The Time I Decided Not To Be Unhealthy Anymore

I have always been an athletic person. I played hockey and fastball at high enough levels to consider myself an athlete and assumed that I would be playing these sports well into my later years, as my father had. Life, it would seem, had different plans for me though. Six years removed from fastball and way too many years out of hockey and the only sports I excel in these days are of the fantasy variety. In my last few years as a ball player, my nickname was “Gutsy”, and that had nothing to do with courage and everything to do with a widening mid section. Oh yeah, did I mention that I make jokes to cover for the fact that I am so badly out of shape that I am actually afraid to do physical activity for fear of dying? Yeah, there’s also that.

I dusted off the scale the other day, as I sometimes do, and stared blankly at the numbers 203.2 looking up at me. This isn’t how I had pictured my 30’s, not by a long shot. Most days, I am so exhausted by simple, every day tasks that I barely have the energy to get off the couch. What little energy I do have goes directly to my children, which is great, but that means things like my marriage, work and website have all suffered.

Well, all of that is about to change. I’m tired of saying I’m going to get healthy, only to find a plethora of reasons to quit the gym and go back to my old Dairy Queen eating, pop guzzling, eating a whole box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch in one sitting (not proud of this one) ways. I have now been to the gym for 6 straight days and have started Weight Watchers point tracking in hopes of getting healthier and living longer for my family and myself. I am 100% committed to creating a better me and won’t stop until I get there.

As I write this, I am thinking of how good those sweet, sweet Dairy Queen Blizzard’s are and am in the process of chaining myself to my bed with Duct Tape over my mouth just in case the Blizzard somehow tries to dance it’s way in. It’s going to be a long journey and I’m going to bore you with every detail about it until you can’t take it anymore. I’ve joined a group of my fellow Dad bloggers as well, in an effort they are calling “Chuck The Chunk”, so it’ll be nice to feel like it is a team effort!

Now, I believe we were talking about Dairy Queen…..

Life Is Short; Do All Of The Scary Things!

The photo above is a shot of me reading an emotional post about the death of my father for about 150 people at the Dad 2.0 Summit in Houston last year. It took all of my strength not to cry while doing it and I’m proud that I not only got through it, but that I even got up there and did it in the first place. Doing the things that scare me has kind of become the motto of my life these days and the rewards for doing that have been endless.

Throughout my school years, and I’m talking ALL of them, I was the shy kid who didn’t do anything that would draw attention to himself. I would purposefully take a failing grade on assignments where we had to present in front of the class, because my anxiety was so high that I would get sick just thinking about standing up there in front of everybody. In my Grade 11 music recital, I pretended to play my trumpet because I was afraid that I would be the one to blow it for everybody. I played fastball and hockey, I had my small group of friends and that was it. I thought I was happy.

When my father passed away, I went through a terrible bout of anxiety that basically robbed me of a year of my life. Towards the end of that time, I took a long hard look at my life and decided that I wasn’t living it to the fullest. My unhappiness had nothing to do with my wife or newborn child, though, it was all about me and the lack of effort I was putting into this one, short opportunity we get to spend on this earth. I made a decision to stop feeling sorry for myself and to make the most of the time I had left on this earth.

I’m no doctor but I can tell you that since the day I made that decision, my anxiety has ‘almost’ disappeared and I have never been happier. Instead of shying away from the things that would normally scare me into submission, I am tackling everything head on and worrying about the results after I have finished. Because of this, I have had so many amazing and life changing opportunities that have helped me become a better person, husband and father to my family. Here are just a few of the cool things I have been able to do in my short time as a Fear Hunter:

* Interviewing and Skating with the cast of Disney on Ice
* Speaking at the Dad 2.0 Summit
* Interviewing and making a crazy video with Buckets Blakes of the Harlem Globetrotters
* Ziplining for the first time
* Regular appearances on the CTV Morning Live TV Show (Scariest of the scary)
* Monthly parenting segment on CJAD 800 Montreal radio
* Will act as Community Leader at the upcoming Blissdom Canada conference in October

Every single one of these things is something that scared the crap out of me and every one of them is something that I am proud I accomplished. There are many more as well and each has been as rewarding as the last. My point is, life is short, so if you want to make the most of it, you have to start going after the things that scare you. Now look, I’m not ready to go jumping out of a plane or anything…yet. I’m saying that even small victories are still victories that will lead you to something bigger. Transformation doesn’t happen overnight but it most certainly doesn’t happen if you don’t go after it.

I’ve fallen a few times while chasing down fear but I’m not going to let it beat me anymore. My father always went after his dreams and while it took me a little while to catch on, this is definitely something I want my kids to remember about me. So let’s hear it. What are the scary things that are holding you back?

Always A Humbling Experience At ‘The Gil’

Pictured above are the Lake Simcoe Lightning fastball team, who also happen to be the champions of the 6th Annual Gil Read Memorial Fastball Tournament held this past weekend. This year’s edition of the tournament was by far the best we’ve ever had and I couldn’t be happier with the direction it is trending in.

I’m always left humbled by the end of tournament weekend by all of the hard work that people put into making it a success. Not only is it a testament to the memory of my father but in a world where social media magnifies all the bad, it’s nice to see so many people who are coming together to do something good for the kids. From volunteers pulling 8 hour shifts and off duty doctors tending to injured athletes, to bartender volunteers staying until 1am and locals lending us their BBQ when ours breaks down, I am always left amazed at the amazing community of people this tournament has supporting it.

Our corporate sponsors give year after year without so much as a follow up email, with some of them even offering money before we ask for it. We are endlessly appreciative to companies like Rebel Tents, Play It Again Sports, Logs End, Cabotto’s Dining Lounge and Broker 4 Tickets, who give up their hard earned money so that we can continue to put on this event and provide funding for the kids. These companies understand what we are trying to do and it creates a family atmosphere instead of a business one, which is truly amazing. There are so many more and they will get their love in due time.

We started this thing 6 years ago with no idea what it was going to look like and now we not only have a flourishing tournament, that hit it’s 12 team goal for the first time, but we’ve also been able to raise enough money to help a lot of kids who otherwise would not have been able to compete in organized sport. I am proud of the work we are doing, humbled by the amount of help we are offered and I know my Dad would have loved every second of this tournament and initiative.

Thank you to everyone who showed up, helped out, sponsored, played, spent your hard earned money, tweeted, shared, laughed and cried (okay, that was just me) at the Gil Read Memorial Tournament this year. Without you, none of this would be possible and we wouldn’t be able to provide for these kids who just want to have the same opportunity that their friends have.

Cheers!

My Favourite Part Is When Our Kids Give Out The Trophy!

My Favourite Part Is When Our Kids Give Out The Trophy!

Share and Inspire With #GoodNewsMonday – 4th Edition

It’s that time of the week once again and fresh off a vacation, I have a lot to be thankful for. My family took off to the Hamilton area this past week to spend time with family and to take in African Lion Safari, which the kids loved. We also spent time visiting different playgrounds and relaxing on the beach. All in all, it was a perfect vacation and that’s my Good News for this Monday morning.

How about you? What Good News do you have to share with everyone on this summery Monday morning? Leave your answer in the comments below and have a great week!

Announcing The 6th Annual Gil Read Memorial Fastball Tournament

For those of you who don’t know, I am the co-founder of a non-profit organization called, The Gil Read Memorial Foundation. Our goal is to provide financial support for children who can’t afford to participate in organized sport and I am extremely proud of the work we do. Gil Read was my father and dedicated a lot of his free time to coaching and developing children into amazing people. This charity was our way of continuing his legacy and paying tribute to him.

Every year we run a huge, high level fastball tournament in the city of Carp, Ontario and we are all set to announce that the 6th Annual Gil Read Memorial Tournament is scheduled and ready to go. The tournament will take place from July 26th to July 28th at the Carp Fairgrounds. We have maxed out at our 12 team limit for the first time and this promises to be the best tournament yet! A day pass is $5 and a weekend pass is $10 with kids under 12 free.

As far as fan entertainment goes, we have a lot lined up for you! There is a Beer Tent on location, sponsored by our friends at Rebel Tents. We also have Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, lots of Water and other snacks available throughout the weekend. We have lots of prizes available as well and all the wonderful volunteers are available and willing to help out in any way possible to make this a great experience for you and your family!

Please feel free to bring your kids out to the event as well, as the diamonds feature a Splash Pad and Park on site, along with plenty of open space for the kids to run around and play. Not to mention that they are the future of our sport and we love to see them out there enjoying themselves!

We are always looking for new volunteers and we are especially in need of Corporate Sponsorship and Prizing, as this is what helps the Foundation continue in providing for our local kids.

If you’re interested in helping out with sponsorship or volunteering, please feel free to email me at chris@canadiandad.com or find me at my Twitter page @CanadianDadBlog and I’d be happy to talk to you! We hope to see you at the tournament!!!

Children Who Inspire ~ Interview With 10 Year Old Tyler

I recently had the privilege of interviewing a young Ottawa boy by the name of Tyler, regarding his recent involvement in Free The Children & RBC’s, We Create Change program. One of Canada’s largest penny drives and coinciding with the penny going out of circulation, the We Create Change campaign is challenging Canadians to donate their pennies to an important cause: water.

Tyler is one of the many amazing children across Canada who has pledged to make a difference. He convinced a group of 10 of his hockey buddies to band together to begin their first Free The Children campaign. I asked Tyler (and his Mom) a few questions about his campaign and here is what he had to say:

CD: Why did you choose to start your own Free The Children campaign?

Tyler: Since I was little, I always liked doing charity work so it was kind of natural for me to want to be a part of this. I thought it would be fun to do with my friends and in our first meeting I showed them the child labour video and they wanted to be a part of it.

CD: How much money did you guys raise and what were some of the methods you used to raise money?

Tyler: We raised $1,028. We had an Iced Tea stand, we set up, as a group, at the Independent Grocer, we collected door to door and we used email to share our message.

CD: Do you know how the money you raised translated into providing clean water?

Tyler: Our money will provide clean water for 41 people, for life.

CD: (Question for Tyler’s Mom) You guys are obviously doing something right with your kids, so can you give some advice to other parents who want to help get their children involved in wanting to give back?

Tyler’s Mom: It’s something we’ve been doing since they were little and I’ve been looking for ways to get more involved. I saw Marc Kielburger speak at the Ottawa Catholic School Board and realized it was just about seeing what there is out there. We’ve gone to the retirement home and the kids helped out with craft time. The most important thing is to find whatever gets you excited and follow that. I also got a lot of ideas and inspiration from the videos on the Free The Children website and also from Marc and Craig Kielburger’s book, “The World Needs Your Kid”.

CD: Tyler, I want to ask you the same question but as it relates to kids. What advice can you give to kids who are nervous about starting their own campaign?

Tyler: Be confident. Try to set our clear goals. Get friends who want to help and put in as much time as you can in to it.

CD: What kind of goals and dreams do you have?

Tyler: I had a dream last week that I was in Africa, showing kids their new homes and that is something that I would really love to do when I’m older, or right now, haha.

*************************************************************************************

I want to thank Tyler and his family for giving me the time to talk to them about his amazing work, and I want to commend him on being such an inspiration for not just our youth, but to all of us. It was an absolute honour to talk with him and you can look forward to more amazing stories about youth who are making a difference in the world, as I continue this feature in the weeks and months to come. Before I go, here are a few more stats about the We Create Change campaign.

To mark the end of the school year, Free The Children and RBC celebrated the incredible fundraising effort of hundreds of thousands of youth and their schools through the “We Create Change“ penny drive, by announcing the final total, which outweighs approximately 64 elephants and more than five empty Boeing 747’s. Young people across the country raised 140 million pennies ($1.4 million), providing 56,000 people with clean water for life. All pennies collected were in support of Free The Children’s year-long Water Initiative to provide a permanent source of clean water to people in developing countries.

We Create Change

Share and Inspire With #GoodNewsMonday – Canada Day Edition!

GNM Can Day

Happy Canada Day!!! I don’t know how active ‘Good News Monday’ will be today but I thought I’d put it up anyway, just in case. Please feel free to share your Good News stories below! As usual, I’ll kick it off.

Other than the fact that today is one of my favourite holidays of the year, my band has been practicing more regularly and have been focusing on writing on our music. There’s no crazy rock star dreams here, but there is a real sense of accomplishment when you finish writing and recording a song. The goal is to eventually have enough songs to put an album together and I feel like we are well on our way there.

That’s all for me. What Good News do you have today?!

Drum Kit Band

Blissdom Canada: Inspiration Is Waiting For You

Blissdom Canada

When I showed up at the Blissdom Canada conference last year, I had been blogging for about 8 months. I still had the feeling that I had been duped by my friend, Shannon (zchamu), who said that there would be plenty of men at the conference and that I NEEDED to go. She ended up being right about one of those two things…

It didn’t take a rocket scientist to notice that I was outnumbered about 20:1 in the Women:Men department, and most of the men in attendance were well established bloggers and media personalities, so it was just a tad intimidating. That said, I made a decision before walking into the room at Blissdom, that I would not accept fear as a reason to not get the most out of my experience. So, I said hi to almost everyone I wanted to say hi to, I asked questions at my round tables, I met new and amazing people, I dressed in a super hero costume, I did interpretive dance, I sang karaoke as loudly as I possibly could and I walked into a room where I was in the clear minority, and pretended like I was just like everybody else, which I kind of was. All of those things combined, helped me to leave Blissdom Canada with a completely new outlook on blogging and what I wanted to be, both as a blogger and as a person.

Seriously, they are not paying me to say any of this. Even as new and inexperienced as I was, the take aways from Blissdom Canada have set me on a path that I could have never imagined when I started this little blog. I get to cover kids shows & music festivals, work with amazing companies and bloggers, raise money for charity, help people in need, do TV and radio interviews and now I can add speaking at conferences to my list of accomplishments. All of this started at Blissdom Canada, where I learned to have the confidence in my abilities that I desperately needed to try some of the crazy things I have done.

Now I ask you, other than money, why are you not sure if Blissdom Canada is for you? Are you shy? Think you are too new? Do you get hives because Tanis “Attack Of The Redneck Mommy” Miller might be standing right next to you and you don’t want her to notice how sweaty and unreasonably excited you are to meet her? Are you intimidated by Erica Ehm and her Yummy Mummy Club superstardom? I was, but guess what? Just say hi. They are incredibly kind people and I promise you they won’t bite. Or at least they didn’t bite me… There are so many excuses not to come but I hope my story is something that you can relate to, because you’ll write me a thank you letter once you get home from it.

Let me go one step further. Here is my offer and promise to you. If at any point, you get overwhelmed, lonely, nervous, shy, sweaty or any other thing else that happens to us for some unfair, no good reason, I invite you to come and hang out with me until it subsides. I’ve been there and understand how tough it can be to be the new kid on the block. Plus, I had some great people help me out on my first trip to Blissdom and want to pay that kindness forward. So, tweet me, DM me, FB me, find me, and say hi. Don’t let nerves ruin your experience.

And, finally, Men of the blogging/social media/brand world! This is NOT just a conference for women. In fact, I can’t think of one time where I was made to feel unwelcome or where the content was completely woman centric. So get off your butts and join me at this thing. If not, I am going to return to Blissdom Canada again this year, more confident that ever, and I am going to be one of the few guys again and I will get all the guy spotlight and …. Actually, on second thought, maybe you guys should sit this one out.

Captain Caffeine! At Your Service!

Captain Caffeine! At Your Service!

Share and Inspire With #GoodNewsMonday – 2nd Edition

Monday

I ran an impromtu “Good News Friday” thread on Facebook and Twitter a couple weeks ago and it was really inspiring to see everyone sharing their good news for the week. Considering Friday is usually already a good day, I decided to move the “Good News” event to Monday, where more people could usually use a pick me up.

The concept is easy. Every Monday, pop on over here and share your good news stories in the comments. I have already been inspired by reading all your good news to date and can’t wait to see where this thing goes. Without further ado, I’ll kick things off!

I was lucky enough to spend all day Saturday at Big Music Fest in Belleville and had the very cool opportunity to see the Counting Crows perform, as well as meeting Hedley and spending quality time with my wife and some of my blogging friends. It was an amazing weekend and something I will remember forever.

Now it’s your turn! What good news do you have to share with everyone this week? Leave your story in the comments below and have a great week!

Adam Duritz Counting CrowsChris Hedley

Share and Inspire With #GoodNewsMonday – 1st Edition

Monday

There is a new feature on the blog this week and it’s one I am very excited about. I ran an impromtu “Good News Friday” thread on Facebook and Twitter last week and it was really inspiring to see everyone sharing their good news for the week. Considering Friday is usually already a good day, I decided to move the “Good News” event to Monday, where more people could usually use a pick me up.

The concept is easy. Every Monday, pop on over here and share your good news stories. I’m sure we’ll start off with a small crew but my hopes are that it will catch on and then we can use this tiny space to inspire each other to chase after all the good things we want in our lives. I know that it has already affected me a great deal and I’m excited to see where this thing goes.

Before we get to the sharing, I’ll kick things off with my good news stories for ther week. First, after living in my house for 4 years, we finally have a beautiful deck for our backyard and my house suddenly feels like a home. Also, I had the opportunity to do my first TV segment as Canadian Dad and the feedback has been overwhelming and extremely humbling, so, thank you. Finally, we spent Saturday afternoon at our community BBQ, where I got to pretend I was a superhero with my son.

Okay, now it’s your turn! Please take a moment to share your Good News stories in the comments section below and let’s get inspired together. If you feel so inclined, take to social media and use the hashtag #GoodNewsMonday to spread the good word!

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