I’m a bad dad. And a lousy coach.

photo credit: v_mats D16B2649-1 via photopin (license)

I believe the universe corrects itself.

Track races. Pennant races. Racial races. Yin and yang, alpha and omega. My noble ventures as dad and coach – tempered by those thoughts/actions/decisions that make me forever mortal.

The 11-year-old burping in the middle of Taco Bell.

The dad, only marginally embarrassed. More proud of the effort … wanting to coach her, even. “From the diaphragm, Marie. Project! Belch for that person in the last row, dear. GIVE IT LIFE!” All those endearing comments on my columns about my wonderful fathering?

Each made me smile.

Each made me cringe. The warm sentiments aren’t warranted. I’m not the coach and the dad that you think I am. Not entirely, at least. Yes, I love the kids I coach. The daddy-daughter dates? Legit. If I had ink, it’d be a “Girl Power” tat on my left bicep.

But I do things wrong. Here’s the top 10 list on such:

10. My personal grooming is a bit of an enigma.

Yes, I shower regularly. Twice a day. Brush and floss. My hair gets shaggy, though. If Jesus wanted me to have a haircut, he’d send coupons in the mail. Plus, I’ll suddenly grow out a goatee or sideburns that seem to drop me from a solid 5 to something below.

Without realizing it.

9. I’m somewhat of a slob.

There’s an upside to having clutter and volume of random textiles and food staples in your vehicle. “Dad, we could live in here for days if we got stranded,” Marie declared, rummaging around the backseat to find warm clothing and box of animal crackers.

I’m a minimalist with a hoarding problem.

8. My nighttime/sleep habits are sometimes detrimental.

Dr. Kari Langley insists that I’m a grinder and has outfitted me with a hard mouth guard. On mornings that I can’t find it, I wonder if it’s gone down the hatch.

I also snore. I sleep above the covers like a feral animal.

Oh, and I think I have the only documented case of nighttime Tourette’s. The kids are learning the blue language from either me or from Netflix. We don’t even have Cinemax.

7. I can’t seem to put things where they belong.


Find my car keys? Wallet? Coaching badge? Your guess is as good as mine as to where they are. Probably not in my pocket. My wallet right now could even be a state away. I like living on the edge, apparently.

Of sanity. I will say, in an unrelated note, that I can cook well and hardly ever pee on the toilet seat.

6. I say things that I probably shouldn’t.

“It’s a fine line between funny and mean,” I tell my girls. Well, it’s true. When we’re waiting in the car, we’ll give dialog to people coming in and out of the store. It’s funny, but it’s usually not complimentary.

I model that. Plus, I call the other teams “turkeys.” I know, could be worse, but it does get their gobblers in a clamor.

5. I never correct goofy behavior in public.


Some kids in Food Lion walk next to the cart in the grocery store, upright, feet in shoes, fingers out of noses. My 14-year-old wants to be in the cart, and my 7-year-old believes she could run faster down the cereal aisle barefoot.

I have a hard time saying, “No.” That could be another number in itself.

4. I rarely correct goofy behavior on the soccer field.

My teams lead the league in goofy and giggly.

I get stuck with the goofiest group every single time. A soccer team takes on the persona of its coach. I think Plato said that. No wonder the kids with shirts that match mine Roman-Greco wrestle and fireballs at each other pre-game, rather than march like soldiers.

We get it done most times, though.

3. Every food package is a serving size – except carrots.


Those 100-calorie packs are for communists. It takes three or four of those to really put a dent in a dude’s hunger. How fascist. and what a waste. And not at all green, all those wrappers. Once the package is open, I don’t want things to go stale or anything, you know?

Or invite ants. Leftover food does that.

2. I make up songs about the girls … and have a penchant for the annoying.

It’s probably less cute to belt out “Sweet Marie Baby!” to which she replies “Don’t Mean Maybe!” when she’s 16 as opposed to 6. I’ll really try to keep from doing it at her graduation.

I seem to despise peaceful silence and choose to fill the air with a plethora of customized noises, just for my girls.

1. Bedtime is high time for tickling / playing UNO / telling tales of my childhood.

I’m so easy to distract at bedtime. My girls in jammies = neon sign that screams TICKLE ME. They’re all clean and snuggly. If we play a grueling match of UNO, it’s only fair to give the losers a chance to win one, too.

And they’re always asking for stories, but never during the day, only at bedtime … hmm.

Next time, I’ll tell them about the time my kid burped in Taco Bell.…



  1. Shalene says:

    Sounds to me like a typical but great dad. Cut yourself some slack. P.S. You are not a 5.

    1. Ah, typical, really? I used to like being the strange kid in class, because at least then I wasn’t typical. P.S. You know how they use a different shoe scale in other countries? Like, in Belgium or Pakistan, your American shoe size of 9 might be, like, 57 or 343.5? I think in Belgium I’m like a 67. That sounds better.

  2. AnnMarie says:

    This post cracks me up. I’m right there with you on #7 and #3. I’ve only seen you in pictures but Shalene is right…not a 5. This post is inspiring me to write one about why I am a bad mom. 🙂

    1. Funny thing about Nos. 7 and 3 – I never seem to misplace my snacks. That tells you all you need to know about me.

      I think the consensus is I’m a 4.5, 5.5 with a haircut and shave, and with a kind disposition, 6.5. I’ll take that.

      You really should write the one about what makes you a bad mom. You’ve gone on record. You must. Don’t violate blogger code, right?

      1. AnnMarie says:

        Doesn’t my “I Need to be Better” post count?

      2. No – you need to make more fun of yourself for it to count.

      3. AnnMarie says:

        Aw…fine…I’ll have to come up with one. Or at least narrow it down. 🙂

      4. Narrowing down was the hard part for me. The list was longer than Tiger Woods’ girlfriends roll call. I just had to pick the funniest and run with it.

  3. This is awesome! Wish that I would run into you in a Food Lion… This way O would have some play mates to keep her occupied while I shop. Haha!

    1. Thanks Erica – maybe I could provide such a service: I’ll muck around with your kids while mom shops in peace. Semi-supervised running down the aisle, games of tag, frozen-food-bad toss.

      $20 a shopping trip – that sounds reasonable, right?

  4. Everything in this post just goes to disprove your title theory. Sounds like you are an incredible coach and even better father.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      See? I failed again.

  5. Angela M says:

    Nice to read some old “Eli”! Great Dad you definitely ARE!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Yeah, there’s some old-school words still floating around, Angela. Thank you, and I’m glad you enjoyed it!

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