Hello Flight Fanatics!!! Welcome to my first blog. My name is Rich Chaber. I am originally from Danbury,CT. I recently relocated here to sunny Orlando! With my first blog, I would like to address all the children out there who were ever told that they couldn’t DO something. For example, making a sports team. I have dealt with this my whole life, and even now, up until the Florida Flight, I have still dealt with it.
This season, I am going to provide you with living proof of how dreams CAN and DO come true. I went to a high school that had almost 3,000 students. Imagine having 3,000 peers to mingle with in high school (compare it to the size of a small university). Our basketball team was highly regarded in the tri-state area of NY,NJ, and CT – always ranked in the top 3 in the state every year. Approximately 400 – 500 athletes would try out for the basketball team, all hoping for one of the twenty-four spots available (12 on junior varsity and 12 on varsity). Out of the 12 on the varsity squad, there were only 5 starting spots available, and a team rarely plays more than 8-9 guys on a regular basis.
Although I was maybe 5ft 7, 120 lbs soaking wet, and skinny as a rail, my goal was to become a starter on the team. All I heard on a daily basis was “Rich, why are you practicing so much? You will NEVER make the team!” I was laughed at by other athlete’s because I would never leave the court after everyone went home. Other quotes like “Rich, why are you staying here when no one else is playing? You will NEVER make the team!” “The coaches have never even heard of you Rich!”
You would think that would be enough to make me give up, right? WRONG!! It made me practice even harder! During try-outs, I kept that famous line memorized in my head every minute. I kept saying to myself “Rich, you will NEVER make the team. For every shot I attempted, for every loose ball I ran after, for every pass I made, and for every suicide I had to run, that famous line fed my motivation and my hunger. I had come too far to NOT make this team. With all of the odds against me, I always kept my faith in God which in turn kept faith in myself, because the Lord knew how hard I had worked and what I had to endure through all of it.
All of a sudden, a quiet peace came over me in try-outs (day 2), and I literally stole the whole show. I had the seniors (1 a blue chip All-American) saying, “Woah, how did he get so good?” I remember my brother telling me he was on the sideline when they were saying that, and he said, and I quote, “It’s because he NEVER gave up, and he practiced harder then anyone I have ever seen practice.”
On day 3, the roster was listed on the front door of a busy hallway by the coach’s office that morning (Judgement day). I walked slowly towards the HUGE crowd. Some kids were celebrating. Others were crying. I edged my skinny butt up towards the front to see the following on that list. #7. Rich Chaber (Varsity). Talk about relief…a feeling of accomplishment,. I went on to help lead my team to 3 consecutive class LL championships, including a state champion runner-up against Marcus Camby and company.
The point of this blog is this: NEVER EVER listen to people who try to tell you that you can NEVER do something. Instead, use that humility and anger and channel it into hard work, practice and sacrifice. Motivation is a very powerful tool, and you can not let it pass you by. Embrace it, and use every bit of it. My personal story gets a lot better. I am looking forward to blogging again and telling the rest. Just a quick note, those same kids that were giving me such a hard time NEVER made the team. Rather than despise them, I actually thanked them. Some of them asked me “ why are you thanking us? We harassed you every time we saw you? My reply to them was simply, “That’s why!”
If you would like to hear more details about my story, please come and talk to me at any Flight function and it would be my honor to speak with you. Take care everyone, and please follow your Florida Flight this year. We have a lot in store for you all! God bless you all!! — Rich Chaber