Just Call Me Coach

“Coach Chris”. That’s what the kids are calling me these days and I have to say that it feels pretty good. I guess you could say that I was destined to take on this role. You see, I was raised by one of the greatest coaches to ever step on a field. That man was my father and also my hero.

Truth is, I didn’t even sign up to be my son’s coach for his first year of T-Ball. It was only after we received an email from the league telling us they were short that I decided to throw my name in. I don’t have an official reason for why I didn’t sign up in the first place. I rationalized it by telling myself and my wife that it was because I was way too busy to take on coaching two nights a week, but I knew what the real reason was.

It’s been almost 6 years since I lost my father and while a lot of things have become easier, this is the one that I have been dreading most. He had coached me in multiple sports for as long as I can remember. We traveled a lot. We won championships together. He helped me develop my skills, not only as an athlete, but also as a man. Sports were the major reason for our great relationship. It was our bond.

It’s not that I didn’t want to coach and share that bond with my son, I just wasn’t sure I was ready for the emotional overload that was going to come with it. As it turns out, I couldn’t be happier with my decision. As I grew older, I often wondered what had compelled my father to put so much effort into something that seemed to come with nothing but high costs, upset parents and the stresses of dealing with a team full of kids. I found the answer.

It has only been half a season so far and I already love every one of the kids on my team. They all have different skills and quirks and smiles that make each one of them unique and amazing. The innocent joy on their faces when they catch the ball or win the game of freeze tag, is something that changes you. It changes your whole outlook on what is important and I like to think that this was a secret that my Dad would have shared with me had he still been round to see this.

As for my son, I try not to be too hard on him. I know exactly what it feels like to be the coach’s son and it’s something that he is going to have to get used to because I’m not going anywhere.

The 5th Annual Gil Read Memorial Fastball Tournament in #Ottawa

I’m very happy and even more excited to announce that The 5th Annual Gil Read Memorial Fastpitch Tournament is all geared up and ready to go! The tournament will take place at the Carp Fairgrounds in the Village of Carp, Ontario, home of the Carp I4C Victory Fast Ball Club.

The tournament will run from July 27th to July 29th and features some of the best fastball in Eastern Ontario and Quebec. The games will begin Friday the 27th at 7pm. A day pass is $5 and a weekend pass is $10 with kids under 12 free.

For those of you who don’t know, and there’s probably a lot of you, The Gil Read Memorial Foundation is a charity that my family set up shortly after my father passed away. Our goal is to help less fortunate children compete in sports and we’re proud of the work we do in his honour!

I could go on forever about my Dad, as you all know, but I want to focus on the tournament this time around so I’ll leave you with a link to the About Gil page on our website, as well a Guest Post I did about him for the Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Ottawa website.

A little bit about the venue. Carp, located approximately 20 minutes west of Ottawa, has been a fast pitch community for many years. In the early 1990’s, The Carp Valley Pride made their home at the Carp Fairgrounds and boasted one of the top lineups in all of Canada. It was an easy choice for us and we know you’ll love it there.

We have 10 teams entered in this years competition, ranging from local to long distance: Carp I4C Victory, Kars Aces, Fitzroy Harbour West Carleton Electric, Ottawa Taylor Blitz, Stittsville 56ers, Toronto Gators, Donnaconna Blue Sox, Cornwall Pickups, Chisasibi Comets & the Elkland, PA Thunderbellys.

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 Molson’s. 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, 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 [email protected] or find me at our Twitter page @GilReadMemorial and I’d be happy to talk to you!

Thank You for your continued support and I hope to see you at the Ball Park for some great Fastball for a great cause!