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Wareham looking for a big hit from what life delivers


When Christian Wareham walked out of prison the first thing he knew he had to do was get his confidence back.

He knew if he didn’t get it back he would never amount to anything as he felt he had lost everything.

After a decade of drug use, stealing sprees and getting mixed up with shady characters, the now 35-year-old Wareham wanted to put his dark past behind him and seek a fresh start on life.

A promising young baseball player growing up in Corner Brook, Wareham has no idea where the sport would have taken him because his world was turned upside down by a drug addiction.

That crutch only got worse when at 16 he moved to Langley, B. C. in 1997 to attend the Delphi Academy — a high school baseball school for young baseball talent in the country —as he moved away to pursue his passion.

“I couldn’t deal with the opportunity. I just threw away,” Wareham said of the emotional ride he went through as he fought to take back his life.

Wareham was a promising baseball player growing up in Corner Brook, cracking the roster of the Terra Novas provincial Under-21 baseball team as a starting outfielder when he was only 16.

At the nationals in Winnipeg that summer, a team was hand-picked for the purpose of sending the best to Delphi Academy — a new high school baseball academy that had been born that year in Langley, B. C.

That team would go on to play in a major showcase event in Arizona where Wareham and company went undefeated. He delivered a bases-loaded triple to win the final game against a team coached by Hall-of-Famer and former Chicago Cubs second baseman Ryne Sandberg.

He went to Langley to pursue his passion, but it would prove to be a rocky road for a kid removed from his family and friends at a young age.

He got in with the wrong people as he continued to feed his drug addiction.

It was a short journey. His life fell apart and before the year was over he found himself back home feeling empty because he missed the excitement of the crazy life he grew to know.

Getting back in touch with the game he loved was the route he knew he had to take, but he wasn’t prepared to come back to his hometown right away. He wasn’t going to come home until he was ready to give back to the community and in a position to do what he wanted to do — coach baseball in Corner Brook.

After serving his 26-month sentence in 2010 at Westmoreland in Dorchester, N.B. – one of several he served over a handful of years as he tried to get clean —he was placed in a halfway house in Moncton.

He decided to stay in Moncton where he forged a friendship with Moncton minor baseball president, the late Paul (Tubby) Melanson, who helped him get his foot in the door by giving him the head coaching job for the Moncton Mets junior team.

He would take the team out of the basement that year and the season ended with the Mets bowing out in the semifinal round. He was asked back to coach the team again the next season and was also impressive enough to get asked to join the coaching staff of the Moncton Mets senior baseball team.

It was three years of learning the game under a couple of guys who believed in him. He’s thankful he got the chance.

“I soaked it all up like a sponge, and I haven’t had a real chance to show it yet,” he said.

He returned to Corner Brook in January of this year with a vision of coaching and umpiring baseball in Corner Brook as a way to give back to the community.

His hard work and commitment to the game was recognized when he was selected the 2016 senior/junior umpire of the year by Baseball Newfoundland and Labrador while working for the city’s minor baseball program.

Minor baseball director Rob Park said Wareham was a dedicated volunteer coach for two nights per week in the association’s spring baseball program for eight weeks. Wareham was so committed to helping young players at the spring program Park, who was among the group doing the hiring for the summer program felt he was worthy of a summer job.

Over the summer, he coached the Barons midget squad to a silver medal at provincials and also guided the Kinsmen Aces to the championship crown in the inaugural Western Intermediate Baseball League.

“He certainly provided a good level of experience and guidance for some of the coaches,” Park said.

More importantly, he said, Wareham had a good rapport with the players and gave it his all to ensure every child got an equal amount of his time.

“I saw days where ... maybe a mosquito kid who never got a turn to hit in the batting cage because time didn’t allow and he would take him into the batting cage and make sure he got his swings in,” he said. “His dedication and focus on the players was huge.”

Wareham hopes his chance to help develop budding baseball players will help put the Barons back in contention for provincial senior A baseball supremacy.

That’s where his heart is after all of the years of dealing with so many issues that prevented him from enjoying the game.

He also wants to help improve the culture of baseball in the city and see the local association celebrate success on the diamond at all levels, including keeping up with St. John’s on the provincial scene.

Life is so much more fulfilling now, says Wareham. He says he has found peace.

He is looking forward to a bright future for him and his three-year-old daughter, Shyloe.

“It’s like coming out of bondage. It’s like being wrapped up in chains your whole life and just (suddenly) everything broke free,” he said.

 

Wareham discusses the hard fall that got his feet back on the ground

The rain danced on the skylight above Christian Wareham’s head as he quietly composed himself for a few minutes.

He sat quiet at first when asked how he felt about seeing a photo of himself heading into court in 2008 for sentencing in a stealing crime spree he exacted in his hometown of Corner Brook.

“Empty,” Wareham said, finally.

It was an embarrassing moment in his life because he knows people were impacted by his poor choices. It was also one of the most beautiful days in a life thrown off the rails because of a drug addiction.

“Really, that’s the best day of my life right there,” Wareham said.

“That’s the one. I don’t know what to say. That’s when it all sunk in. That’s the beginning of what I’m doing now that picture right there. ... This is when it all fell apart completely.”

Already dabbling in drugs at age 16, Wareham went to Langley, B.C. with hopes of bringing his baseball skillset to another level, but he said he still needed to be smoking weed so he went looking for it in his new surroundings.

He didn’t have to look far to find it and before long he was tangled up with some shady characters who showed him that he could make some good money. He just fell into the trap of getting caught up in the excitement of it all.

Wareham was happy to get out of there when he did. He doesn’t want to think about the repercussions if he stayed on the same path.

“I went with the flow and I did what I was capable of doing with what was presented to me,” he said. “The worst thing is it was like the devil was just leading me around.”

When he came home to Newfoundland, it was tough because he missed the excitement. His drug use would continue and so did the crime as he ended up going on a stealing spree that would eventually see him sent to federal prison for 26 months.

“I got deeper and deeper into drugs then because nothing excited me,” he said of his return to Corner Brook. “There was no excitement. I was the excitement. ... I was the party and that’s the way I lived, and it was the wrong way.”

He has his life back now.

Wareham says he appreciates all the support and love he received from his family and friends.

He’s finally in charge of where he goes in life and that’s something he never thought was possible for the years he was in trouble with the law.

“It’s a dark place if you let it consume you ... let it guide you,” he said.

Wareham no longer focuses on what led him down the wrong path.

He’s just enjoying life on the new road.

 

Education helped Wareham get his game back

Christian Wareham never forgot his first face-to-face with a parole officer when he began serving a 26-month federal prison sentence for a stealing spree.

Seated across from the female parole officer in chains and cuffs, Wareham was asked what he wanted to do with his life when he got out.

He looked at the woman, whose full name he couldn’t recall, and told her he would love to go to university and one day be an engineer. It appealed to him because he knew it would mean making good money.

He was told he should be a little more realistic in his goals. Wareham was surprised by the response, but it was something he needed to hear at the time. It shook him.

“That lit a fire under my ass and I never forgot what that woman said to me.”

He figured the parole officer counted him out and pegged him with other inmates who wouldn’t amount to much.

“Nobody ever done that to me,” Wareham said. “Everyone always supported me. Nobody had the balls to sit in a f**king chair across from me and tell me like it really was and it took this woman to do it.”

There have been rough patches along the way, but life took on a much bigger meaning to him when his daughter was born. It was now time for him to make sure she had a much better life than what he could provide as an addict who took the long road to repairing the damage.

His first step in getting a handle on his future was going to Mount Allison University for two years, working on a major in sociology and minor in economics, with hopes of providing a better life for himself and three-year-old daughter Shyloe.

The single dad would spend two summers taking his daughter with him on the jobsite with a landscaping company in an effort to pay his way through school. In the end he couldn’t afford to stay in school without being able to afford daycare for his child so he had to make an alternate plan.

That new plan is unfolding before him as he’s immersed in his first year of power engineering studies at College of the North Atlantic in Corner Brook.

 “When my daughter was born that put the stamp on it. — There’s no turning back,” he said.

He’s forging ahead with optimism knowing there were people who believed in him even when he had moments when he couldn’t fight the fight.

“The saddest thing in life is wasted talent,” he said. “There’s nothing that hurts more, especially when you got it.”

He knew if he didn’t get it back he would never amount to anything as he felt he had lost everything.

After a decade of drug use, stealing sprees and getting mixed up with shady characters, the now 35-year-old Wareham wanted to put his dark past behind him and seek a fresh start on life.

A promising young baseball player growing up in Corner Brook, Wareham has no idea where the sport would have taken him because his world was turned upside down by a drug addiction.

That crutch only got worse when at 16 he moved to Langley, B. C. in 1997 to attend the Delphi Academy — a high school baseball school for young baseball talent in the country —as he moved away to pursue his passion.

“I couldn’t deal with the opportunity. I just threw away,” Wareham said of the emotional ride he went through as he fought to take back his life.

Wareham was a promising baseball player growing up in Corner Brook, cracking the roster of the Terra Novas provincial Under-21 baseball team as a starting outfielder when he was only 16.

At the nationals in Winnipeg that summer, a team was hand-picked for the purpose of sending the best to Delphi Academy — a new high school baseball academy that had been born that year in Langley, B. C.

That team would go on to play in a major showcase event in Arizona where Wareham and company went undefeated. He delivered a bases-loaded triple to win the final game against a team coached by Hall-of-Famer and former Chicago Cubs second baseman Ryne Sandberg.

He went to Langley to pursue his passion, but it would prove to be a rocky road for a kid removed from his family and friends at a young age.

He got in with the wrong people as he continued to feed his drug addiction.

It was a short journey. His life fell apart and before the year was over he found himself back home feeling empty because he missed the excitement of the crazy life he grew to know.

Getting back in touch with the game he loved was the route he knew he had to take, but he wasn’t prepared to come back to his hometown right away. He wasn’t going to come home until he was ready to give back to the community and in a position to do what he wanted to do — coach baseball in Corner Brook.

After serving his 26-month sentence in 2010 at Westmoreland in Dorchester, N.B. – one of several he served over a handful of years as he tried to get clean —he was placed in a halfway house in Moncton.

He decided to stay in Moncton where he forged a friendship with Moncton minor baseball president, the late Paul (Tubby) Melanson, who helped him get his foot in the door by giving him the head coaching job for the Moncton Mets junior team.

He would take the team out of the basement that year and the season ended with the Mets bowing out in the semifinal round. He was asked back to coach the team again the next season and was also impressive enough to get asked to join the coaching staff of the Moncton Mets senior baseball team.

It was three years of learning the game under a couple of guys who believed in him. He’s thankful he got the chance.

“I soaked it all up like a sponge, and I haven’t had a real chance to show it yet,” he said.

He returned to Corner Brook in January of this year with a vision of coaching and umpiring baseball in Corner Brook as a way to give back to the community.

His hard work and commitment to the game was recognized when he was selected the 2016 senior/junior umpire of the year by Baseball Newfoundland and Labrador while working for the city’s minor baseball program.

Minor baseball director Rob Park said Wareham was a dedicated volunteer coach for two nights per week in the association’s spring baseball program for eight weeks. Wareham was so committed to helping young players at the spring program Park, who was among the group doing the hiring for the summer program felt he was worthy of a summer job.

Over the summer, he coached the Barons midget squad to a silver medal at provincials and also guided the Kinsmen Aces to the championship crown in the inaugural Western Intermediate Baseball League.

“He certainly provided a good level of experience and guidance for some of the coaches,” Park said.

More importantly, he said, Wareham had a good rapport with the players and gave it his all to ensure every child got an equal amount of his time.

“I saw days where ... maybe a mosquito kid who never got a turn to hit in the batting cage because time didn’t allow and he would take him into the batting cage and make sure he got his swings in,” he said. “His dedication and focus on the players was huge.”

Wareham hopes his chance to help develop budding baseball players will help put the Barons back in contention for provincial senior A baseball supremacy.

That’s where his heart is after all of the years of dealing with so many issues that prevented him from enjoying the game.

He also wants to help improve the culture of baseball in the city and see the local association celebrate success on the diamond at all levels, including keeping up with St. John’s on the provincial scene.

Life is so much more fulfilling now, says Wareham. He says he has found peace.

He is looking forward to a bright future for him and his three-year-old daughter, Shyloe.

“It’s like coming out of bondage. It’s like being wrapped up in chains your whole life and just (suddenly) everything broke free,” he said.

 

Wareham discusses the hard fall that got his feet back on the ground

The rain danced on the skylight above Christian Wareham’s head as he quietly composed himself for a few minutes.

He sat quiet at first when asked how he felt about seeing a photo of himself heading into court in 2008 for sentencing in a stealing crime spree he exacted in his hometown of Corner Brook.

“Empty,” Wareham said, finally.

It was an embarrassing moment in his life because he knows people were impacted by his poor choices. It was also one of the most beautiful days in a life thrown off the rails because of a drug addiction.

“Really, that’s the best day of my life right there,” Wareham said.

“That’s the one. I don’t know what to say. That’s when it all sunk in. That’s the beginning of what I’m doing now that picture right there. ... This is when it all fell apart completely.”

Already dabbling in drugs at age 16, Wareham went to Langley, B.C. with hopes of bringing his baseball skillset to another level, but he said he still needed to be smoking weed so he went looking for it in his new surroundings.

He didn’t have to look far to find it and before long he was tangled up with some shady characters who showed him that he could make some good money. He just fell into the trap of getting caught up in the excitement of it all.

Wareham was happy to get out of there when he did. He doesn’t want to think about the repercussions if he stayed on the same path.

“I went with the flow and I did what I was capable of doing with what was presented to me,” he said. “The worst thing is it was like the devil was just leading me around.”

When he came home to Newfoundland, it was tough because he missed the excitement. His drug use would continue and so did the crime as he ended up going on a stealing spree that would eventually see him sent to federal prison for 26 months.

“I got deeper and deeper into drugs then because nothing excited me,” he said of his return to Corner Brook. “There was no excitement. I was the excitement. ... I was the party and that’s the way I lived, and it was the wrong way.”

He has his life back now.

Wareham says he appreciates all the support and love he received from his family and friends.

He’s finally in charge of where he goes in life and that’s something he never thought was possible for the years he was in trouble with the law.

“It’s a dark place if you let it consume you ... let it guide you,” he said.

Wareham no longer focuses on what led him down the wrong path.

He’s just enjoying life on the new road.

 

Education helped Wareham get his game back

Christian Wareham never forgot his first face-to-face with a parole officer when he began serving a 26-month federal prison sentence for a stealing spree.

Seated across from the female parole officer in chains and cuffs, Wareham was asked what he wanted to do with his life when he got out.

He looked at the woman, whose full name he couldn’t recall, and told her he would love to go to university and one day be an engineer. It appealed to him because he knew it would mean making good money.

He was told he should be a little more realistic in his goals. Wareham was surprised by the response, but it was something he needed to hear at the time. It shook him.

“That lit a fire under my ass and I never forgot what that woman said to me.”

He figured the parole officer counted him out and pegged him with other inmates who wouldn’t amount to much.

“Nobody ever done that to me,” Wareham said. “Everyone always supported me. Nobody had the balls to sit in a f**king chair across from me and tell me like it really was and it took this woman to do it.”

There have been rough patches along the way, but life took on a much bigger meaning to him when his daughter was born. It was now time for him to make sure she had a much better life than what he could provide as an addict who took the long road to repairing the damage.

His first step in getting a handle on his future was going to Mount Allison University for two years, working on a major in sociology and minor in economics, with hopes of providing a better life for himself and three-year-old daughter Shyloe.

The single dad would spend two summers taking his daughter with him on the jobsite with a landscaping company in an effort to pay his way through school. In the end he couldn’t afford to stay in school without being able to afford daycare for his child so he had to make an alternate plan.

That new plan is unfolding before him as he’s immersed in his first year of power engineering studies at College of the North Atlantic in Corner Brook.

 “When my daughter was born that put the stamp on it. — There’s no turning back,” he said.

He’s forging ahead with optimism knowing there were people who believed in him even when he had moments when he couldn’t fight the fight.

“The saddest thing in life is wasted talent,” he said. “There’s nothing that hurts more, especially when you got it.”

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