John Bradshaw - Conversation with Chuck Tache
To work for the National Basketball Association, to be on the inside in the NBA, would be considered the pinnacle of success for many people. One man was on the inside, but now, he says he's entered into a bigger and better stadium. He's Chuck Tache. I'm John Bradshaw, and this is our conversation.
John Bradshaw: Chuck Tache, thanks so much for being here.
Chuck Tache: Hey, praise God. Thank you for having me. It is a pleasure.
John Bradshaw: Let's go back to the beginning. So you spent some years on the inside of the National Basketball Association, but let's go back. Where did you spring from?
Chuck Tache: Erie, Pennsylvania is actually where, I guess you can say, is my hub. When I was 10 years old, we moved back, my mother and my sister. We moved back to Erie, Pennsylvania, and so that's where I grew up.
John Bradshaw: So where did your love of sport come from?
Chuck Tache: My love of sport, if you want to talk about person, it was my father pretty much. Baseball was a very big thing. Him and I used to play a lot of baseball. I just grew up that sports was big in my family and grew up watching the Oakland Raiders. My father knew somebody from the Oakland Raiders and so NFL was big, and I loved that arena. I love sports.
— Now at the same time, so you ended up making a career in professional sports, but at the same time as a kid, you were raised in a Christian home.
— I was. I was actually raised in an Adventist Christian home and went to church. I loved going to church. I was one of those kids that loved going to Sabbath School. I loved talking about God, learning about Jesus Christ. It was very dear to my heart. In fact, when I was nine years old, we were actually in Nebraska, and my mother and I went to a Heritage Singers concert.
— Nice, yeah.
— And they had an alter call, and at nine years old, I went down and gave my life to Christ.
— I was very strong in faith at my younger years.
— Now in another conversation, I had a fellow sitting right where you were, and he described how sport ended up being a pull in his life that kind of angled him away from God, and he saw some warning signs. It's not that sport is inherently evil, there's a lot to be said for camaraderie and exercise and physicality and team spirit and all that stuff, but somewhere along the line, it seems that your love for sport and your love for God ended up just conflicting a little bit.
— It did. You know, sports was great, pretty much weekdays and so forth. I didn't really have any conflict with the Sabbath. And even at that time, if I did, I chose at a younger age, nope, I'm not gonna do that. And as I got older, when I started playing football, I really loved playing football, It gave me a lot of character. You talking about sports.
— It does, the camaraderie. And some things that occurred in my life, when I got on that football field, it really helped me confidence wise. And it helped me build the character that I believe that I have today. But then I went to public school, and well, my junior year of high school was really when, okay, I'm gonna be varsity. Now it was this realization that Friday night football games, the Friday night lights and or Saturday afternoons. And I had to make a decision. And it was a struggle for about this much, to be honest with you.
— But it was a struggle, but I was like, "No". The draw was too strong for me. And I said, "No, I'm playing football". And, you know, that one little step, sometimes, actually then blurs other areas of your walk with God.
— You know, I think when we're kids and when we're parents, we've gotta think through what we might be setting our kids up for or where our kids might be going to church. You gotta be mindful of this as well. You mentioned the Sabbath. So as a Seventh-day Adventist, you were raised to observe the seventh-day Sabbath according to the Bible from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday, and it meant something to you more than just an hour at church, that day was sacred time. Remember talking to a young fellow, he was a high school senior, and he'd been offered a full ride at a university in New York city to wrestle. And it was, "So what are you gonna do, man"? And he's like, "Ah, I'm gonna be true to God. I'm not gonna take it". And a week later, he was on the plane. Five years at a big time university in New York City, versus who knows what? And we might talk about the versus who knows what because it always works out best when you go God's way.
— Amen, amen. But as a young guy, there was a conflict, it was difficult. So it began with the Friday night football, yeah?
— Yeah, it began with that. But, you know, what's interesting is of course in high school, and now you're on the football team, and you're the varsity and, you know, other things kinda fall into play with that.
— I injured myself in my senior year, and that's actually where sports medicine came into play.
— Yeah, tell me about that.
— Well, I injured myself, and I went to a sports medicine, Hamot Sports Medicine, and a physical therapist took care of my shoulder. I really loved that. I enjoyed, like, taking care of myself and so forth. That drew me into that kind of realm. And so that's kind of where sports medicine was birthed. It was more physical therapy at that time. And so I was wondering, is that something that I might be interested in?
— So what happened with your relationship with God? Your a young guy. You're in high school. Friday nights now. You're not following as closely to the principles you were raised with. Where'd that go?
— Well, it really went from, I still went to church, but then there's a thing of playing church. So I'd go to church, and I will tell you, I still loved it. I mean, you know...
— Sure. God didn't leave my heart. I like to say that I put God... I said, "All right, come on, I'm gonna drag you along wherever I am". But I got into different said arenas that, you know, it got me into some things on the weekends and with high school friends.
— Fall off, fall off.
— Yeah, You know, that were not godly, definitely. And then that actually continued in college as well. You know, I wasn't a bad kid.
— It wasn't like I was breaking the law, and I was doing bad, bad things.
— But there's a whole different arena out there that Satan wants to get ahold of you.
— I think it's touching on something really important and that is it's not about being a good kid or a bad kid, but what I'm hearing you say, and correct me if I'm wrong, the secular began to overtake the sacred.
— Very much so.
— And this is what we've all got to guard against. We all live in this world, and it's a very secular world. So it's a matter of keeping the secular out to the degree that it doesn't overtake you and numb your spiritual perceptions. Talk to me about that drift that went on. Describe that. I don't wanna get into the gory details, but what's going on in your mind and in your heart? I remember as a young Christian, not a Sabbath-keeping Christian, becoming successful in my career, and it just got easier to be slack about the spiritual and slowly that just started to occupy a less important place in my life. Not that I didn't care about God, but it was, "Maybe I'll get back to you when I'm done doing my thing".
— Yeah, that's pretty much it. And in the younger years, I guess you can say, you know, I'm hanging out with my friends and doing things I know that wasn't supposed to really supposed to be doing. Satan presents, you know, sin can be fun.
— And that's what it was. It became more of I'm gonna have some fun, and look at me, I'm with some great group of guys, and I'm on the football team and we hang out and, you know, you kind of walked with a little step.
— Oh yeah.
— And, you know, it did, that secular kind of took over my life. And now my direction, my mind was not towards God. It was towards, what is it that I want to do? What do I want to do in my, in my future?
— So where did your career go, initially?
— So my career went, I graduated, well, I went to college and then the real quick, when I saw a coat that a gentleman had on, in between my freshman and sophomore year of college, and it had Edinboro University Sports Medicine. And I'm like, "Where did you get that coat"? And he just got startled. And he goes, "Well, I'm a student trainer". And I went directly to the training room area. I didn't really quite know what that sports medicine and athletic training was all about. When I walked in I said, "I wanna be a student trainer". So I filled out my application. I actually have my first application that I ever did. And when I walked into that training room, I'm just gonna tell you, I was home. I can picture it now, just the smell, the atmosphere, the everything. That's where I was gonna be. And from that time on, I was gonna be in the pros. That's where I was going. I became a student trainer. And through college, it was just fantastic. I really excelled in it.
— And explain to me what a trainer does.
— So an athletic trainer... Thank you for that question because a lot of people think an athletic trainer trains athletes, that's really not. If you take a look at physical therapy, most people know what physical therapy is. An athletic trainer is sports medicine. It's really physical therapy directly with athletes. And you can work in a various different areas. Sports is your a big area. And so when an athlete gets injured, when a player gets injured, if you watch sports, and you see them running out there, and they're taking a look at the, that's an athletic trainer. And there's so much more behind the scenes with rehabilitation and so forth. And taping, you see the tape on their own arms. I love doing that stuff.
— It's so funny how it's evolved over the years. When I was a kid and we played rugby, there was usually somebody on the sideline with a bottle of magic water, and we'd refer to it as the magic water. Some guy'd be down on the ground, he just got wiped out. Someone broke him into an attack, and they come out and pour a little magic water on his, rubber his knee, and he's up.
— Get up or get. And he's gone, you know? It's just the most astonishing thing. Who knows what kind of injury that guy was carrying around. What kind of rehab he needed or maybe physical therapy or some something. You know, you play. You get hit. You limp for a week. You get back on the field and end up banging yourself into oblivion, which is probably not a great thing.
— I couldn't even lift my arm one time in playing. And it was like, coach said, "Can you move your arm"? I went... He goes, "All right, get back out there.
— You're fine. Get back out there.
— Yeah, that's right.
— And it's changed now, hasn't it?
— Oh, definitely. Definitely.
— It's really changed.
— You know, and particularly in professional sports and working in the NBA, you're talking about million dollar athletes. You know, now there's an investment there. And so you gotta be on your game, and you gotta be good. And I felt really privileged to be there.
— So somehow you, as a student trainer, you decide in your heart, I wanna work in the pros. Well, you did. So talk to me about that road from college to ending up actually doing this thing for a living and in the area that you dreamed about working in.
— So what's interesting is I played sports Friday night, Saturday, and guess what I did as an athletic trainer, I covered Friday night football games, Saturdays, all of those things that just continued to be a whirlwind in my life. That was my focus now. God was kind of on the side. And I worked there a couple years, and I decided I need to get to a bigger city. And so I moved to Atlanta, Georgia. And I just by chance, whether by chance, who knows what, but I met a gentleman. Him and I became like joined at the hip, good friends, almost like brothers. And just so happened, he helped out with the Atlanta Hawks. And I went and I kind of pushed my way in. And players got to know me and head trainer got to know me. And I started helping out with them and volunteering. From there, I was working my way now in the NBA. I really liked the NFL, but NBA was kind of my road. Ted Turner owned the Atlanta Hawks.
— Basketball organization.
— Basketball, NBA. Yeah, National Basketball Association. He owned the Atlanta Hawks. He also owned a company called World Championship Wrestling. Now I was working my way to the NBA, but all of a sudden they wanted an athletic trainer for World Championship Wrestling. This is professional wrestling. The one name that I think you can bring out, some people may not know professional wrestling, is Hulk Hogan. Hulk Hogan was kind of the iconic.
— Sure, you don't even have to know anything about wrestling to know Hulk Hogan. Still is really a massive personality.
— So, my friend was close to getting in the NBA. He said, "I'm not, I wouldn't take that job". He said, "But that job's for you". So I interviewed, and I became the athletic trainer for World Championship Wrestling.
— Have mercy.
— For four years.
— That's an interesting thing, isn't it? That's a detour on the way to the NBA. But so you gotta tell me something about that. These guys have gotta be... I mean, I know a lot of it's pretty well staged and choreographed and so forth, but for all that, I couldn't do that stuff choreographed. So what do they go through physically? And what do you patching up as a trainer with these guys?
— It's incredible what people don't know. When they're flying around, one, the skill level that they have in regards to flying and landing on people just right. But, you know, they didn't land on people just right many times.
— I probably had, as an athletic trainer, more injuries in professional wrestling than I think anywhere else that I worked, it seemed like.
— They battered their body. And it was actually really great. I was the first athletic trainer, that I know of, the first athletic trainer in professional wrestling. And it was a very interesting dynamics that I came in and that's kind of an inside little area. And here I am, an outsider.
— Had to be interesting for the athletes too, 'cause they'd never had a trainer sticking his nose in their business before.
— It that's exactly right. And so, I actually had a professional wrestler that played for the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship. And he sat down with me. He said, "Chuck". And they called me coach, actually.
— Oh, how about that.
— I don't know where that came... But now I'm still coach and that's another story. But they called me coach and he said, "Coach," he said, "Let us come to you". He said, "You just sit". He goes, "You do your thing. Get yourself set up". He goes, "They'll start seeing what your worth is". He goes, "I know what your worth is". And I would work on him before his matches. And all of a sudden, gradually people started seeing it. Then I was busy and taping the guys up and taking care of them. But then I was working on the road too. So I'd work from, usually on the road, Thursday nights or Friday nights. We'd have a Friday night match, Saturday night match, Sunday night, and then it turned into Monday Night Nitro. And now I'm on the road. That was my life. And the road is definitely not a godly area to be in. And, you know, that was kinda my focus.
— Yeah, you hear some stories about these guys, hair-raising. But let me ask you this, just a technical question.
— How often are these guys wrestling?
— So the main stayers. When Hulk Hogan actually came in, the WCW rules say that. And then you had the new world order that ended up coming in. And those were the headliners. And we would go on the road, and sometimes we might have a Thursday night match, but many times it was, we flew out, on Thursday or Friday. We'd wrestle every week. And we would go to towns. So we would work. We would do a live show on a Friday night. Then we would do a live show on a Saturday night, and we'd do a live show on a Sunday night.
— Same guys wrestling?
— Same guys wrestling. And then we'd have Monday Night Nitro. Now, along with that, we also had Pay-Per-Views. Right, so you had your Halloween Havoc or your whatever the...
— The big event.
— Yeah, the big bash or whatever. So you might have a Saturday night there, you might have a Sunday night, depending on when they decided to do a match up. But they wrestled every week. And, you know, sometimes maybe they would mix up some of the guys. Of course I was always there. But you might mix some of the guys, but they were wrestling every week. And the injuries, back injuries. Definitely knee injuries. I had some interesting, a lot of people talk about ACLs. ACL injury that's can be the life of an athlete injured, you know, done. But they would get PCL injuries. You have a posterior cruise ship ligament, and they would drop to their knees when they would fall. And they would take that, not to get in the anatomical, but the tibia, and they'd just drop that thing in just constantly. And I'd have PCL injuries. I actually had a guy rupture his quadricep tendon, the complete four-muscle group, just ruptured and just rolled right up. And so it was those kind of injuries.
— Yeah, I can feel that.
— In just a moment, we're gonna talk about your journey into the NBA and what that was like, your journey into, out of, into, out of, and back to Jesus. He's Chuck Tache. I'm John Bradshaw. This is "Conversations" brought to you by It Is Written. We'll be back with more in just a moment.
John Bradshaw: Welcome back to "Conversations" brought to you by, It Is Written. My guest is Chuck Tache, who, for a number of years, was a trainer in the National Basketball Association, the NBA. So, a moment ago, you with the WCW.
Chuck Tache: Yeah.
John Bradshaw: Patching up wrestlers, putting guys back together again after their hard falls. And we discussed, there might be some theatrics involved, but this is it's athleticism...
Chuck Tache: Definitely. with real big guys throwing themselves around.
John Bradshaw: So you were there for a while on the road. Tough lifestyle. I think it's pretty easy to figure out, the matches go into the evening, then it's hotels, and it's back on the road and...
Chuck Tache: Hotel bars.
John Bradshaw: Yeah, yeah. Yup, yeah.
Chuck Tache: It's a tough lifestyle for these guys. So you were there for a while, but you got out.
John Bradshaw: Yeah.
Chuck Tache: And then you went to, tell me about that.
John Bradshaw: Well, so, you know, my dream was always, that was only a stop. NBA, NFL was always where I wanted to go.
Chuck Tache: That was the destination.
John Bradshaw: But NBA is where I had a lot of connections. And there was some other positions that I thought that I would get, particularly on the east coast. I was raised in the east coast. So I thought I was gonna be a east coast. So I thought Orlando Magic. I had an opportunity to maybe work for them. No, that door shut. And Atlanta Hawks, I helped out with them, and when a position opened up, I thought, "Well, I'll get that". No, that door shut. And the one position that opened up, the head athletic trainer for the Sacramento Kings called me. And I remember when I got that call, the official call, I was in Detroit, Michigan. Just before we were just doing a show, and I had those big cell phones, and he said, "Chuck,' he goes, "I want you to be my assistant athletic trainer". It was hard for me to even imagine. I sat there after I got off the phone and just taking a deep breath and saying, "I made it. I'm gonna be in the NBA".
Chuck Tache: Dreams come true.
— And we packed up and drove to California. My grandmother, who was a very godly woman, and I really looked up to her in that fashion. And she's said to me, I remember, I can picture her, and she said, "Chuck," she goes, "I don't wanna see you go to California". She goes, "But I believe God wants you in California". She goes, "I just, God, that's where God's directing you". And I'm like, "No, it's the Sacramento Kings. But I guess so. Yes, you know, grandma. Omi, I called her. And so I came to California.
— I know they're people watching us and they're saying, "Man, that this guy got involved in professional sports. It was fun from a worldly point of view, suicidal from a spiritual point of view". And I don't think you're really gonna disagree with that.
— But, think your grandmother was right. Once you step from here to here, God does not stop directing you. I've seen this in my own life when I worked in a very secular industry. God led me from here to here, to here, to here. Within that mess, because he knew that's how he's gonna lead me on out. So it's fascinating too, that the Lord was leading you. He wasn't leading you to the Kings. He was leading you to the King of kings. But at the same time, it's so fascinating, he gave you the desire of your heart, knowing that, in that environment, you'd end up a man after his heart. It's just fascinating how God works, isn't it?
— Pricks of the heart, I call them. I have different stories that occurred in my life from WCW, to the Kings, to any in my life. There were just these little pricks of the heart that God would remind me and say, "Hey, by the way, Chuck, remember me? You loved me. You loved me, don't you? You wanna be". I would feel that, but I was so centered on where I wanted to go. One thing that I remember was I was in the United Center where the Chicago Bulls, and everyone knows, the Michael Jordan and that team and everything. It was '97, Michael Jordan came back and so forth. You know, they were iconic a little earlier than that. However, I stood there, center court, Chicago Bulls, that logo, that logo, that iconic logo, and I just looked around and I'm like, and I see my team practicing over here, and I'm like, "That's my team, and here I am at the United Center. I've arrived". It was an incredible, incredible feeling that, you know, not many people get that opportunity. And here I am, that I'm here.
— And it was a good King's team too.
— It was a good Kings team. That first year, we actually didn't make the playoffs. But then in 1998...
— Yeah, then it all began,
— But you see in 1997, if I continue on, that near the Christmastime, we were down in the locker room, down in the training room, and Shriner's Hospital, they bring the kids to Arco Arena, that was where the Kings were, and the kids interact with the players. And I was down there in my office, and I told the head athletic trainer, I said, "I think I'm gonna go upstairs and just watch the kids, the players interact with the kids". I enjoyed that. So I went up there. And I have to just tell you that I got there and somebody caught my eye. A girl caught my eye. And 'cause, of course, they had to have the nurses come with the kids. And I walked over and introduced myself. And I said, "Hi, how you doing"? and so forth. And we started having this conversation. It was a God-led conversation because somehow we got onto where we went to college. And I said, "Well, I went to Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, probably wouldn't know that school. Where did you go"? And she said, "Oh, I went to a small school in the south". I go, "Where did you go"? She goes, "I went to Southern University". And I'm like, "Oh, Southern"? So she looks at me and she goes, "Are you an Adventist"? How did I answer that? I don't know how to answer that because, to me, was I even a Christian at that time? I wasn't even an Adventist. And I said, "Well, I was raised Adventist". I don't remember everything I said, of course. Well, of course, I was attracted to meet her, right? But she goes, "Oh"! With me saying that she goes, " You should come to the church where my husband is the youth pastor". And of course, you know, I just was like, "Yeah, I should". But what a wonderful woman. And just the conversation, you could tell dispositions. I honestly believe. You can tell when somebody is just the purity, the goodness. There's a love. There's just something there that they walk with.
— Think about how God set you up for this. What I mean is, there you were, you're drifting from God, you get into this very secular thing. You are, kind of on a certain sense, done with God. Maybe you get back to him later. He weren't in your front pocket. He was way in your back pocket somewhere, or you left him back home on a kitchen counter. And God drops a Christian woman, boomer right there. And it wasn't just this spoke to you. I mean, I'm assuming this spoke to your heart. This was a kind of a wake up call.
— More than you know because, of course, being on the road and just, in the general sense of secularism, the women that I would go out with, the women that I meet, were not Christians. And I wasn't necessarily looking for a Christian women. However, as you said, my heart desires was actually wanting something like that. So that worked on me. So that conversation and her, it worked on me. We started conversing, God and I. And he'd say, "You know, you want a woman like that, right? You want a really nice woman, good Christian woman, Chuck, don't you"? And I'm like, "Well, yeah. I kinda do. Well, you know God, tell you what, you bring a good Christian woman to me, maybe I might start walking my way towards you. How about that? We can work that one out, huh, God"? And God just, flat no. It was definitely a flat no. He's like, "No, Chuck". He goes, "You're coming to me. You're going to change because there's no Christian woman that should or would go out with you. They shouldn't in the condition that you're in". He goes, "So you're coming to me before that ever happens".
— You had the sense that God was calling you, but man, you're at the height of your powers. You're at the top of your game. You're working in the NBA. The Kings made the playoffs. You had guys like Vlade Divac and Chris Webber.
— That was before that.
— It was before?
— This was before.
— This was before. No, sure. So this is in the back of your mind and boom, now you're working with bonafide superstars.
— Yeah, yeah.
— So you, this is a conflict. I mean, you now professionally, this is big stuff, and it's not just that you had a team that was firing well back at Arco, but you're on the road, and you're turning up at the Staple Center to see Kobe and Shaq play. And you mentioned the United Center, and there's Michael Jordan, the greatest player ever lived. How in the world did you get out of that? And how did you even want to get out of that?
— Well, in that time, again, the '97, '98 was the Mitch Richmond era. It was the year before God gave me the privilege to work with Chris Webber and so forth the year after that. But that year that I left was with the Mitch Richmond, kind of, era.
— Oh, you left there?
— Yeah, I left. What ended up happening was that continued to work on my heart. And God is good 'cause he says, "You know what"? He goes, "You're gonna stay off the road". So the head trainer goes, "Hey Chuck, we have an athlete, that's injured, and you're gonna do rehab with them". And so I did rehab and he said, "It would be better off the road". Just so happens I thought of that invitation. I'm gonna go to Central Seventh Adventist Church. And I did. And I went, and I heard the sermon. And I actually got up on the altar call. I want to tell you. I got up. It touched my heart. I got up and nobody to talked to me. It was incredible. And I, kind of, slid back down and people go. That facial expression's great because you see you go, "Well, what church would do that"? Well, God was basically making a point. I know saying, "You're not ready for this. You're not ready for this commitment. I gotta work on you more". And through those months, through those weeks actually, I got to go to church more. And I got a family, a church family that I would go spend Sabbath with. I fell in love with Jesus Christ. It just became this, I don't want this to end. And that's what actually happened. The NBA was just, here I am. But now the NBA actually started almost taking second stage because I couldn't wait to go to church. And I was doing my job. I was working. I was behind the bench watching the games. Fantastic. I was still in the arena. But then it wasn't 'til January. In January, one night, I couldn't sleep. So I called my mother, or my grandmother. I said, I woke up, well, didn't wake up. I said, "What do I do? What do I do? I'm having this battle going on". She goes, "Well, why don't you talk to a pastor at the church"? So I called and said, "I need to talk to someone". He goes, "Well," he goes, "let's, you know, next week what's your schedule"? I said, "No, I need to talk to someone now". And he goes, "Okay". Such gracious, Pastor Tim Cross who baptized me. And I went there, and I told him my story. I told him everything. And I was crying, and I was just, what do I do? This is everything I dreamed about. This was everything, everything to me. God can't be telling me, "You've got to leave". But he said, "As I say, 360 degrees complete in Christ. Chuck, you have to give me all. I'm not taking anything less anymore". I fell to my knees, and I cried. And I said, "I know what I gotta do". I didn't leave at that time. I stayed until the end of this season. I thought that was the right thing to do. And at the end of the season, there was a battle going on the night before, saying was just like, "You don't need to do this. You don't need to do this". It was like, this was gonna be the end of my life. I even told God. I said, "If I don't make this decision, just go away from me. I don't wanna feel this anymore. Through the years of my life of you pricking my heart and me feeling this. I don't wanna feel it anymore. If I don't make this decision for you, just the Holy Spirit go away". That's a very scary thing to even say.
— You know? I don't know if God would've really took me up on that. But I went in the next morning and I said, to the athletic trainer, we had a conversation before this of another story, I said, "You know, I'd became a born-again Christian". And he's like, "Yeah, Chuck, I know". He wasn't quite in that arena. He thought hypocritical Christians actually from the NBA and from players and that he saw all this. I said, "Well," with that, I said, "I believe in the seventh-day Sabbath, and I'm wondering, could I be the assistant athletic trainer and have Friday night games off and Saturdays"? And he's looking at me.
— Well, that's a no.
— It was pretty much a flat no. He said, "I don't think that would work". You know, professional sports. They don't care what time of year.
— They don't care at all. And what we know is that God has an interesting way of working this out. We're gonna find out more about that in just a second. Don't go away. Back with more with Chuck Tache and our conversation in just a moment.
John Bradshaw: Welcome back to "Conversations" brought to you by It Is Written. I'm speaking with Chuck Tache. A moment ago, there you were working in the National Basketball Association with the Sacramento Kings. You'd returned to your spiritual roots. You are now desiring to be a biblical Christian, keep the seventh-day Sabbath, and you ask a sports organization if you can keep working for them but not working Friday nights or Saturdays. So, how'd that work out for you?
Chuck Tache: Well, the head athletic trainer, kind of, looked at me, You work hard. That was his destination too. So he knows what's in my heart to work in the NBA. That was his heart too. So he's looking at me like I'm crazy. He goes, "I don't think that will work out". He said, "Well, I'll talk to the general manager". And so he goes, "You just go home". I went home. He gives me a call. He says, "Chuck," he goes, "Sure you want me to do this"? I said, "Yes, I want you to do this". Now, the battle is still all going on. I could just feel Satan continuing to be like, "You don't have to do this. You don't have to do this. At any time, you can change your mind. Hey Chuck, you can still be a Christian. Come on! You didn't realize how many people you could maybe reach and being a Christian in the NBA"? But the Sabbath was still there. And so he calls me a second time, and I said, "Just go. Don't call me". And I'm thinking, "Lord," you know? And he calls me back, and he says, "Come on in". I remember sitting there. I was standing by the taping table in the training room, and he looks at me. He goes, "It won't work, Chuck. This won't work". He goes, "So you have a decision to make". And I said, "I knew it wasn't gonna work. In my heart, I knew what was gonna happen". He goes, "I tell you what," you know, great guy. I love him to death. I still do respect him so much. Great trainer. And he goes, "I'll give you a month. You can think about things". He goes, "Work through things". He goes, "It's not gonna work. You have to make a decision". I said, "I don't need a month. I've made my decision". And he just looked at me, and he just said, "Okay". He goes, "I'll give you time alone to, you know". He'd left. And I remember walking through the locker room. Walking through the locker room. I remember walking in that locker room before when I first started. Just looking around. This was my dream. This was my life. And cleaning out my desk and everything. I started crying and thinking to myself, "What am I doing? What am I doing here"? Get in my car, and I was driving away. I don't know how God just does this thing. I looked in the rear view mirror, it's almost like a movie going on here, looked in the rear view mirror, and I could see Arco Arena in the rear view mirror. And I'm driving away, and it's just getting, you know, smaller. I'm crying at this point. I'm just crying. I'm shaking. Like, "What am I doing? What am I doing"? And I, kind of, just lifted up, and I just said, "Lord, I'm yours now. I'm yours. I'm completely yours. I don't have a job. I have no idea where I'm going. I'm here in California. Now what"? At that time, I had greatest peace in my heart I ever experienced, ever. People that have given their life to Christ and just completely know that feeling. And it just, it was like taking a deep breath and going, "Everything's okay. I'm now with God. I am with Christ completely".
— Yeah, but you're with God completely and you're unemployed and you don't know where you're going next. They're a couple things to resolve here, but you had peace, and you were in the will of God. So what did happen next?
— Well, it was the end of April. It took, actually, I didn't miss a paycheck. The head athletic trainer says, "We're gonna pay you up until June".
— I said, "Thank you Lord for that". So I started beaten down. I said, "I don't wanna leave right away. I don't wanna just go back to Pennsylvania or go back wherever and just start my life over again. I wanna find a job and see if that pans out, what happens". So, continue to pray and continue to say, "Lord, open up doors". So, I started talking to different physical therapy groups. There was one physical therapy group. It was called Back To Work Physical Therapy. And I called them actually and said, "Do you have any positions open"? And they were like, "We just filled it". Okay. And I was in that area. And so I thought, well, I was gonna drop my resume off, but I thought, "No, why"? And I was at this one, I don't know if it was Staples or Kinko or whatever, and something said, "Chuck, I can't open up doors that you don't knock on". So I said, "Okay, well, I'll just drop my resume off". I went in there, dropped my resume off. That was, I think a Friday. It was like on Monday called me and said, "Hey, would you like to come in for an interview"? I'm like... Well, I went in for an interview, and here I am with the Kings. I was with the Sacramento Kings before, and they see that in my resume. And they're like, "Why are you here"? Kind of thing. And I didn't wanna say anything. But gradually they worked on me and I said, "Look," I said, "Yeah I was with the Sacramento Kings. I believe in the seventh-day Sabbath. I'm a Seventh-day Adventist Christian. So I won't work on Friday night. And they were like... The person that actually managed the physical therapy was a Seventh-day Adventist. Seventh-day Adventist.
— Oh, how about that?
— And the funny thing is the physical therapy aid that was there, a young woman, I just started working with her. It was actually her. I was gonna take her shift, and it was more of a Friday night thing, you know? And they said to her, "This guy we wanna hire, but, you know, you would have to stay. You would have to do your shift". And she was like, "Just hire him". Well, turns out that that woman is now my wife.
— No way. Yeah.
— Is that right?
— Yeah, she actually is the one that hired me, pretty much.
— Oh, no way.
— Aren't you glad you knocked on that door?
— Amen, I tell you what.
— That was God speaking to you, wasn't it?
— Oh my heavens. Yes, that was fantastic. And perfect woman for me. It was great.
— How 'bout that.
— But then, the second part of me coming back to the Kings, I worked in physical therapy, right? And all of a sudden the head athletic trainer gives me a call. The season was about to start. We actually were in a lockout. So the season was going on, but they weren't playing. And the head athletic trainer calls me and says, "Hey, Chuck, come on out to dinner with me". And I'm like, "Okay". And we went out to dinner, and we're sitting there talking, and he was like, "I enjoy working with you". And he goes, "I want you to continue to be my athletic trainer". He goes, "You'll have Friday night games off and Saturdays".
— That's about unheard of in professional organization like that.
— Very unheard of. I sat there looking at him like, this can't be happening. The professional sports does not work this way. And when the lockout ended, I started back, and that's when the, pretty much, the team came, Chris Webber and the Vlade Divacs and the Peja Stojakovic and Jason Williams was drafted at that time. And then you had Doug Christie and you had all those players, those role players, just fantastic. The bench mob.
— That was really a great team.
— And so forth. And that was 1998. And we pretty much started taking the NBA off by storm. The incredible thing was there was a new lease on life for me. Here I am. I'm in a desire of my heart that I wanted to be. Why God brought me there, I have no idea, but yet, I was praising my God the right way and complete in him.
— So how was it different for you the second time around? I mean, you were different person all together. So what, sort of, eyes were you looking at the NBA through? It's still a very secular thing, very competitive, very cutthroat on some level. You're dealing with extremely secular people, but you are this new individual now. So what changed?
— Well, I changed through God, and the players were really great. They respected me. There were a couple of them that they gave me a hard time. But overall, you know, they appreciated me, and there were some Christians in those groups. And so they respected me in that fashion. The head athletic trainer, you know, I can't say enough, was fantastic with me. Obviously brought me back and respected me. And he was just great. He was just great. The players, they would mess with me. It would be Friday, and I would be going in. We'd have shoot around in the morning, and that was fine. And then the game would be like at 7:00 at night or something. I'd arrive 4:00 in the afternoon four or so. And the sun didn't go down 'til, maybe, just before the game. They would be coming in, and I'd be taking care of them, you know, doing different things and getting them ready for the game. Some of them would come in and they'd be like, "Chuck, Chuck, it's almost sun down. You're gonna turn into a pumpkin. You need to go, you need to leave". And I'd be like, "Guys, guys, I'll handle this. One, I'm here to take care of you. I'm not gonna be here for the game, but I'm gonna stay here to make sure you're okay, and everything is okay. The game is all set, and then I'll leave". It was actually tough for me, to tell you the truth.
— When I left, very loyal person, and it was tough for me. It worked on me. It worked on me for three years.
— Yeah, this time you left, I mean, first time was on your own terms, but this is really, really on your own terms. So what was the decision like to leave that...
— The second time?
— The second time around?
— When I mean leave, I meant, I would leave the arena before the game. But like on Friday night I would sit there, and I'd be just like, "They're playing a game and they're playing a game without me". Not that I desired to be at the game, but I felt like I was, in some part, letting down the team, and it worked on me there.
— The second time it actually turned out to be a blessing. It was very much a blessing. After the third year, I was there for a total of four years, from '97 to 2001, and we were making the playoffs every year. And I just have to say this before, I thought, we're gonna win a championship. And I would talk to God and I would say, "All right, Lord, we're going to the championship, right? I'm gonna get an NBA ring. I'm gonna get that ring, you know? And I'm gonna be sitting there as an NBA Champion athletic trainer". Well of course, with the Kings that didn't happen. God said, "I think that this was good because Chuck, you don't have the ring, but I got a crown of glory in heaven for you".
— That's right.
— And so I rest in that. But the second time, you know, after three years, after the fourth year, but after when I gave my life to Christ, the head trainer said to me, "We need to talk". I knew what it was about. And we went into my office and he goes, "You know, Chuck, I wish you would change your mind". He goes, "I wish I could sit here and just say, 'Just change your mind about all of this.'" He says, "But I know you won't". He says, "So I'm not even gonna ask". I believe right there, that was a sign of respect that he had for me.
— Oh yeah.
— And it's good to be wanted. And it's good to have that. And I hope I did a good job for them. And I hope that the players, they respected me, but I hope someday that why God brought me there, hopefully was a witness. And I'm not perfect. And I always told the guys, "Look, don't look at me as being perfect, a perfect Christian, but I hope that maybe someday I'll see them in heaven. And they'll say, "You know, Chuck, there was that prick of the heart that you gave me at that time". So maybe that was the reason. I don't know. But the head trainer said that. And I said, "Look, I never wanna be a burden to anybody. I'll leave. It's no problem. I mean God has just blessed me throughout. I have a beautiful family.
— Yes you do.
— I run now, through my church, a sports league that we honor the Sabbath, and we have soccer on Sunday mornings or sometimes during the weekday now. I hope I glorify God through that. And I tell the kids, but not just the kids, I want the parents. I want people that are on that edge, just like I was, that are like, maybe playing church, not quite sold out for Christ. Not complete. And all of a sudden they go, "I wanna be that". That's kinda where I'm at.
— I got two more questions for you. One is, so what are you doing now?
— So I am a registered nurse. I'm a registered nurse at Folsom State Prison. I'm actually the nurse instructor. So I've been in the state service, in prison nursing for over 14 years.
— So it's still health based? You're still helping people?
— It's still health based.
— You're still helping men?
— Still helping men. And, and you know what, even in a secular, in particularly in a state service, you know, regards to sharing your faith and that. But, you know, I, not necessarily with inmates, it's very tough in regards to the overfamiliarity, but...
— Yeah, but people know what you about. They know what you stand for. They get your values. You transmit a certain something. So God's still got you
— I speak about my faith. on the front lines of ministry there.
— Yeah, yeah.
— Here's another thing I wanna ask you. So, you're raised to know the Lord, took a detour, got sucked into this vortex of professional sports. It's captivating, it's intoxicating, it's exhilarating, and God got you outta there by some miracle. Often, that's just the absolute end of a person spiritually. But for you, it was not. Talk for a minute to that kid or maybe not even a kid, who's captivated by sport, might not even be sport, but sport's where we're at, and they feel that pull. And they're thinking, how do I resist that? What do I do? I got a scholarship. I've got an offer, or I just plain love it. This is my desire. You've been through that. And it worked out great for you. You're in a fantastic job. You got a great family. You got a good head on your shoulders, a wonderful future and a great present. Speak to that person now, and help us to explain how you can look to the future and say, If I just do this God's way, it's really gonna work out".
— What you say, it's so, so tough. And I was talking to a kid on the Sabbath, just this a Sabbath. What do you say to that? It's such a pull. And you, loving athletes and sports and me loving athletes and sports. And when you love that, you want to reach the top. You can picture yourself in the NFL or in the NBA or in professional golf, you know, the PGA. You can picture yourself there. Then there's this God thing. And sometimes it feels like this is taken away from what I want. What I've learned is we're in a secular world. There are good things. I love athletics. I love sports, but the world is not Christian based, and it's not godly based. And so it's gonna run its own course. It's gonna run its own circle. And unfortunately, we have to look at that and go, "Well, how far can I go? And what do I do with this struggle of I want to be there"? I can only say this, that if you go there, you're missing something here. And eventually, I honestly believe that your void here, that you will always be... There will be a pulling and a draw. It happened with me for years and years. This right here is eternal. It's just, and it's the greatest piece. It's the greatest feeling. It's the greatest that you can ever, ever have. I mean, you can sit there and you can win a Super Bowl or win that ring. But everything's sweeter with Christ, everything is. And let's say you don't get that ring, and you choose God. Oh, God will honor you. He may open up doors that you have no idea. He did for me. I worked in the NBA with the Sabbath off. How does that happen? But then God says, "Hey, all right, it's about time to leave". And I knew that, 'cause my desire was now not that. We look so much into our desires of looking at all this. When we get there, our desire actually turns back here. You see that in so many testimonies. Why is it that people have to listen to testimonies of people coming back to Christ, particularly those that are raised to know the love of Christ? Why do they have to learn all of this stuff out here just to go, "Hey, I'm back". I have a great testimony. Well, God brought you back. The testimony is God's story. You're not great. I'm not great. It's him that's great, you know? I don't know how else to answer that.
— I got one more question for you. There was something going on in your mind and your heart. You called your grandmother. I'd like to tell you I know the answer, but I'm wondering if you're thinking the same thing. What brought about this sensitivity, this change in your heart? What was going on in the background that you started to hear the voice of God cutting through all this? What do you think it was?
— I think that I started learning. Thank you for that story because this is great. I fell in love. There's sometimes we walk in our Christian walk, and it's tough sometimes when you're, maybe, raised in it that deep love. Well, I was falling in love. It's like falling in love with a woman. I was falling in with Jesus Christ. I was falling in love with his way in realizing the purposefulness that he has for me and what that was all about. And I didn't wanna give that up. That was the desire now. And there was no turning back. There was no rest. I was falling in love, and I wanted to marry Jesus.
— I get this idea that maybe your grandmother was praying for you.
— There's no doubt about it. She says, "Oh, she prayed for me every... And you know, she saw me in some conditions sometimes in my younger years. They never said a word. They never said a word. They'd take me out to breakfast and...
— Just love you.
— They'd love me. They never said a word on anything. They never criticized me. They just loved me.
— That's what it takes. Hey, thanks for being here. This has been great. Deeply appreciated.
— Thanks you. Deeply appreciate it. Thank you all so much.
— Thank you. It's a pleasure telling my story and glorifying God.
— Amen, thank you. From the Kings to the King of kings. He's Chuck Tache. I'm John Bradshaw. This has been our conversation. Thanks for being here.