“My priority was to become a good father” -Ben Cahoon

Former Alouettes star player Ben Cahoon is a Mormon, member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Saints. This millenarian religion, based on proselytism, is based on the Bible, but is not part of Christianity.

Tithing is the custom of members giving one-tenth of their annual income to the Church. It constitutes the main source of income for the Church.

Ben explained to me that tithing was not obligatory. Each year, he gives a tenth of his annual income to the Church.

On the field, he never had to face racist insults from players or fans. On the contrary, he confided to me that the majority of people are poorly informed about his beliefs and his way of life.

Often he would have conversations with friends or teammates about his lifestyle, but he never tried to impose his lifestyle on them.

A better person

His religious beliefs had a huge impact on his personal and family life. His beliefs made him a better person, but he never imposed them on his four daughters. His religious teaching helps him know who he is and guides him in what he wants to become.

This helped him become a good family man. However, in what he wants to become, he has not found an answer, but he believes that his religious beliefs will guide him.

Ben is a native of Utah; however, before his birth, his parents lived in Alberta. He stayed in Alberta and Beaconsfield for eight years, as his father completed his studies at Concordia University.

He loved his childhood in Quebec, when he attended elementary school in Beaconsfield.

He discovered the pleasures of winter, like sliding off the roof of a two-story house into a snowbank.

Ben, who followed the prowess of the Canadian, the Expos and the Alouettes, would never have thought that one day he would wear the colors of the Als.

His 13 years with the Alouettes allowed him to discover the neighborhoods where he lived, such as Little Italy and Nuns’ Island. His wife and four daughters, who learned to live as a unit, supported each other.

Fired for the first time

Ben Cahoon lifting the Gray Cup in an Alouettes uniform, November 28, 2010.

Archive photo, REUTERS

Well, your parents and grandparents are Canadians.

They lived in Alberta. Before I was born, my parents moved to Utah because my father wanted to go there to further his education. The family moved back to Alberta not too long after I was born. Today, I live very close to Salt Lake City.

Your father’s influence.

His desire to win. Although my failures were frustrating, they helped me understand that I had to work hard if I wanted to succeed.

Your father, Ken, was the coach of the women’s basketball team.

He was the coach of the women’s basketball team at the University of Alberta. Once home, he challenged me to see who would make the most baskets.

Your mother was the balance of the family.

My mother, Joan, was a caring and loving mother to my brothers and sisters. She ran her own business, but every morning and evening we had a hot meal.

The gospel has improved your life.

To begin with, my parents never imposed their religious thoughts on me, nor did I do so with my four daughters. It’s simply my life choice.

We must set an example.

I can’t force my children to believe in what I do, but I must guide them by example. We are a family that goes to church every Sunday, but it is the children’s choice to accompany us. My wife and I are very proud of our four daughters.

Was football a priority for you?

Football was my job. My desire to win was my ultimate goal. I am proud of what I accomplished with the Alouettes. However, my priority in life was to become a good father.

How did you accept your retirement from football?

Firstly, I never retired, I just changed my job from football player to sales representative.

Jason Maas wanted to hire you as an assistant in Edmonton.

The current head coach of the Alouettes, Jason Maas, held the same position at the time as the one he held in Edmonton. We had great meetings, but I decided, for the sake of my family, to move back to Utah.

Your wife, Kim, is the cornerstone of the family.

She carried the weight of the family during the years I played. The many sacrifices she had to make, like having to move every year without ever complaining. She made it possible for me to play. In closing, we are recently the grandparents of a beautiful granddaughter.

The main lesson you learned.

Without a doubt, through trials and mistakes in life, you become a better person.

You were hired as coach at BYU.

I had a great four years, but the hardest part was the lack of decision-making power with the players. I couldn’t decide how a player was going to play, but simply guide them.

A first for you, you were fired.

After four years of hard work, the coaching staff was fired. I have never been fired during high school, college, or in my professional career.

Your reaction.

It felt like a hammer had crushed my skull. I was shaken. What was I going to do to feed my family and give them a good quality of life? However, I did not learn anything from this experience.

You returned to work as a coach at BYU.

A few years later, I was hired back as an assistant coach, only to be fired again two years later. This time it really hurt.

Losing a game is demoralizing, but losing a job at 40 is very difficult.

I’m not looking for any sympathy, there are much worse things in life than that. However, I understood for the first time how a player felt when he was fired. I rather have a thought for a young person in his twenties who saw his dream end.

You are VP of sales at G2G

G2G is a company offering protein bars, which favors home delivery. I would like to introduce our product into large grocery stores in Quebec and the rest of Canada. Closing a sale is satisfying, but never like after a win.

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