This last week presented enormous personal challenges for me. I had a couple interviews planned and set aside time for my writing and editing process, however, “Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.” Allen Saunders wrote it in 1957, John Lennon popularized it a few years later, but it has taken me this long to learn that lesson, and I still struggle with putting it into practice at times. Unfortunately it means that this week I will be unable to feature one of Santee’s most interesting citizens. In an attempt to not leave you entirely empty handed for a week, I will instead introduce you to one of our less than exciting citizens, me.
My name is Dale Chambless. My family moved to Santee in 1991 when I was 11 years old. I went to Hill Creek and Santana and have fond memories of both. I continued my education locally and earned my bachelors degree in Social Science, meaning that, by adding a teaching credential I am qualified to teach history, government, geography, and/or economics. By the time I earned my degree, however, I had become disillusioned with the prospect of spending my life in a classroom. I decided instead, to spend my life on a pool deck. I was young, idealistic, and dumb… mostly just dumb.
I spent most of my “career” coaching and officiating water polo. Most of that time was at Santana, coaching the Junior Varsity and Freshman teams. I also served brief stints as an assistant coach at Granite Hills, Valhalla, and Mesa College. One of the teams I was a part of, a 12 & under youth team, was able to capture a national championship at the Junior Olympics, which was an amazing experience. The highlight of my coaching days came many years later, however, when I got to see one of the players from that 12&U team compete in the Rio Olympics. These days, during the high school seasons, I can still be found on a pool deck most days of the week working as a referee. I enjoy officiating because it keeps me involved in a sport that I love while providing the flexibility to spend the majority of my time as a stay at home parent to my beautiful daughter.
My daughter, Leilani, is celebrating her fourth birthday next week. Somehow in that short amount of time, I have forgotten all but vague, wispy memories of the man I used to be. I remember developing a confidence that, while embarrassingly fake at first, grew to the point it could not be shaken by anything. Life was easy back then, when I was responsible for no one but myself. That memory has become so faded, I wouldn’t even know how to begin faking confidence today. Now I second guess myself at every turn. The only peace of mind I receive anymore comes from the confidence Leilani has in me. I want to be worthy of the trust that she puts in me. She sees me as a knight in shining armor. I wonder how much time I have before she starts to see the cracks in the armor that I see everyday. I’m probably just deluding myself, thinking she doesn’t see them already.
The dwindling of my connection to my former self led to a period of internal chaos followed by a long period of self evaluation and self improvement. It was in this phase where I discovered the term, multipotentialite. Watching my friends from high school and college settle into careers that they enjoyed and seemed to satisfy them created nothing but confusion and despair in me. I could imagine myself enjoying a plethora of different jobs or tasks, but for the life of me, I could not choose one job that I could see myself doing day in and day out for any significant amount of time. This phenomenon is not relegated to my career. It also manifests itself in my hobbies. In the nine years I’ve been married I have enjoyed moderate to severe addictions to disc golf, video games, ukulele, geocaching, cooking, documentaries, gardening, philosophy, reading and painting.
When I choose a hobby I completely immerse myself in it. When I became addicted to gardening I turned my moms small property into a micro-farm. She no longer has a front yard, just raised beds and planter boxes, chickens have taken over her back yard, and her kitchen counter became covered in seedlings. When I was addicted to disc golf I
played every day for months and the discovery of tournaments led to a mini tour, playing in nine states. When I was addicted to cooking I made everything from scratch even when it required being in the kitchen all day. I am fully committed to each of these hobbies until I become moderately competent, or slightly above average, and then my interest level in the activity begins to wane. I always manage to attribute my disappearance to an alternative explanation that is easy for other people to understand because trying to explain my multipotentialite personality adequately and succinctly is nearly impossible.
I am a very outspoken person, sometimes described as a troll, and can often be found stirring the pot of debate. I think that argument done properly is a good thing. It gets people out of their personal bubble and seeing things from a different point of view. My weakness is that I don’t always find the most diplomatic or socially acceptable way to express my views. I believe that truth is the highest virtue, even when it is costly or inconvenient. These pieces of my personality have lost me a great number of friends, but the friends that have remained by my side are cherished above all else.
After reading this, I hope that you have a better understanding of me and feel comfortable enough to come up and say hi the next time you see me at Sprouts or Costco. Writing this helped me come to some realizations and led to a better understanding of myself.
Once again, I extend my most sincere apologies to you, the reader, for failing my mission to feature Santee’s most interesting people so early in my quest. Based on my personality and my past behavior, however, I feel confident that you can expect this project to improve steadily to a level of moderate readability in the not too distant future. I look forward to the journey.