We're starting something very exciting here at ABC - in the last few months we have been receiving emails from male coaches from all around the country wanting to talk about the struggles and joys of being a dad in coaching. It is a topic that is very dear to my heart because I am a dad of two amazing children - Preston who is 15 and my daughter Gabby is 12.
They live in California and you can imagine how tough it is to be an active dad when I am 3000 miles away! This isn't something that I wanted to happen or planned but like most things in life just ended up this way... and it's something that I have had to navigate for two years now.
When they moved I was lost... I didn't want to eat, sleep or really do anything. It was hard to get up in the morning, hard to do the simple things of everyday life. I tried everything, going online, and reading articles, picked up self-help books and was just pretty emotional! I felt that I was the only person in the world experiencing all this. How could anyone truly know what I was going thru? Everything around me reminded me of my kids from different foods to conversations with random strangers. I had to find ways to take steps in a direction.
In one of my many sleepless nights I was on some social media app.. probably twitter and was scrolling reading posts, waiting for the sun to come up. I wanted to get out of myself and find ways to attack these feelings and thoughts to start a process of moving forward and getting better. I started looking up coaches who have kids specifically ones who don't live with their fathers. I started to apply what I was reading from all of my self-help books and one of the consistent themes was authenticity and vulnerability... and how vital it is to practice those in your daily life. As my search continued I found out that I wasn't alone and that there are many dads like me who are in similar situations. I reached out to several coaches, some got back to me while others did not. Which I can understand why they didn't answer because it's not every day you get a unsolicited email or phone call from a random coach/strangerwanting to talk about some of our most delicate moments in our lives.
The coaches who did get back to me were always a little leery at first but as the conversation continued more stories were shared and I could hear the same emotion in their voices as I was feeling and would hear in my own voice.
But exchanging stories wasn't enough for me - I wanted to come up with ideas that would not only help us deal, but ideas that would help improve us as dads in any situation. The only way that could occur was if I broke down and became the authentic and vulnerable coach and dad I truly wanted to be. I wrote letters to 4 friends of mine who were all fathers, asking if they would be open and vulnerable all in the name of being better! I wasn't talking about having mentors, I was asking them to be open to the journey of being dads and doing it better than it had ever been done before. That would take time and communication at a level where many men have a hard time going. Luckily they all agreed and #alwaysdad was born.
Another strong supporter in my journey was my head coach, Joanne P. McCallie. I have been with Coach P for three years but had known her family since I was with the Maine Red Claws in the NBA Development League. She helped me put things in perspective and encouraged me to trust the process of day by day and focusing on the most important things in life - which were my kids and how to be supportive and be there even if I was miles away. She took time everyday to make sure I was ok and working on what I could control – lessons we all try to follow but the reality is that they aren’t that easy to apply.
Regardless of our situation we all have a story to tell about our journey of being a dad especially in this crazy world of coaching. Share your story with us so we can learn, celebrate and truly become dads better than it's ever been done before.