Divers are strong. Good divers have to be able to use their muscles to launch themselves into the air, make their bodies do some crazy stunt, and deal with the impact of the fall. Everyone knows Chase as being one of the strongest people they’ve ever met, and I’m sure I will hear no argument when I say that the guy was a beast. I used to describe him as being the hulk … but mini. The best part is the amount of pride he had in his strength. He worked unimaginably hard to acquire all that muscle and had every right to be as proud as he was.
Chase Gaddy’s strength went beyond the physical, because although he was able to physically carry you when you were weak, or pick you up when you had fallen, he also could do those things with his energetic spirit. He was a strong and true friend; bringing me DayQuil when I was sick, driving me to Taco Bell (anyone who knows me knows that’s a really big deal), standing up for me in bad situations, making sure I always got home, and forever being there to support me.
Divers are flexible. We bend into weird positions, do crazy stretches, and fold in half like it’s nothing. Flexibility is also about rolling with the punches and being able to adapt to what’s happening around you. This is the kind of flexibility Chase had, ‘cause with all that muscle you know he wasn’t the first kind! When unexpected things would happen, he wouldn’t stress, he just would tell you it would be alright and move on to whatever was next. He was always living in the moment, but looking toward the future.
Divers are brave. It is necessary to be up for anything and be excited to take risks. You are allowed to have fears; that’s natural, but it is important to be able to overcome them. Chase was always up for a challenge and eager to pass his goals. He had a tremendous ability to have mind-over-matter and was able to overcome obstacles in a heartbeat. The kind of bravery he had was that of someone with guts, someone who is passionate about living and ready for a thrill.
For a diver, there is a moment in the air every once in a while when you feel your breath being taken away—adrenaline rushes through you, and excitement overcomes your mind. I believe that this is the kind of moment Chase loved. I know he enjoyed giving these moments to other people and helping them overcome their fears. At our conference meet, Chase sat on the side of the pool through my entire warm up and encouraged me to do my best. He watched every dive during competition, giving me looks of reassurance before the ones he knew I was afraid of. He pushed me to do things I’ve always wanted to do, and my memory of him will continue to motivate me. A lot of times we find ourselves afraid to be the person we want to be, but Chase was not that kind of person.
Regardless of fears he may have had, Chase was true to himself and basked in the joy of being exactly who he knew he was. He did not just live, he lived courageously.