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My guest today is Christian Lopez.

We go deep talking about:

  • The power of authenticity and self-awareness,
  • Developing vulnerable, deep relationships with other men in your life,
  • The wound that can be created when you tell a young boy “don’t cry”,
  • Christian’s journey as a professional baseball player and how he dealt with the crushing blow of his career coming to an end,
  • The trap of chasing fortune and fame,
  • Why you’re so much more than what you do, and how to shift your identity to who you are,
  • Grieving the loss of a childhood dream,
  • Gratitude and perspective,
  • Dealing with huge expectations you set for yourself, and
  • Christian’s advice to “be the father that you want to be”

Christian is a former professional athlete.

But above all that, he is a son, a brother, a husband, an uncle and a vulnerable, emotional, kind, loving man.

After his baseball career came to an end, he was lost.

He had no idea what he wanted to do–and no idea who he was–without a baseball in his hand.

He tried his hand at a few things–acting, firefighting, life coaching, public speaking–all without much success.

Now, he finds himself back in sports and on the baseball field… but this time as coach Christian.

Along his journey, he dove deep into himself and began to cultivate self-awareness and start to figure out who he is without the title of “professional athlete” or any other title.

He dove into books, TED Talks, life coaching courses, podcasts, men’s groups, meditation, journaling, yoga–anything that could get him past this feeling of failure and not being good enough.

This led him to start blogging about his deep feelings that he had hidden for so long, then he started turning those feelings into conversations for his podcast Behind The Mask-ulinity.

Now he’s on a mission to inspire other men around the world to tap into their own true feelings–like fear, shame, insecurity, doubt, loneliness–and let them know that doing so isn’t unmanly, on the contrary, it’s one of the manliest things you can do.

You can find Christian online at:

Behind The Mask-ulinity Podcast: Apple | Spotify

Instagram: @clopey

Curt Storring 0:00

Welcome to the Dad.Work podcast. My name is Curt Storring, your host and founder of Dad.Work. My guest today is Christian Lopez, I found an article that he wrote on medium. And I read it I thought about it almost every day for a week because it was such an incredible story of introspection, and resilience. And I reached out to him on Instagram and I'm just so pumped that you agreed to come on, we go deep, talking about the power of authenticity and self awareness, developing vulnerable deep relationships with other men in your life. The wounds that can be created when you tell a young boy, don't cry, Christian's journey as a professional baseball player and how he dealt with the crushing blow of his career coming to an end, the trap of chasing fortune and fame, why you're so much more than what you do, and how to shift your identity to who you are grieving the loss of a childhood dream, gratitude and perspective, dealing with huge expectations you set for yourself and Christians advice to just be the father that you want to be. Christian is a former professional athlete, but above all that he's a son, a brother, a husband and uncle and a vulnerable, emotional, kind, loving man. After his baseball career came to an end, he was lost. He had no idea what he wanted to do and no idea who he was without a baseball in his hand. He tried his hand at a few things, acting firefighting, life coaching public speaking, all without much success. Now he finds himself back in sports and on the baseball field, but this time is Coach Christian. along his journey, he dove deep into himself and began to cultivate self awareness and start to figure out who he is without the title of professional athlete or any other title. He dove into books, Ted Talks, life coaching courses, podcasts, men's groups, meditation, journaling, yoga, anything that could get them past his feeling of failure and not being good enough. This led him to start blogging about his deep feelings that he had hidden for so long, that he started turning those feelings in the conversations for his podcast behind the mask humanity. And that's MSK dash u l i n i t y. Now he's on a mission to inspire other men around the world to tap into their own true feelings like fear, shame, insecurity, doubt, loneliness, and let them know that doing so isn't unmanly? On the contrary, it's one of the manliest things you can do. You can find Christian on Instagram @clopey, you can also find the podcast behind the mask-ulinity on Apple or Spotify. This is such a fun conversation, I have to admit I have this fascination with professional athletes. I have always wanted to be a professional hockey player ever since I was a young boy. And of course that dream died out when I realized that wasn't very good. But talking to Christian and just getting this perspective from someone who really made it, and then hearing this crushing defeat as he as he talks about it, and just imagining like what it would take to go through what he went through and then come out on the side being so vulnerable, compassionate and open. There's just a ton of lessons in here for all men, fathers partners, anyone in here. So I hope you enjoy this as much as I do. Make sure to check him out on Instagram that clo PE y or check out behind the masculinity podcast again. That's ma s k dash u l i n i t y. And quick ask for you. If you are enjoying this podcast. Would you please do me a favor, it helps so much. And if you do send me a screenshot, and I will say thank you on the next podcast, please leave a review on Apple podcasts. If you go to your apple podcast app on your phone, scroll down to the bottom of the Dad.Work podcast, there's a section called ratings and reviews. All you need to do is hit five stars or however many stars you think this deserves. And then leave a quick review letting me know what you've taken from the podcast so far, I would highly, highly appreciate that means the world to me because it helps the algorithms give this show to more men. And honestly, I think this work can change the world if enough men are doing it. So all that being said, let's dive into this conversation with Christian Lopez.

Alright, Christian, thank you so much for joining me today on the Dad.Work podcast. I honestly can't remember how I found your podcast and your story. But it just like struck such a nerve that I had to reach out. I'm so grateful that you said yes. So welcome.

Christian Lopez 4:03

Yeah, of course. Thank you so much for having me. It's Kurt, one of the you know, I have the podcast as well, which I'm sure we'll talk about. But um, yeah, that's one of the amazing things about doing stuff like this man is you. You just connect with people, you never would have thought in a million years, you'd connect with it. Same thing, you know, similar things have happened to me where somebody reaches, I reach out to somebody, I get them on the episode. And then I'm like, Man, I don't I don't even I don't even know how we like maybe I heard you on a podcast, or I found you in a book, or an article that I read or something. So this is, you know, we need more men like ourselves, connecting like this and having these kinds of conversations so other men can be inspired, hopefully, to be like, Man, you know, they can have that conversation. Why can I can have that with my boys and with the men in my life. So just thank you, man. Thank you for having me. Thank you for what you do.

Curt Storring 4:48

Yeah, yeah. I love that. I love that idea. Because this whole point is to introduce men to ideas, topics, wisdom, and just having conversations. Like why can't you go there? Like here's just us have an example of that conversation. So I'm really excited to join your story man I found and read the article you wrote on medium, just like an incredible, incredible deep dive into extreme self awareness and self ownership. And I'd love to get into that. And the first thing that I want to talk about with you is just authenticity. Because I think it's in your podcast description. It says, being manly isn't about fitting in with your cultural expectations. It's about standing out with your authenticity. And that like really landed for me. And I'm just wondering, what is authenticity to you?

Christian Lopez 5:32

Good question, man. So funny that you asked that because maybe maybe a year ago or a couple years ago or something like was, I don't remember where I read it, where I heard it, anything like that. But I came across what I think to me is the best definition of authenticity. And it said something along the lines of authenticity is when your thoughts when your words and when your actions all aligned. So who you are deep down what you believe what you say, what you do, is that that's authenticity. Because you know, there's a lot of people in the world that you know, will say one thing, but then it's just like your your actions are not matching what you're saying. And then you're you know, you say you believe this or you think this but what you're saying doesn't really match up with that. So So for me, authenticity, I think is that's such a great definition. When your thoughts, your beliefs, and your words and your actions all are all similar, and they all line up.

Curt Storring 6:24

Yeah. And how has that played out in your life? And I think we'll get into this, but do you feel, I guess this word keeps coming up for me as alignment. It's like your internal life, your external life, everything's in alignment. So there's just nothing that can sort of catch you. There's never going to be a gotcha moment where it's like, oh, yeah, you sort of got me now. So how does this look in your life? And has it changed?

Christian Lopez 6:45

Yeah, well, first of all, if I want to preface that with saying that I'm human, and just because you know, I've been doing this work for the past few years doesn't mean I'm infallible. Or I'm not infallible it, you know, it doesn't mean I'm perfect. You know, there will be times where I am out of alignment. And when I'll do something, or I'll say something, or I'll believe something that goes against what I want to believe or what I do believe or what I want to say or what I want to do, and but that's it's funny, me and so I joined this men's group called every man, but a year ago. Yeah, so I think I might Yeah, Dan Dodi on. Oh, that's right. That's right. I meant I meant I forgot that it when I was looking through, I was like, oh, yeah, Dan Dodi Nice. So yeah, I think Dan Doty was part of every man for a long time. And then he kind of branched off and is doing his own thing. But I was having a chat with one of my one of my men in my men's group the other day. And we were talking about, you know, alignment and self awareness and being on the path and all this stuff. And it's great to have that self awareness because when you start to cultivate that self awareness, you start to figure out me and I have a lot of have a lot of shit I got to deal with, I have a lot of there's a lot of insecurities, there's a lot of fear, there's a lot of shame all of us, every single one of us, I don't care how manly you are, you have some kind of fear, or some kind of insecure, every every man, every man, if you're listening to this right now, your dude, you got some fear and ticket and that's fine. That's totally fine. That's totally fine. But we were talking about the other day about, you know, self awareness. And once you start to cultivate that sense of self awareness, it's almost like a double edged sword. Because, like, you were just saying, you know, being in alignment, when you fall out of alignment, if you're not self aware, you're, you're not going to know if you're out of alignment if you're in alignment. But when you start to cultivate that sense of self awareness, you start to notice you're like, Shit, I just did something right there that I shouldn't have done. I just said something right there that goes against my values and who I am. So it's you start to notice. So it can be a really good thing, because you can start to work on things, but at the same time, it can be stressful to if you let it get there, because you start to notice, like, I went against my values right there that that wasn't cool, you know, but when you when you don't cultivate that sense of self awareness, you're kind of in the dark, your entire life, and you're just doing things and you don't really, you haven't developed that, that sense. And it's just like, Okay, I'm not doing anything wrong, but then you don't realize what you believe in what you say, is not matching up with with what you're doing with the actions that you're putting out. I believe you did ask me like, how does that how does that? How does that show up in my life? Which I didn't answer, but I'll answer now is, yeah, once I started to kind of cultivate the sense of self awareness, you know, I always used to be the kind of guy that happy go lucky. super optimistic. Nothing's wrong. Um, every day is a good day. You know, if you've ever seen that Lego Movie, everything is awesome. Like, that was me. That was me. Day in and day out, you know, and it was bullshit. It was bullshit. You know, I had my bad days but I think either I just didn't want to face them or I wasn't ready to face them. I wasn't ready to handle them. But yeah, it was a lie. I wasn't in alignment because outside somebody would see me and be like, This guy's this guy's got a great life he's doing he's awesome. Like he's just because this is the kind of guy I want to be with. This is the kind of guy kind of guy I want to be around. But deep down inside, I was battling. I was battling a lot of demons. I was battling a lot of insecurity and not a lot of shame. For most of my life, I was a type of person who really, really highly, really wanted people to like him. You know, I was really, really concerned with what somebody's thinking about me, I wanted everybody to die. I mean, from when I was in elementary think elementary school things I used to do back then to when I was in high school to when I was just, you know, maybe just a few years ago. You know, I look back in retrospect, I was like, Man, I didn't do that. Because I really wanted to do that. I did that because I didn't want to piss anybody off. I wanted everybody to like me, I wanted everybody to think that I was a nice guy. So. So yeah, over the last few years, and doing the work that I've been doing, I've started to realize, looking back in hindsight, but like, Man, there was a lot of things that I was doing that was not in alignment, you know, I was just putting on a facade and just pretending to be this person that deep down, I really, really wasn't.

Curt Storring 10:50

Right? And so how have you developed that self awareness? Because like, this probably plays out in most of our lives. And yeah, you are able to sort of like, you can almost get in front of it. I found, like, just a couple feet in front of like, this whole life is inertia. And then you can be like, Whoa, like, what have I been doing? And so what kind of things did you do? Or have you done to develop some awareness?

Christian Lopez 11:11

Shoot, I mean, kind of like what I what I, you know, put in my bio that I sent you, I mean, Ted Talks, podcast, meditation, yoga, journaling, men's groups. I took a life coaching course, like all that was trying to do all these things, because I just finally realized that man, I'm, I'm, I'm lost. I'm scared. I'm, I'm scared. shitless I was scared shitless, after baseball came to an end, I was just like, I don't know who I am. I don't know what I want to do with my life. This is all I knew. This is all I ever wanted to do. And it just feels like a part of me is just gone. So who Who am I without this huge part of me. So yeah, just anything I could, you know, and it all kind of started. The catalyst of it was, I'll never forget this date for the rest of my life. August 26 2017, sat down with a really good friend of mine. And we had been roommates for a little while before my wife, who was my girlfriend at the time moved in. So we lived together for maybe like eight months, but he was the kind of guy in my life that you know, that kind of these conversations and what we're talking about here, what we're trying to cultivate those kinds of those kinds of relationships with our fellow men in our lives. That's what him and I had very vulnerable, very honest, very deep. Just just we just always, every time we had sat down, have a conversation, it would, it was easily a one two hour conversation about whatever any in anything, mostly about feelings, emotions, you know, what was really going on, instead of just, you know, sports and cars, and music and movies, and all that stuff. Like we would always, always go deep. So one day, he he hadn't talked to him for a while, because my wife and I had moved in together. And then you know, we still we're still good friends. But you know, we kind of lost that everyday touch, you know, seeing seeing each other every day. But he just randomly texted me out of the blue. And he says, Hey, man, something, you know, we haven't talked in a while, and something just told me to hit you up, like, see how you were doing. And it was perfect timing, because my wife had just gone out of town for work for a few days. So I was like, Hey, man, I got the weekend free, let's get together, let's have some lunch, whatever. So we got together had some lunch for like three hours just talked, talked and I cried a few times. And you know, he told me some really good things and that I needed to hear at the time. And ever since that day, I was just like, Man, I'm I'm just tired of feeling sorry for myself, I'm tired of waiting around, like for somebody to just hand me an opportunity or just rescue me out of this pit that I feel that I'm in, I'm tired of waiting around, I got it, I got to put in the work, you know, I got to put in the work. So that very next day, I just, you know, started meditating, journaling, getting more into yoga, reading books, you know, just devouring any, you know, self help, or self improvement or self or in his book, or whatever it was, you know, Ted Talks, all that stuff. And, and that's, that's how I first started getting into it. And then just doing all those exercises and really, really getting quiet. And really, honestly, really just getting courageous because these are things that I had, I think I had suppressed for such a long time that I forgot that they were even there. But as I slowly started to go into that stuff, I was like, memory started to come up of when I was good, like, Man, that was a that was a pretty traumatic memory right there. Like it wasn't anything. You know, like, you know, sometimes we hear about, you know, abuse and emotional and sexual abuse, nothing like that, you know, nothing but, you know, there were still things that happened in my life that really scarred me because, again, I was that kid who always wanted to be liked. You know, I had instances where I got made fun of or I got teased or I got picked on or I got a prank played on. And I was just like, man, like just really thinking back on like, my life. You know, really, it really caused me to stop and you know, like I said, meditation was a big part of that just getting quiet, listening to some of these thoughts that were coming up journaling, you know, writing some of that stuff down. Writing on me I'm a little bit which who came across and turning that into the podcast. But that's, that's how it started just, it just started with a decision, honestly, a decision to just be like, I need to do something, what I've been doing for the past X amount of years is not working. So I need to change it up, I need to do something.

Curt Storring 15:15

And it'd be called out by a friend like that is so powerful. And to have a friend like that, I mean, speaks a lot to who you are as a man to have someone like that. And it's just like, if you don't have that man, join a men's group, do something, cultivate the sense of community with men, because sometimes it's the only thing. It's like, it's like a wake up call sometimes. So that's what a gift that's amazing. Can we start maybe a little bit further back in childhood, and just because this other part of this quote, and authenticity, and authenticity was cultural expectations, and I'd love to get into your baseball story, in you know, the next couple minutes, but I just want to see like, from where do you come? What are you battling against just culturally, yourself? Or even just growing up? What did that look like? Because now you're so open, but it must have been a struggle to get there. So can you just give us like a quick rundown of what expectations for masculinity were and what authenticity, expectations might have been when you were a kid? And then maybe bring us through to start the baseball career? Yeah,

Christian Lopez 16:17

sure. Totally. Man, I think it I think it all starts with, you know, if you're a human being, you're, you're gonna be protective, you know, deep down, we're wired to survive, you know, we're wired to survive. So being vulnerable to our, you know, lizard brains, or whatever it is that you want to call them. That's, that's like a no, no, it's just like, No be vulnerable, like, No, I'm gonna, I'm gonna die. And that's totally goes against, like, how I'm programmed, like, No, we can't be vulnerable, we can't open up. And, you know, so if you're a human being, you already have that programmed into you. But then even more, so if you're a man. Even more, so if you're a Latino man, in that in that community. And on top of that, being in a sports, you know, and a sports environment, you know, those are two, you know, growing up in a Latino community growing up in a, you know, just playing sports or my life, those are two, those are two areas where you're explicitly but implicitly as well told, like, Hey, hide your weaknesses. Only show your strengths. Don't talk about feelings. Don't talk about emotions, like that's a no, no, you know, that's a no, no. So, you know, one one refrain that I that I, you know, if any of your listeners that are listening or Latino, which I'm sure they probably heard growing up as a young boy is notice, which is Don't cry. You know, I'm sure they heard that time and time again, you know, notice, don't cry, like, I'll give you something to cry about. And it's just like, I mean, yeah, look, I'm not I don't advocate for just, you know, cry about anything. But, you know, oftentimes, if kids are crying, it's for a reason, instead of telling them hey, don't cry, try to talk it out. Shut up. Be like, Hey, why, why are you what's what's, why are you so upset right now? What's going on? What are you feeling? You know, just just stuff like that, you know, don't just say, Hey, don't cry. Like, try to find out what's what's going on. You know, sometimes it might be for a certain situation where maybe kids being bratty, but at the end of the day, to just being a kid, try to talk it out. Try to try to try to improve that behavior, try to teach them like, hey, next time this happens, why don't we do this? Or why don't we shift to that. But you know, just just, that's something that you heard a lot of notice. I remember one of my very first baseball practices, I took a line drive off the face, you know, and it knocked on my two front teeth. And you know, I heard you know, it was such a blur back then. But I I know, I heard somebody I don't know if it was my dad, or if it was other dads or my coach, or something's like hey, no, you're right. No, you're, you're a man. You're a man do it at home, but I noticed Don't cry. And it's just like, meanwhile, like I got my two front teeth knocked out and I'm like bleeding everywhere. As a six year old kid or something. I'm like, What do you mean don't cry? Should hurts. I might cry. Now as a man, if I got my two front teeth knocked out, like what the fuck? But um, you know, just those, those are just two areas where men aren't. You're not You're not expected it on the show even more. So you're, you're ridiculed. You're shamed. You're shunned. If you're the type of man who opens up and shares their feelings, and shares their emotions, you might be looked at as like, Hey, what's wrong with you? Are you gay? Like if there's anything wrong with being a gay man, so what so what if I was, you know, but But yeah, those are two areas where you're just looked at differently if you open up about feelings about emotions, and I was always I was always a sensitive emotional kid. You know, I was I was, I like to consider myself a mama's boy, not a mama's boy in the sense where, you know, my mom did everything for me. But mama's boy in the sense where I really had a really to this day, a big attachment, a big bond to my mom, you know, I was the firstborn son, I was the first one. So, you know, we always kind of had that special bond. So just growing up and just always kind of feeling like I was under her wing. I just grew up a very sensitive, very emotional, I always had a lot of female friends. Growing up in school, and I've always from from as far back as I remember, I have always been emotional and I've always been sensitive but Again, in those two arenas, you kind of have to hide that you kind of have to put on this facade of, I'm a tough guy, but I didn't get into my first fist fight until I was, you know, in my 20s or something, not that I condone fighting or violence or anything like that. But I was always so scared of getting in a fiscal fight because, I don't know, I was scared of getting my butt whooped. And I was, I don't know, I was just scared. I was just scared. But I was always that way, I was always a lover, not a fighter. So growing up in those two arenas, you know, I did have to kind of, you know, I always like to refer to myself as as a chameleon. You know, I always blended in, you know, when, when I was in, when I was with my jocks, when my sports, you know, my teammates, I was always at that Christian when I was with my girlfriends, you know, I was that Christian. When I was with my family, I was this guy, when I was with my boys, I was this guy. So it was always kind of shifting back and forth, instead of really be really truly be myself in all those environments, and, and letting the cards far fall where they may. So it was tough, but I finally just got to the point where but even though I grew up in those two arenas, specifically, you know, there was always moments where that real side of me shone through and that was with my girlfriends, you know, with my girlfriends, you know, who had that I had developed that intimate, close, close, vulnerable type of relationship with, I was able to really be myself and be a goofball and say that, you know, I liked chick flicks and rom coms and that I liked going to get manicures and pedicures and that I like this and that I like that. You know, with my boys, I kind of had to hide that a little bit more, because I was always like, Oh, maybe maybe they don't like those things. Maybe they think rom coms and chick flicks and mannequins and pedicures are gay, I can't, I can't have my boys think that I'm gay. You know, that's still a common refrain to these days, you know, to, you know, to kind of put your boys down like, oh, that's gay, bro. You're gay bro. But, you know, but that's that's just how I was growing up. I didn't I didn't know any better I was. So I needed to impress the group that I was with so badly that, you know, I hit parts of myself. But like I said, it always shone through in special little parts. When I was with my girlfriends, and I knew we were alone. And I knew them, we're going to go and tell somebody like Oh, Christian said he likes to go get manicure pedicures with me or whatever it was, you know, with my mom, you know, I was always I could always be vulnerable. And I could always be soft and emotional, insensitive. But, you know, in the clubhouse in the locker room kind of had to hide it a little bit, you know, there was certain teammates that I had that I developed close bonds with, that they would be able to see it a little bit, you know, when we were by ourselves, and we were having those deep conversations, those intimate connections, I can let that guard down a little bit and be like, Hey, I actually liked this, or I actually think this you know, but, you know, when I was out facing the rest of my team, who, you know, there was a few macho men in there. And in my, you know, in my, you know, in my family or my group of friends or my high school I had to put on, you know, I had to put on that armor and put on that facade again, in because I didn't want to risk I don't want to risk being being shamed or being ridiculed.

Curt Storring 22:51

Yeah, yeah. Thank you for sharing all that. That's incredible. And there's a couple things I just want to touch on before we get into sort of the the arc of the the career in baseball. But what you're explaining sounds an awful lot like having to be inauthentic to feel safe. Yeah. And what did that feel like to you? Like, what what does in authenticity feel like? Because there's probably a lot of guys there who maybe haven't done the work that we've done yet. You've done yet. But like, what did that do inside you to be living like this? Oh, man, I don't know if I can say this. I don't know if I can say that. Like, I'm scared all the time. Like, what? How do you tell what that feels like inside?

Christian Lopez 23:30

But to be honest with you, Kurt, I think I think back then I was so good at it. I was so good at shifting at Bing, this feeling of being able to shift my my persona to match the group that I was in that back then. I think I just convinced myself like, oh, no, this is this is who I really am. Like if I was acting a certain way in front of my boys like, oh, no, this is who I really am. If I was acting a certain way in front of my girlfriends, oh, no, this is who I really am. And I think I just did it so much. And so well, that it just became it just became second nature and became a part of me. And back then like we were just talking about early on. I didn't have that self awareness. I didn't realize that I was doing that I didn't realize I didn't know. Honestly, I didn't know who the real me was. Because I was constantly shifting back and forth so much that I never really stopped to realize, what is it that I believe in? Who am I? Like, who am I really because I really didn't know. You know, I was always shifting back and forth. So, so to be honest with you, I I didn't know. You know, I didn't feel that that misalignment. At the time it wasn't only until I started at cultivate that sense of self awareness that I look back and in retrospect, and I'm like, and I really hit a lot of things. I really did a lot of things that went against who I was purely, like you said, for survival for protection to always be to always be part of that group and not be shamed and not be ridiculed. So back then, I don't I don't think I was aware of it. You know, it isn't until I started to cultivate it that I started to realize like, oh, shoot, I was I was doing that stuff.

Curt Storring 24:58

Right. Okay, well, let's get it To the reason that you started cultivating that, you know, there is a point in your story I know that, you know, sort of stopped in your tracks and had you questioning all these things. Uh, presumably because it felt so shitty. And so could you sort of walk us to that point? You know, whether it's being cut or released or whatever it was. And let's just let's just go there and see for sure along the way I might need to cut in just because I'm super interested about this. Yeah. But yeah, if you can do that, I'd love that.

Christian Lopez 25:28

Yeah, no, let's let's go for ride, man. Let's jump on. So So yeah, I talked about how August 26 2017. That was the day where I made the decision. While I was like, I can't do this anymore, I got to make a change, because I felt like shit for the past few years. But let's go back even further to where that all started. So So I started playing professional baseball right out of high school, got drafted 2003 and went on to play about 10 years professionally. And it was all I ever wanted to do. That it was my dream since I was a kid. You know, people would ask me when I was younger, hey, what do you want to be when you grew up? Professional baseball player, a professional baseball player. That's it. It's all I ever wanted to do. Like I was a good student, I got good grades, I got good test scores. There was a slight, very slight, slight moment in time where I thought maybe I could be a doctor, to my mom's like, Oh, you're so smart. Like you should go be a doctor. You can save people's lives. And I was like, oh, maybe maybe she's like, Yeah, you can be a baseball player during the season. Then in the offseason, you can go and be a doctor and save lives. I was like, Okay, maybe maybe. And then I looked into being a doctor and saw how much schooling it was. And I was just like, sorry, Mom, I'm gonna be a baseball player. Sorry. And she's like, okay, that's right. But no, just you know, being a mom, she wanted me to get an education. But then when I got drafted, you know, and I got offered that the contract. My mom was like, Look, you know, I've always wanted to do to go to school, get an education, you're a bright kid. But you've worked hard for this, and I'm going to support you no matter what you choose. So I mean, every time I talk about this on a podcast, or wherever it is, I get goosebumps in my eyes water, because, you know, my mom and dad were so supportive. They were so supportive, you know, behind me, and and there's a lot of kids who, you know, are in the same situation that I'm in and their parents really pressured them one way or the other. Like, no, no, you're not going to sign you're going to go to score. No, no, no, you're going to sign you're not going to go to school. And my parents, obviously my dad, you know, super sports fanatic. He was beyond the moon, you know, excited that I got drafted. But, you know, they were super supportive. And I thank them every single day. So I went on, played professional baseball, 10 years, greatest job ever read. greatest job I've ever had in my life. It was it was everything I wanted to do was my it was a dream come true. There wasn't one day, you know, that quote that says, you know, do something you love, and you never work a day in your life. That's That's how I felt. It was my job. I was getting paid every two weeks to do it. But it never, it never felt like my job. It was just like, this is just what I do. It's just who I am. That's what I was born to do. So, you know, my identity was totally wrapped up in that. And, you know, we talked about earlier about double edged swords. That was kind of a double edged sword for me to where I was so into baseball. That was who I was. That was my identity. That's why I think that's a big part of the reason why I was so good at it because I loved going to practice and I loved I loved just being on the field. I loved it. I absolutely loved it. But then at the same time, I also wrapped around wrapped my identity around it so much that when I when that career finally came inevitably, inevitably came to an end, I was just like, oh, I had wrapped my identity around it so much. It was really, really difficult to unravel myself my identity from baseball. So you know, first first big blow came in August. I think it was August 2 2009. I got released by the Tampa Bay Rays, which is essentially like getting fired. You know, the manager called me into the office. I sat down he pretty much said that the organization's decided to make a change they're releasing you ever contract and I just man, that was a poof, I fought back two years, so hard in that situation, because in my mind, it was just so much ego and I was just like, don't let this let this motherfucker see you cry. Do not let this dude see you cry. He just wounded you. He just fatally wounded you. That's what it felt like to me. Do not do not cry. Do not hold it back. Do not let this guy see you cry. So I held it back, shook his hand or whatever it was back to myself. And as soon as I got outside into the parking lot, just let it go. And just sobbing just sobbing crying like I was like, like my dream just had just gotten taken away. My dream had just gotten taken away like I had no like I just the rug had been pulled out from under me. Like I was on just slipping and sliding and couldn't get my footing and just I was a mess. I was a mess. So I called my dad called my agent. And then you know soon enough I ended up signing again and I was back playing baseball for three more years. And then I went to go play in independent League and then when I was there toward the last latter part of my last season I got demoted instead of playing every day being a starter. I was a backup now so not only had I gotten fired once already now wasn't Even playing every day, I was a backup. So my ego was just not having it. My ego was just like, Man, fuck this, I'm out of here. And I retired when I was 27. You know, I could have easily played, you know, five more years easily doing something that I love, you know, doing something, but I gave up on it because my ego just just wouldn't, wouldn't let it be. I was so pissed. I was so

I felt so vindictive. I felt so slighted. You know, my ego was just like, No, we're out of here. Let's get the fuck out of here. So I quit. So I retired, you know, I retired and not because I had to not because my body was breaking down just because my ego just couldn't take it. So I quit. And then I had no idea what I wanted to do. Like I said, no idea that was my identity completely thrown through was your professional baseball player. That's what you were meant to do. You know, in my mind, my expectations was, I'm going to play for till I'm 40 years old, I'll retire I'll make a ton of money. I'll win a World Series. I'll be an all star. And then you know, I don't have to work for the rest of my life, but didn't even turn out close to what I expected. So I was I was crushed. Man, I was crushed. My identity was gone. My expectations. I didn't even come close to meeting them. So I had to figure it out. I was like, alright, what am I going to do? So I was always good at making people laugh. I was always good at entertaining people. Some of my teammates had like, given me a nickname, like a soap or a soap opera star nickname. I forgot. It was like Federico or something like that. So I was like, when when I retired from baseball's like, Oh, why don't I go, why don't I go give that a shot? why don't why don't I go try to get on a soap opera so packed, my things moved to Los Angeles, from Miami, I packed my things in my car drove cross country, and that was back in 2013. But that was that was purely ego driven, driven, that was purely driven by the sense of I need to go do something big. And let the world see that Krishna Lopez is not just a failed baseball player. That's purely what it was, it was I didn't have a passion for acting, I didn't have a passion, like I enjoy movies, but not like that, you know, not like some kids that start acting when they're five years old, which is what I did for baseball. You know, that was my passion. But I wasn't passionate about acting. But I had this huge hole in me that I just needed to fill. And I thought filling it with fortune and fame, or at least trying to achieve chasing after fortune and fame would would cure that for me. And so I you know, moved out here did acting for a couple of years, booked a couple small things here and there. But then it just got to the point where I was just like this, isn't it? This isn't what I want to do. And it's I'm not happy. This isn't what I want to do. I just I was chasing fortune and fame because I thought that would make me feel better. I don't think it's gonna make me feel better. And on top of that I left. I left an industry in baseball, where a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the players that play baseball across the world make it to the big leagues to trade that for an industry where 99% of the time you go to an audition and you're getting rejected, I was just like, Man, I could have I could have chosen a little bit better. I could have chosen a little bit better. But um, but yeah, so I did that for a couple years. And then finally I was just like this, isn't it. I got home one night after acting class and my wife was like, babe, what's going on? And, you know, she was trying to get me to open up a me being the, you know, mentally tough, tough guy, macho man that I was, you know, I was like, No, I can't let her see how I'm feeling I'm too vulnerable right now. And she kept kind of persisting, persisting, and I just couldn't hold back anymore. I just broke down, started crying. And I just say I don't remember what I said. But it was something along the lines of I'm scared, I'm lost. I don't know what I'm doing with my life. I feel like a failure. I feel like a loser. I don't know what to do. And she of course has been the awesome you know, wife. I don't I don't know if we were married at MLT. We were but she was just awesome. She was just super supportive. And she was just there for me and I wouldn't be talking to you right now if it wasn't for for my wife. So so big kudos Big shout out to her. But so yeah, so you know, quit acting, because that wasn't what I want to do. Then I tried to become a firefighter. You know, I looked into and I was like, Man, this has a lot of those things that baseball had the camaraderie, the brotherhood that kind of like lock locker room atmosphere, I can be a hero in the community. So I put I put, you know, all my efforts and all my thoughts into that for two and a half years of, you know, getting physically ready, taking taking fire science classes, you know?

What's the word I'm looking for? Man, I'm liking, interviewing all that stuff, you know, in two and a half year process. And then in like, April of 2019, I got a letter from the LA City Fire Department. And I thought it was a letter saying, hey, congratulations, you're going to be starting the fire academy. And I was just like, that's it. This is my new career. And, and for me at that time, it was also a big part of it was just some stability. Because when I retired from Baseball, baseball was my stability. I wasn't making a ton of money, but I knew that every season Okay, starting in April, till October, whenever it was going to be in baseball season, that's going to be my job and then whatever. I can figure out a little offseason job when the time comes. But I had a little bit of that security in that stability. You know, at this point, when I was looking into firefighting, I was looking for that stability. For that security, I knew once I got in there, I could put in my time and I can retire and I can have a pension and all that good stuff. So that was a big part of it as well. But then I got rejected. I got rejected, they don't really tell you why you get rejected. They're just like, hey, thank you for thank you for applying. But we've decided not to select you, you know, for the next step in the process. Best of luck with your future endeavors. It's funny because as I'm saying this right now I have my laptop open and write on the on the desktop of my laptop, I have I have that that letter. I don't know, I just took a picture of it. And I just have it there. And every once in a while I'll just look at it and be reminded of that rejection like hey, use it use it as motivation, you know? So, so got rejected. So that ended that dream. Then started looking into life coaching, I was like, Man, this looks awesome. Looks like something I'd I'd be really good at so I took a life coaching course coach, Coach a few clients, here and there, but with that, I think, I think my my fears and my insecurities really got the best of me when it came to that because I think subconsciously, I was thinking to myself, how am I going to help somebody else if I can't even help myself? You know, like, I felt like such a fraud. I felt like such an imposter. I felt like, like a failure, I still I still had that deep shame and that deep feeling of failure. So I was like, how am I gonna go help somebody else if I can't even help myself. So, you know, got into that a little bit. And then along that time, you know, the blog posting came the podcast came. But yeah, a lot of that was just a lot of that was just searching for searching for my identity searching for my identity and something outside of myself, because that's, that's what baseball was, for me. It's like, okay, I know who I know who Krishna Lopez is, Christian Lopez is a baseball player. But when I lost that, I was trying to find it, okay, maybe I can be Christian Lopez, the actor, maybe I could be Christian, as a firefighter, maybe Christian Lopez is a life coach, maybe I be, you know, I was searching for all these things outside of myself. And, you know, I just came to realize that, you know, until I find, until I find that self, a sense of self. And still until I find that strength within somehow, I don't think I was ever going to find it outside of myself. So, you know, that's where a lot of that a lot of this work has has has come down to is just trying to find a sense of self not based on the job that I do. But based on like, who I am deep down, you know, as a husband, as a man, as a brother, as a son, as an uncle, whatever it is. But again, that's going back to how we talked about earlier, going back to those that cultural, those cultural norms, a big part of our identity as men is based on our jobs is based on how much money we make a big part of it. And not to say that that's not important. But if that's all you base, your self worth on and your identity, your that's, that's that's your your, your you're building your house on. very shaky foundation, because if you lose that job, if you lose that money, then you lose everything, lose everything, so, so yeah, I don't know if we got to where you wanted to go. But take 100 Leave me and we'll go there. 100% man, thank you so much for sharing that. Because, like, I have thought about your story, like, almost every day since I read your posts, because I'm you know, as a young kid, I wanted to be in the NHL, like I just want to play hockey, like it was so obvious. And I know like, you know, everyone in Canada thinks that, and I'm sure a lot of guys elsewhere thinking that for football, baseball, whatever it is. But this like a loss, not only of the identity, but like this childhood dream. And like there's this innocence that you can carry from childhood to like, whenever this career ends. And you know, you, like you said, there's like this infinitesimal small amount of people who get there. And like, in many ways you did get there, which is like, incredibly impressive and amazing. And I know, you said you're so grateful for the experience. And it's like, well, then what, like there must have been a part of like this child, Christian, still attached to this, like baseball career. And then it's like, well, how do I become a man now? Like, what do I do to move forward? And just a quick side note on identity? I asked my grandfather, why do old men seem to get old so fast? You know, like, suddenly they're like, 65. And they're fine, then like, suddenly, by 70? They're like, they smell a little bit?

Not really, I feel like technology. And like, I haven't heard anything new in the last five or 10 years. I was just like, how does this happen so quickly? And what he said was retirement. Because if you have all of your identity in the job, which is exactly what you just said, you lose it, and then like, you just stopped living. So how did you go through the process of like, getting a new identity because like, you tried a bunch of this stuff? Like, what did that look like? Was there a time when you just sat down? Were like, hey, who am I? Like, what am I who am I? Who do I want to be like, Who are you now and how did you get? How did you get here? Man? That's such a good question. I think it's I think it's I think it's trial and error. You know, like I said, I tried to be an actor that was an in I tried to be a firefighter that didn't work. I tried to be a life coach that didn't work.

I think it's trial and error and and trial and error on a lot of things. intuition, man, a lot of intuition and just listening, listening to your gut, like what is it? What is it that you love? What is it that you love to do? Who really are you deep down inside? What do you care about? Instead of, you know, I wanted to be an actor not because again, not because I loved it. Because I know other people would love it. Other people would be like, see me on a billboard and or on TV or in the movie and be like, Oh, shit, that's so cool. I know that guy. I went to high school with that guy. I wasn't doing it because I wanted to do it. You know, I was doing it because I knew somebody else might think it's really cool. Same thing with a firefighter firefighter was a little bit more of like, hey, this kind of this kind of this kind of resonates with what I love and who I am and some of the parts I miss about about baseball. But a part of it, too, was like, man, people think firefighters are really cool. People are gonna think I'm really cool to be a good son. How can I be a good brother? How can I be a good uncle in that, and that works. I know, it seems counterintuitive, because you're like stuck in this model. So you know, it's just trial and error. It's really getting quiet and listening to who you are. It's full of like, I gotta get my life together, I got to get my shit together. But sometimes when you do something for somebody else, like it really feels good, like, it really feels good. And that's why it's, it's focusing on other people. You know, I love I've always been a giver, I've always loved helping other people. So just throughout this, I just I, you know, recently I had, I had this big career change where I was stuck in a job that I didn't enjoy. And I was just like, I gotta leave, you know, there'd be days where I just felt shitty about myself. And I'd be like, you know, what, what, what, what can I help my wife with today? How can I be a good husband today? How can you know, I was miserable. My wife could tell I was miserable. And then I quit. I just had to quit. And I started doing something which is back doing sports, around sports, with coaching and around kids. And I just had to finally listen to myself and like, what is it that I love to do? What do I miss? What am I good at? I miss being outside and on a baseball field I Miss You know, I love sports, I love being competitive. I'm great with kids and younger people I like I like to, you know, I like to be a role model. Role model figure, I like to be a mentor, I like to have a positive impact on somebody else's life. Just like a lot of coaches, and my parents had on my life, I want to be that for somebody else, you know, and I just finally sat down one day, I was like, man, maybe this is this is what I was, this is what I need to do. You know, and and the way you know, your to answer your question about, you know, how do I how do I how did I rediscover that identity, don't get me wrong, there's still a part of me that is still that athlete, that that's, that's always gonna be a part of me, it's just probably a lesser part of me than it used to be before I was probably like, 100%, you know, athlete. But now it's maybe a little less, you know, maybe like 50% athlete where I still play softball on weekends, I like to play pickup basketball whenever I can. So I definitely still have that competitive side of me. But just over the years, it's just gotten less and less, less and less, like it's still there. And it's always still gonna be there. But now, you know, there's other parts of me, there's, you know, there's the husband, there's a son, there's a brother, there's the uncle, there's the the friend, there's the you know, the men, you know, the fellow man to the men in my men's group, you know, there's the podcaster, you know, and putting out this message and having these conversations, there's so much more to me, than just hey, I was good at baseball, and I was good at at sports, that's still a part of me, but just not as big a part. So I think it's, I don't think it's completely, you know, and a couple people have told me this, like, Look, man, that's that's who you are. That's who you are. That's who you were. That's not that's never going to go away. So don't try to just completely erase it. And, you know, I kind of had to step back. Because I think at one point, I was just like, I need, I just need to do away with this. That's not who I am anymore. Just totally just let it go. But that was 10 years up. I mean, that was 10 years of my life professionally. But that was, since I was five years old. That was a huge part of who I was. So I don't I don't want to diminish that or erase that completely just just shifted, just shifted to a place of like, Hey, I don't need to consider myself a professional athlete to feel good about myself. I'm still an athlete, but there's so much so many other parts of me so much more to me as a man then how how hard I can throw a baseball so it's, it's been learning to integrate, integrate the other parts of myself into that part of myself that that was just solely an athlete for so long. If

that that makes sense. One thing I was gonna ask is when you go and play when you go and play softball, do you just like crush everyone? You just like run last random and

I'm, I'm one of the you know, I won't I won't lie, I'm one of the better ones out there. There's not a lot of you know, ex professional athletes playing softball on the, on the weekends, although I'm sure I'm sure there are a bunch but in my league, you know, there wasn't a probably one of a few. But yeah, it's it's fun, man. But the league that I play in isn't just like, you know, like the soft, soft, you know, slow pitch like it's kind of it's called it's called modified. So it's not like the women fast pitch which is really tough. It's kind of a in between. So it's it's a little bit tougher than just low pitch. But uh, but now I go out there and I definitely I try to crush and I try to have it definitely Definitely,

Curt Storring 45:01

yeah, no, I was wondering about that just I, you know, I had done some coaching and you're lucky and sometimes, you know, you get a summer and you get some NHL guys. And it's just like, Oh my God, there's so good that it's even, you can't understand it. If you're just watching if you're on the ice with him, and you're just picking corners on you left and right, you're like, how are you even doing this? So I just in my head, I just imagine these guys, you know, you step up to the plate or you go behind the plate and they just go like, Man, why is this? Yeah, my team. Okay, so Yeah, the thing I was gonna say was, it makes a lot of sense to do what you did, which is, especially when you're like, 100%, in this bucket of like, I professional athlete, I'm an athlete, whatever that looks like, to go out and be like, Well, what else do I even like? And you know, it's probably quite relatable to a lot of guys, especially guys who are becoming new fathers. This just came to me or it's like, you got your job, you might have like your friends, you're very wrapped up in this identity. But fatherhood is one of those big life things much like, you know, an end of a professional career. Yeah, and so yeah, I just I'm, what I want to say is, I'm so glad you gave these examples of like, I just tried stuff. And I had people to like, support me through this. Have you read no more Mr. Nice Guy by Robert Glover? Yeah, I actually I had read it a while back, and then I just really listened to what you're saying. I resonate a ton with which is just like, make sure that everyone sees your perfect, like, if you're not perfect, or if you fail, everyone will know that like, you're not perfect. And if you're not perfect, then someone's gonna be like, Hey, man, I'm gonna you know,

Christian Lopez 46:31

I used to love you when you were perfect, but now I don't so too bad. And that's like, the scariest fucking thing to think about. And dude, scariest thing but but the funny thing is that we really get the shame nobody. Everybody's so wrapped up in their own lives. Nobody's looking to see if like, oh, Christian, he retired from baseball. Let me see if you can be a fucking hot shot act like nobody was nobody gave a shit. The only person that gave a shit was me. You know, nobody really gave a shit. So yeah, it's that whole idea that if you can only be like, perfect for everyone else, then maybe they'll love you. And that's, it's so sad. And I you know, that's been my life too, is like, I've had to learn the self love practice. All these self love practices. Just be like I am me. No matter what happens no matter what I do. It's like, who am I? Not? What I do. It's, it's, you know, we're human beings, not human doings if you want to get all cliche about it. So yeah, I'm super pumped that you're able to give us some stuff like that.

Curt Storring 47:24

What about what do you think about this whole like, childhood dream aspect of it? Like, does that ever been part of your story? Like you had this dream? I mean, we all have childhood dreams. I'm just thinking, like, how many of us have processed the loss of that? Because we just sort of grow up, we get jobs. And like, I haven't thought about being an NHL player for like, 15 years, like, you know, that's never going to be my thing once I got to be like, 1314 15. But like, I'm just wondering if there's something there for you. Like, do you still feel wrapped up in that at all? Did you have to grieve the loss of something? Like to get over it? But what did that look like?

Christian Lopez 48:01

Yeah, dude, it was it was tough. I remember. I remember the first when I first when I first retired from baseball, I was so bitter. I was just angry at my coaches. I was angry at baseball in general, I thought it was political. And like, I got screwed over and all you know, I did any and everything. Except take accountability and take responsibility for who I was and for the decisions that I made. So So yeah, man, it was it was it was incredibly tough. You know, it was incredibly tough to, to break, to break free of that. And like I talked about before, that's always gonna be that's always gonna be a part of me. It's just learning to learning to learning to get past it. What was your I'm totally blanking on your question

again. What was your question again? Yeah, sorry. I was wondering if there was anything other than the fact that this was a childhood dream for you? And did you have to grieve? Any like did you did you have to go through a process where you're like, Man, I will never get that back. Like, it's part of my childhood. It's what I always wanted to do. Now it's dead. Like, what was that process? Like to sort of healthily? Put an end to it? Yeah.

Again, like they say, Man, time, time heals all wounds. And I think it's something that I don't know if I'll ever get over but it's definitely it's definitely something that's gonna gonna take some time. So that's where I was getting at was when I first retired. I was just so bitter that I was like, Nah, Screw this, like, whatever this is, this is the best decision I ever made. I don't need baseball. They don't they don't want me that I don't need them. So that was that's how it was for about the first year but then I started to realize and my wife started to realize too, that every time baseball would season would come back around. I would I would change a little bit, you know, would change and I would notice myself watching baseball, not just as a fan, which I am. I'm a huge fan of baseball, but I wouldn't watch it just as a fan like Oh, I'm rooting for My team or um, you know, watching this or watching that, I would watch it and see guys that I played with, and see guys that I played against playing in the big leagues and being like, man, I was fucking better than that guy, man, that guy sucked, man, that guy's really that guy's making a ton of money. And I'm over here not like, God damn. And that's bullshit. That's bullshit like, so I would just find myself being so so deeply envious, that I that's that's how my baseball consumption would be. It wouldn't just be like, Oh, I love this game. And I've just, you know, I'm a big fan of baseball, and I love everything about it. But I would watch it, you know, I would catch myself sometimes like seeing guys that I've played with and being like, so, so envious man, so envious, so, so yeah, it's definitely taken a lot of time, a lot of time to grieve. And I don't know if I've actually, I don't know, if I've really successfully successfully grieved it yet, I think it's gotten better. Like I said, time heals all wounds, I think I've gotten better over the years, and being able to just watch it and not having these thoughts of like, I played against a guy. And plus, now that the guys that I played with, the guys that I played against are getting closer to their 40s. So a lot of them aren't around anymore. So I don't see as many of them on TV, you know, playing anymore. So I'm sure that has a lot to do with it. But yeah, I find myself being able to watch baseball now, instead of being envious, you know, just be a fan, just be grateful for it just be like man, I was, I was able to do that, you know, for such a long time and get paid for like, I'm such a lucky Dude, I'm so grateful for this. But I will also and this is where that self awareness comes back in. I'll also honestly still catch myself sometimes, you know, watching the game. And if somebody you know, makes a mistake, or makes an error or something like that, and be like, Oh, God, I wouldn't have done that. If I was in his position, I wouldn't have done that. That was dumb. That was dumb. So I definitely still slip. And that's just like I talked about in the beginning. You know, I'm a human, you know, as much as as much work as I've done, I'm still a human, and I still have my emotions and my feelings, and I still have my fears and my insecurities and my shame. And my doubt, I've just gotten a lot better at dealing with them, I've gotten a lot better better at overcoming them. But it doesn't mean that they've disappeared. And that's why I said I don't think it's something that I'll ever completely get over. It's just something that I'll have to learn. And I have learned to deal with a lot better. But, you know, that was that was, that was just such a huge part of who I was. And it was, you know, I had set these expectations for myself, I had told myself, this is how my life is going to be. And it's tough when you when you have these crazy expectations for yourself, you know, because some people say like, I'm gonna go to college and get a degree and get a job and get a house and like, that stuff that's attainable for for a lot of us not for all of us, obviously, but for a lot of us it's attainable. But you know, setting the expectation of being a big leaguer and a world series champion and MVP and God, you know, I had I used to, I used to envision, I used to have visions of myself getting inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame. And my, my, my family being in the crowd and me tearing up and thanking my family. Thank you guys so much for supporting me, like I had these kind of crazy expectations, crazy, but grand expectations and visions. So I think, like I said, it made me the kind of player that I was, but at the same time, it really, really crushed me when that part of me came to an end. So, so yeah, it's just, it's just learning to deal with it and learning to move on. And, you know, just just practicing gratitude really is a big part of it. Like I might not be, you know, I might not might not have played in the big leagues and made all this money and been super famous and stuff like that. But I got to play for 10 years, I got to collect a paycheck for 10 years to throw a baseball round and put a uniform on and get to travel to different cities and get to hang out in the clubhouse with my boys.

I get to do that for a long time. I have a you know, when my career came to an end, I moved to California is where I met my wife. If my career hadn't come to an end, and I had to move to California, I would have never met her. Like there's so many things in my life. Now, that wouldn't be if, if that hadn't happened. So it's mixing that that grief with that gratitude as well. And just, you know, just being grateful and so many great people that I met and so many lessons that I learned. And if my career hadn't ended the way that it ended, I wouldn't be doing this kind of work that I'm doing, I wouldn't have be having this conversation with you right now. So there's so many things that came from, I guess the ashes of that, you know, that dream burning down, that I'm really grateful for. So I always have to just just pinch myself and remind me like, Hey, I got a pretty good life. I might not be a rich, famous baseball player, but I got a really good life and I'm really grateful and I'm a good man and I'm doing some good work. So you know, just just slowly just slowly over the years just getting better and better at with it but I think there's always going to be that that scar. I think there's always going to be that scar in there to remind me like that was a big loss but we just you know, just like humans do we adapt and we move on that's what we're really good at and that's that's pretty much what I've been doing just adapting and

Curt Storring 54:53

moving. That's beautiful man. I really love all of the lessons in there like I'm I hadn't written down here for my notes like the things I wanted to cover there. Like a lot of lessons that I got just reading your story. And what we've talked about so far is like, personal responsibility, recovering from huge setbacks, resilience, losing an identity, forming a new one grieving, managing confidence, like humility, like there's all of these lessons in your story. And you're able to, like, with a self awareness, see them be grateful for them. And this is just like, amazing for me to be a part of. So thank you.

Christian Lopez 55:23

Yeah, no, thank you. Just I just wanted to piggyback on that right there. And that's, and that's why I think it's so important to do this kind of work, to have these conversations to have you who are essentially, you're a mirror to me right now. Because you're mirroring all these things that I'm saying back to me, and we need that we need that not just as men, but as human beings, but especially as men, because we're so hard on ourselves. I know I am. And, you know, if we don't have these kinds of conversations, you know, you forget all these things that that I've learned throughout the years that I've learned as an athlete, because when I retire from baseball, I'm like, What am I good at? What do I want to do, but there's so much I was good at, I know how to work on a team. I know how to resolve conflict, I know how to be a good role model in the community. I know how to how to bust my butt in practice, and have good work ethic. Like, I know all these things that I learned in my 10 plus years as a professional athlete, but I just I didn't stop to think about those things, because I was so I was so traumatized by how it ended, that I didn't stop to think and when you have conversations like this, you think about the you know, just by using the things that you said, it reminds me of like, oh, yeah, man, there's a lot of things that I learned along the way. Like, that was a tough time in my life. But there's a lot of things that I overcame, you know, there's a lot of things that I overcame, but you until you stop to think about it, you don't you just kind of let that stuff go by the wayside. Yeah, and

Curt Storring 56:39

one thing that I love is just how you framed like having these huge expectations for yourself. And then like, reaching them, like reaching many of them, and like coming so close to some is is way different than a lot of people being like, I want to get the degree in the house, which again, absolutely nothing wrong with. And I'm the same sort of way, except my goals have always been like, I want to hit this amount of millions. And then I want to hit this many millions. And like it's all been business, because that's the arena that I operate in. And I go like, well, what if I don't get there? You know, like, a lot of people think I'm crazy. You know, I hang out with a lot of guys who are entrepreneurs and stuff like that. So it's not crazy to me. But a lot of people would be like, What do you mean, you want to make a million bucks? Do you mean, you want to make 10 million bucks more than that? And it's like, oh, yeah, what if I, what if I don't? And so as I'm listening to your story, I'm going like, okay, how can I continue to build myself up now? So that, you know, whatever happens, make it or don't, I'm not, you know, falling from up here, rather than like, you know, the expectations are reasonable. So that's a very good point just for me. So thank you on that. And if you have time, I'd love to just like are two final questions. Are you good to go?

Christian Lopez 57:45

Yeah, I got a bunch of time. And then, you know, just to piggyback on what you said, right there, there's, man, there's, it's such a tricky balance, you know, trying to balance that those expectations, but also trying to not wrap yourself up in those expectations. You know, it's just like, you know, having that that dream and that goal, which is this is a lesson that you know, now that I'm getting back into sports and into coaching, this is something that I want to instill in the people that I coach, I was like, Hey, man, if you want to be a big league baseball player, go for it. Go for it. 100% if that if that's what you love, and you're willing to put in the work, go for it. But don't think that get debt becoming a big leaguer? Is the end all be all don't think that that's if whether you make it or whether you don't don't think that that that defines whether you're a failure, or whether you're a success as a man, you know, okay, so have that drive, you know, have that I wish I would have had somebody tell me this, like, hey, go be a professional baseball player, if that's what you want to be, but the odds of you making it, I just want you to know, and it's not to deter you, it's just to say, hey, the odds of you make it are very, very, very, very, very small. So don't feel bad about yourself if you don't, okay? Don't feel bad about yourself if you don't. So, it's really hard mixing those, you know, same thing with you in business, like, hey, I want to make X amount of money. But also mixing that in with like, Hey, okay, if I don't make that amount of money doesn't mean I'm a failure. It just means Hey, whatever it just means, you know, whatever, you know, so but it's tough, man. It's tough mixing those expectations with, you know, the, the acceptance of reality and

Curt Storring 59:17

what Absolutely, and you just went exactly what I was gonna ask you, you covered both the points. I gotta ask you, you know, what, what kind of lessons are there for fathers here? Just from your own experience? Like, what do you wish that you knew? What kind of support do you wish you had? And I mean, you just touched on it there with this sort of, like perspective, I guess. But is there anything else that comes up for you?

Christian Lopez 59:41

I think one of the biggest things is probably and I'm like, I'm not a father. So I'm not speaking from firsthand experience here. But I think one of the biggest things that can that can kind of, you know, fall in line with what we were just talking about is, you know, I think there's this expectations as fathers. It's like, we got to be the breadwinners. We got We got to bring home the bacon, we got to be strict and hard, you know, we got to put our sons and daughters, we got to put our sons into sports and our daughters into into ballet and not the other way around. We can't let our sons play with dolls, we can't let our daughters play with cars and with all this stuff, and it's just like, there's so many. There's so many not just about being a man, but about being a father, there's so many so much of these expectations, and so much of these of these norms that says, hey, to be a good father, you have to do this. And you have to do that. And you have to be like this. And you have to be like that. Just be the fucking father that you want to be. Just be the father that you want to be whatever it is for you just be that Father, don't listen to whatever it is, somebody else says, don't listen to somebody else on parenting, be the father that you want to be because being that father, whether you fail or succeed, whether you're perfect or imperfect or not, you're going to set that example for your son or for your daughter, that you are courageous, that you're willing to be the person that you really want to be no matter what anybody says no matter what the world says, no matter what culture with society says. And that, for me is one of the biggest lessons that you can impart on on a younger person is having the courage to be authentically and we're talking about authenticity, authenticity in the beginning, to be authentically, whatever that is. Whatever that is, because there's so many people in the world that give up on their dreams that that give up on who they are, that fake who they are for their entire lives, because they want to please others because they said oh, my parents said I should be this way, or the world said that the society says or this person, or that person says I need to be this way. Fuck that be who you are. As long as you're a good person, you're not screwing anybody else over. If it resonates with you, if you're listening to that inner voice, whatever that inner voice is telling you be that person. And I think that's the best thing that you can do as a parent have the courage to be the man or for a father that you have the courage to be the father that you truly are. Whatever it is, that resonates with you. Don't worry about anybody else telling you hey, that's wrong. Hey, that's bad. Hey, this is this, be you? If a resonates with you, I think that's the greatest gift that you can give to your kids. But the kids are gonna look at you. They're gonna be like, damn, dad. He's the kind of man I want to be. He's courageous. He's he is who he is. And it doesn't matter whether people say,

Curt Storring 1:02:06

Damn, that's a that's the clip I'm going to pull. That hit me. Right in the heart. I feel so good. Just listening to you say that. And like, so affirming to be like, yeah, why? Like, why am I worried about anything else? Like, I'm just gonna be the fucking data gonna be? Man, that was great. Thank you so much. The last thing I want to ask. And this is just mostly for fun, because I'm super interested. What do you tell kids who want to make it Pro? Like this? This is something that like you said, so few people do. And you've got the experience with it. So what do you tell kids or young people who are going for like a huge dream? What did you learn about that along

Christian Lopez 1:02:43

the way? So something I recently a friend of mine asked me to coach his son's seven, eight year old little league team, like a few months back. And I was like, yeah, man, I'll come, I'll come, I can volunteer and hang out over there. So I got to coach them for like 678 weeks or something like that. And then after our last game of the season, I gave like a little, a little speech to them after the game. And I told them, you know, if you guys you know, don't remember, if you guys only remember one thing from our time together here, I want you to remember that you guys are so much more than just baseball players. And if you know to wrap it up in to make it short and sweet. I think that's what it is like, you're so much more than baseball player. Because if somebody really, really instilled that in me, which I'm sure there was people that tried to but I didn't listen, because I was young. And I was naive, and I was hard headed. I was just like, No, that's all I am as a baseball player. But if I really would have had somebody like, hey, no, you're not. You're a really good baseball player. And you're really good at it. And I know you love it. But you're so much more than that. Christian Lopez is not synonymous with just baseball player, you're so much more than that. So if I can leave kids with anything, it's that like, hey, like we were just talking about if this is your dream, and this is something that you want to go after, I'm not going to stop you, by all means I'm going to encourage you to go after it if it's something that you want, but remember that that's not all of who you are. You're so much more than just a baseball player or just an athlete or what it is. So, you know, I think that's the biggest thing is like, you know, know who you are, you know, go after your dreams and don't let anybody stop you if that's your dream, but remember that whether you fail or succeed, you're so much more than that dream that you were chasing,

Curt Storring 1:04:19

man. So good. So good. Okay, well, that is I mean, I personally would love to just dive into the nitty gritty of like, professional sports because I'm just like, Man, I got dude, I love rugby. I've watched things like all or nothing on Amazon lately. And I just like I love back and I don't know why like it's just one of those things. But I would love to make sure that people know where to find you. I know you just released another podcast episode so I hope you get back into that. Where can people learn more find more follow you if they want.

Christian Lopez 1:04:51

For sure I'm most active on on Instagram, @clopey C L O P E Y my nickname based on my last name Lopez They used to call me in, in, in baseball so @clopey on Instagram that's where I'm the most active reach out to me there. I love interacting with people and hearing stories and sharing my stories and hopefully having an impact on somebody and then behind the mask-ulinity. And then hopefully in the future, you can be my guests on there. And we can I can return the favor and weekend. Some of your listeners can listen to you on there. So So yeah, those are the two places to find me. And yeah, just just slowly trying to have conversations just like this, in the hopes of inspiring other men to have the same kind of conversations and know that it doesn't make us weak. It doesn't make us unmanly. If anything, it makes us even more male. This has been unbelievable.

Curt Storring 1:05:41

I mean, I knew just based on the writing there was gonna be good but you really brought it so I very much appreciate your vulnerability, honesty, openness, introspection, everything you've done to sort of prepare for this. It really shine through and I'm inspired man so thank you very much.

Christian Lopez 1:05:55

Appreciate it Curt.

Curt Storring 1:05:56

That's it for this episode. Thank you so much for listening. It means the world to find out more about everything that we talked about in the episode today, including Show Notes resources and links to subscribe leave a review work with us go to dad dot work slash pod. That's di d dot w o RK slash pod. type that into your browser just like a normal URL, Dad dot work slash pod. You'll find everything there. You need to become a better man, a better partner and a better father. Thanks again for listening and we'll see you next time.

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