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 Day the Darkness Crept In


Edited May 15th: The Dad blogging community recently learned that one of our compatriots, Marc Block from Divided Dad, had succumbed to depression and taken his own life. Now, a number of Dad bloggers have decided to work together to share our stories and hopefully raise awareness about the effects of mental illness and to let others know that it’s okay to ask for help. My story is below and I have linked the other bloggers stories at the end. Thanks.


It’s hard to pinpoint the exact day it began. The trigger was easy to decipher. It wasn’t long after my father had passed away that I started experiencing the symptoms. Nagging pains, fatigue and a lot of tears quickly became a part of my daily regimen. I was excellent at hiding it, rarely breaking down in front of even my wife, if at all.

When my father passed suddenly after an ATV accident, I felt like my entire world had been stripped from me. Instead of dealing with the grief and pain in the way I imagine most people do, I decided to take on the role of super strong male provider guy, so I wouldn’t have time to stop and think about what had happened. The strategy worked for a while, and then things started to go horribly wrong.

I remember the first trip to the emergency room like it was yesterday. I had shot out of bed with a pain in my chest and shortness of breath and decided not to take any chances. You can imagine my surprise when the doctor’s said everything was fine. The events that followed this visit are something that I will never forget. I must have visited the emergency room about 12 more times that year, along with 10 more trips to my family doctor, 4 specialists and 3 CT scans. Every trip was more discouraging than the next as I was getting no answers and was quickly becoming the poster child for hypochondria.

My lowest point was while we were living at my in-law’s house, with our new baby, while waiting for our new house to be built. I can distinctly remember the feeling of emptiness that was sweeping its way throughout my body. I would try to put on a face for everyone but there came a point where I just didn’t care anymore. There were many sleepless nights, hours wasted just lying on the couch and more trips to the emergency room. I wasn’t exactly an absentee father but I definitely left my wife high and dry, and I certainly wasn’t feeling whatever it was I was supposed to be feeling about fatherhood. I’ve never felt so emasculated and useless in my entire life. These were the hardest days and the ones I regret most when looking back on my son’s first year.

My last trip to the emergency room provided the awakening I had been searching for. I had been thinking a lot about how much better off my family would be without me and my problems in the picture. That’s not to say I ever thought about harming myself, because I didn’t. I just knew how hard I was making things for my family and wondered if things would be better without me, if that makes any sense. The doctor in the ER was sympathetic and asked what I thought was wrong with me. This week, for no valid reason, I believed I had Multiple Sclerosis. He ran some tests and quickly dismissed my fear; and then he saved my life.

He asked if I’d ever been to a psychiatrist, to which I responded, “No way”. You see, I wasn’t crazy and only crazy people needed to see a psychiatrist; or at least that’s what I thought. The doctor insisted by explaining that he thought I had an anxiety disorder and that it could help. To my surprise, it only took a couple visits for me to start understanding why I experiencing all of these symptoms. By the time four months had gone by, I felt like a new man and was well on my way to recovery.

My last session with the psychiatrist was about 3 years ago and I have been almost symptom free ever since. Sure, there are times when I feel the anxiety building, but I am now equipped with the tools to deal with those instances. My point in sharing this story is to let you know that suffering in silence does nothing but make things worse for you and everyone around you. Reaching out for help doesn’t make you less of a person and in fact can only make you stronger, in my opinion. Don’t let the darkness take over, ask for help, you’ll be glad you did.


Krazy Dad Memoir – Do Not Go Into That Good Night

Dad of Divas – The Time Is Now To Ask For Help

Clark Kent’s Lunchbox- Dump Truck Full of Dead Babies

Dads Who Change Diapers – When the World Goes Numb

Dad’s a Lawyer – Words From the Wife

The Daddy Files – Come Back to Me

Dads Round Table – Strategies to Fight Depression

Be a Little Weird – Recognizing Depression in Men for What It Really Is

Raising Children Without A Father Of My Own

“Daddy, did Grampy die and go to heaven?”

“You bet, buddy”


“He had an accident and didn’t get better, but he was a good man and gets to go to heaven”

It was 5 years ago this August and every day is a reminder of the great loss we suffered that day. My 4 year old son never met my Dad and doesn’t really understand the concept of life and death. He doesn’t understand heaven either but then again, who does?

In a cruel twist of fate, my father passed away on the same day that we found out we were pregnant with our first born. At the time, we used that as a way to help deal with the pain of the loss by saying that he lived on in my son. I never really believed it but when you lose someone, you tend to take any positive thoughts you can get.

I’m not an overly spiritual person, so to me, the reality was that it was just his time to go. It wasn’t an easy time. I went trough a very dark transition following that day and essentially missed the first year of my son’s life. Constantly feeling like my world was caving in, spending countless days and nights in hospital emergency rooms, trying to figure out what crazy disease I was suffering from this time.

It wasn’t until one of the doctor’s referred me to a psychiatrist that I really started to see what I was doing to myself and my family. I don’t know what it was that snapped me out of it. Maybe the thought of losing my wife, or knowing that I was completely letting my son down, which didn’t seem very fair considering how great my Dad was.

Point is, I decided it was time to man up and cut the “Woe is Me” act out of my day to day. Almost overnight, I managed to shake it all off and began acting like the man my family needed me to be.

I’m certainly not perfect. I have bad days just like everyone else and I don’t have all the answers to the mystery that is raising children. I’m not even a great husband but I’m working on it.

As my kids are getting older, I’m noticing more and more the extreme void that was left by my father not being here. There are so many things that I don’t know how to do and it’s frustrating/upsetting/devastating when I realize that my Dad isn’t there to ask for help.

It’s important for me to note at this point, that I mean absolutely no disrespect to the 2 men I call Father in Law’s. They have done nothing but treat me with the utmost respect and have helped myself and my family more than most people could ever understand. They’ve accepted me as if I was one of their own and I love them for that.

There’s just something about being able to talk to your Dad. To be able to ask the questions that you don’t feel comfortable asking anyone else on this earth. My Dad was a great listener too. He never once made me feel stupid for having questions or asking for help and I miss being able to do that. One of the last things he did before he passed, was to help me build a fence in my yard. Do you think I know how to do that? No way!

I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will never have that luxury again, and it is a luxury. Instead, I do the uncomfortable begging to friends, family and neighbours whenever something arises that I don’t know how to do or can’t do by myself. And it happens a lot. I’m blessed with good people in my life, which makes it a little easier.

It doesn’t change the fact that I feel ridiculous to have to ask my neighbour to take time away from his family to help me install a screen door; or constantly bother my friends to help me with two man tasks that most guys my age do with their fathers.

And it still hurts when I see how much fun my friends parents have with their grandkids. In fact, anytime I see any kid with their Grandparents (even my own), I get the sting in my chest. My Dad would have been an amazing grand father. He dedicated his life to coaching kids and I know that he would have loved them to death and probably would have turned them into big time athletes!

In the end, I’m left to wonder what might have been as I navigate the often complicated world of raising children. But I’m still happy. I have a lot of amazing people in my life, who are always there for me whenever I need them. I still have my Mom, who is an amazing woman and who loves her grand kids! I love my kids and my wife and we have a great life together, filled with fun and laughter!

I know I’m not alone with this struggle either. Some of my close friends have been dealt the same cards as me, but we don’t really talk about it. Instead we act tough and pretend to be superheroes, I’d be Batman by the way, until the pain passes and we get back to normal lives.

I was lucky enough to be blessed with a great Dad and even though he left us way too soon, I have the memories and lessons he taught me. Which were many. I can only hope that someday my kids can look back and say the same about me.