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sports

The upside of anger With a tough love that breeds a deep loyalty, UNLV baseball coach Tim Chambers is bringing the program around the bases B  y Rob Miech

T

im Chambers demanded that someone open the cherrywood casket. He wanted one last look at his father. He asked the grieving widow, Mrs. Chambers, to open it. She refused. He asked the priest. In front of the mourners who’d gathered at the funeral home, Chambers threatened to fling it open himself. Finally, the place was cleared, the lid lifted. His father, Connie Chambers, lie in repose, a soft pack of Marlboro Lights and a square of chocolate cake on a napkin

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on his chest. Tim nodded. He sat next to his wife Kim, finally satisfied. Good riddance, Tim thought. Good riddance to the man Tim says he had once hit in the head with a cast-iron skillet after Tim found his pregnant mother Rena on the kitchen floor — after she’d been kicked into submission by Connie. Good riddance to the deadbeat dad who favored the bar stool over his family, the man who never saw his son play in one of his many athletic events. The man who used an extension cord

as a whip. The man who’d make Tim stand naked in the corner, hands on his ankles, for hours. Near the end of his life, the frail father cowered in the presence of his adult, athletic son; but Tim only ever struck in defense. The grating shrill of that voice would never again ring in Tim’s ears. Or so he thought. It is the epic paradox of the son’s life, then, that the old man still lingers in Chambers’ mind 16 years after his death. “I hope he’s up there, watching,” the 49-year-old UNLV baseball coach says with contempt. “I want him to be crying right now as he sees me. I don’t know if you go somewhere ‘after,’ but I hope so. I live my life to be everything he wasn’t.” That everything includes an unabashed love for his wife Kim, his daughters McKenzie and Chase, and scores of “sons” who’ve played baseball for him at Bishop Gorman High School, the College of Southern Nevada and UNLV. His success will result in Chambers becoming the

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Desert Companion - May 2014  

Your guide to living in southern Nevada