraiser and putting my name out there for a cause.
Lock Laces® helped so much with the event. They were our chief sponsor and their contributions really brought the fundraiser to a whole new level. Because of Lock Laces®, we actually had a title sponsor! That made it feel like an actual soccer team.
SW: How did the players on your team use Lock Laces®?
ZR: Most players actually wore Lock Laces® on their shoes for the game. They thought they were so great. It feels amazing not having to worry about retying your shoes throughout the game. Lock Laces® make it nice and easy to get your shoe off, but yet your shoe stays tight and doesn’t loosen throughout the game.
SW: Do you have plans for a second annual soccer fundraiser?
ZR: Yes, I do! It may not be in March, though. This year, we’re thinking it’s going to be a little later in the year. The news of Tori and me being pregnant has made me a little preoccupied. Since I’m going to be a dad soon, I’ve been really focused on thinking about the future.
SW: Do you still play on an adult soccer league team?
ZR: I do a lot of youth soccer coaching, really. I’m on a Saturday co-ed team, but I don’t play outdoor soccer anymore. The fitness level and stamina that it takes to play soccer goes quickly once you stop playing competitively.
SW: During youth soccer practice and games, are your kids tying and retying their shoes a lot?
ZR: Yes, they are. I’ve actually pitched Lock Laces® to some of the kids for that reason. Imagine this: You’re coaching youth soccer. You’re super into the game, it’s the 90th minute, the score is tied 2-2 and none of the referee’s calls are going your way. And then one of your kids comes up to you and says, “Coach, can you tie my shoe?” That kind of brings everything back to reality. Kids are always tying and retying their shoes. Luckily, I’ve got a lot of them laced up with Lock Laces® so they don’t have to worry about that anymore.
SW: What is the most rewarding experience you’ve had while coaching competitive youth soccer teams?
ZR: My most rewarding experience has been seeing all the kids that come back every year at tryouts. I love seeing the kids come back that I had the previous year, and it feels great that they want to come back and be a part of the same team and have me as a coach again. It means that they enjoyed their experience enough to want to stay.
SW: Tell me a little bit about that moment back in 2013 when you were a part of the U.S. team that defeated Great Britain in the World Dwarf Games soccer finals.
ZR: It felt amazing when we won back in 2013. It was kind of a comeback game. We had lost to England in the finals in 2009, and the reason we lost was because I missed my penalty kick. The game had gone to a penalty shootout, and missing that kick basically meant losing the game. So it was a little bit of a comeback match for me. It was one of the most emotional games I’ve ever been a part of. I was really pumped up for it and the team was really pumped up, too.
SW: Congratulations on Tori’s pregnancy! How did she tell you that you were going to have a baby?
ZR: She actually took a video of my reaction! I was coming home from visiting some friends in central Oregon one weekend, and she had the pregnancy test out on the counter with a piece of paper that said “You’re going to be a Dad!” It was great!
SW: What was that moment like when you found out you were having a baby boy?
ZR: At first, I was pretty convinced it was going to be a girl. Tori listens to the old ‘Wives’ Tales,’ and all of them were pointing towards us having a girl (except for two random things like the Chinese calendar and which side of the bed she sleeps on). But everything else pointed towards a girl, like the baby’s heart rate and how high Tori’s tummy sat. So I was surprised when I heard it was a boy.
But it’ll be great to have a little boy running around on the farm doing everything I did as a kid. We’re very excited for her delivery date in May 2017.
SW: How do you feel about becoming a father in the near future?
ZR: Well, I can’t say for certain because obviously I’m not there quite yet. I feel like it’s going to be one of those things that just hits me. I’m just looking at the long-term more than I was before. There has to be a long-term plan in place for what we’re going to do to have everything we need when Tori’s not working anymore. I’m thinking a lot about the best way to provide for the family.
I’m going to be shaping a little human, so it’s important to me to make sure I’m the best dad possible. I want to make sure I stay really engaged in my little boy’s life for the next 18 years.
SW: What are some of the things you are doing to prepare for parenthood?
ZR: Tori and I are actually super behind on all of that. We just got new lights in our house but other than that, we haven’t done much. The baby’s room needs a little paint job, and we still have to get some essential items like a crib, highchair, car seat and all that stuff. Time is flying — her delivery is only 3 months away! But we’ll get there.
SW: Do you think your dog, Sully, will like the new baby?
ZR: We’re not sure about Sully. Sully might like the baby, but he’s not going to like sharing the attention he usually gets from Tori and me. Even when Tori comes home from school and I give her a hug, Sully will put his nose between us — he’s definitely not a sharer. I’m sure he’ll be very sweet with the kid, but he’s going to have a little bit of a wake-up call when the baby is born.
SW: Has Tori tried Lock Laces® since she has been pregnant?
ZR: She has not but, now that you mention it, that is an amazing idea because she can’t really tie her shoes right now. She does have some slip-ons that don’t have any laces. But using Lock Laces® is a brilliant idea because she’ll be able to wear her usual shoes and only have to pull to tighten them.
SW: How have Lock Laces® changed your life?
ZR: Lock Laces® have definitely helped me so much. They gave me so much confidence at my soccer fundraiser. I had never hosted such a large event before, and Lock Laces® was a huge part of that sense of accomplishment I felt afterwards. It’s one thing to get a bunch of people together, but I felt like I actually did make a difference in people’s lives.
And wearing Lock Laces® helps me save valuable time no matter what I’m doing.
SW: What is different about your experiences wearing Lock Laces® compared to traditional tying laces?
ZR: I love not having to worry about tying my shoe. With traditional laces, you have to tie and retie constantly to adjust the fit and look. But once I tighten the lock on Lock Laces®, I never even have to think about my shoes again. Especially when playing soccer, you want shoes and shoelaces that keep your foot locked in place so your foot doesn’t slide back and forth from the heel to the toe of your shoe. And Lock Laces® does just that.
SW: How do people react when you tell them about Lock Laces® and their functionality?
ZR: Everyone is really surprised that they look like laces while having the functionality of something like Velcro. Every parent I talk to loves them for their kids. Parents and teachers love Lock Laces® because they no longer have to stop and tie their kids’ shoes all the time.
SW: If you had to choose one word to describe Lock Laces®, what would it be?
ZR: Durable! I still have the same Lock Laces® from March 2016. I play soccer in them once a week, coach in them 3 times a week — and they’re still on and working perfectly!
SW: How have you embodied the phrase “Win. Never Tie®” throughout life?
ZR: I love that phrase! For me, tying in a game (like soccer) is safe, secure and comfortable. Being comfortable with tying really takes the competitive edge out of a match or game.
You don’t want to tie; you want to win the game or lose trying. If you’re tying all the time, that means you’re not putting your best foot forward (in more ways than one).
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