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As the only Stampeders captain with previous experience at this sort of thing, you might think Rob Cote has been getting a lot of questions about fatherhood from his teammates in recent weeks.
But not so, it seems.
“No, they haven’t really come to me for advice,” laughs the veteran Stamps fullback. “Which is a good thing because I have none to give.”
In early March, Cote and wife Natalie had their second child. Over the next 33 days, all three of the other Stamps captains – Bo Levi Mitchell, Rene Paredes and Deron Mayo – became fathers for the first time.
Before we get more details on a very eventful spring for the Stamps’ stork, here is your starting lineup:
OK, so about that advice Cote says he didn’t have? Well, he can offer a little wisdom to the novice pops.
“The only advice I can give,” he says, “is that when somebody gives you advice, know that it’s just an opinion. No one is an expert, nobody knows what they’re doing. We’re all just trying to figure it out.”
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Those words ring true for his teammates.
“I can only compare fatherhood to going from watching film to playing the game,” says Mitchell. “You have all the tools and information in front of you. Most of the time, it helps, but a lot of the time you have to improvise and react to what is happening in the moment.”
“We’re learning as we go,” says Paredes. “No matter how much advice you get beforehand, you’re never fully prepared.”
Like when the baby wakes up crying in the middle of the night.
“I get up and we wind up just staring at each other for an hour,” laughs Mayo.
Sure, there’s some uncertainty and some sleepless nights, but another sentiment dominates all the challenges.
“It’s the best experience of my entire life,” declares Mayo.
“It’s definitely a life-changing experience,” says Paredes, “and we’re taking full advantage of the situation.”
“Becoming a stress-tested father is definitely worth it,” says Mitchell, “because overcoming the tough times make the small smiles that much more enjoyable.”
And if the Mitchells, Paredeses and Mayos decide to add to their families a little later? The lessons they’re learning now will pay off.
“I think we’re handling it better the second time around,” says Cote. “The first time, it kind of changes your life completely and the second time, it’s just a little bit more of the same.”
Big brother Miller seems to be adapting well to the arrival of a sibling.
“He’s doing really good,” says Cote. “He’s being really kind. Maybe he likes to cuddle a little bit more than a one-month-old generally likes to. That’s a good problem to have, though.”
This being the off-season and each family’s life naturally being a little hectic these days, the fathers haven’t had much of a chance to chat since the series of blessed events. But once the season gets underway . . .
“I’m sure when we’re all together in the locker room,” says Paredes with a laugh, “we’ll compare stories about how much the baby sleeps, poops and sleeps.”