Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason’s daughter Makenzie penned a powerful piece about depression for ESPN The Magazine.
I encourage you to make time to read the entire article.
The entire article is powerful; but specific to coaches, the part I felt the need to share is this:
As a child, I was generally a happy kid. But I did not have a usual childhood. I’m very close with my dad, and I love what he does. I wouldn’t change it for the world. I was like that little girl Sheryl from “Remember the Titans” — I talked football with my dad, and spent the afternoons in his office doing homework and watching film. I would be in tears when my dad’s team lost.
But due to his job, we were constantly moving, and it started to take a toll. I never quite knew who I was or where I fit. I remember when my dad got the job at Stanford and we moved to California, something changed. I was just beginning middle school and I was chronically sad for no particular reason. Nothing traumatic happened to me, but I would have uncontrollable crying spells and isolate myself from people. By the age of 12, I felt worthless. I wished I was dead.
Mason went on to explain that things got worse once her father became head coach at Vanderbilt and the family moved to Tennessee during her freshman year in high school:
That first season was torture for me. I think the team lost more games that year than in my dad’s previous four seasons at Stanford combined. It was awful to see things said about my dad on social media. I know that comes with the job but some mean tweets were beyond what my 16-year-old mind could handle, like having a stranger tweet that he hopes a coach’s daughters get raped. This only made my frustration with moving and depressive symptoms even worse. But instead of addressing it, I isolated. I never went to a high school football game or any other school activities. I thought about killing myself. But I never thought I would actually try to do it.
Makenzie closes her article with words of encouragement for all those who battle depression: “Keep fighting for your happiness and your life. Just keep fighting.”
This is a truly powerful read. Please make time today to read her full piece here and consider sharing her message with anyone you think might need to hear it. God bless.