U nderdog stories fascinate us more than anything else. Whether it’s David vs. Goliath or the Cinderella story in the NCAA Basketball Tournament, everybody loves an underdog story. Tales of the little guy fighting the giant resonate with people across the world. It doesn’t matter if the battle is over a trophy or if it’s a life-or-death struggle, we always want the underdog to emerge victorious. One of the most famous underdog stories is the United States men’s Olympic hockey team versus the Soviet Union at the 1980 Winter Olympics. The Soviet team had dominated for years, and even the most hopeful fans doubted if the U.S. team could even score in the game — let alone win. Instead, Team USA pulled off an amazing upset, winning the game 4–3 and earning themselves a place in history. The game inspired what is now one of the most recognizable broadcast calls in history, as Al Michaels screamed that he did, in fact, believe in miracles. Although I have never played hockey, and it is doubtful I am coordinated enough to skate while shooting a puck, I do know what it is like to be the underdog — to be the person everyone expects to lose or to just fold against superior competition. I was born with Cerebral Palsy, a neurological condition that affects my right side. Growing up, I faced numerous surgeries,
The United States hockey team celebrating victory over the Soviets at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY.
what it’s like to wake up thinking, “Is it worth it?” I know what it’s like getting constantly beat on, struggling to get back up, and getting beat down again. But I decided I was not going to let this condition define who I am or who I was going to become. I fought and kept fighting. I graduated from college with honors in three years, graduated from law school and ran my first mini-marathon on my graduation day — not something I would recommend — passed the bar exam, and became an attorney. Now I am fighting for the underdog every day. I serve on the board of directors for Reach Services here in Terre Haute. Formally known as the United Cerebral Palsy Foundation, its mission is to improve the lives and well-being of low- and moderate-income individuals with special needs and their families. The foundation does this through advocacy, outreach, housing, and supportive services. I want to ensure everyone gets the same help I did in order for them to become the best possible people they can be. No one likes hiring an attorney. It usually happens when people are at their worst. After working on my first personal injury case, I realized this was the kind of law I wanted to practice — representing people I can relate to. When clients come into my office and sit down, I know the last place they want to be is here. They are injured, have medical bills piling up, have a lot of questions, and do not know what to do. It gives me a lot of joy to be able to walk into that room, answer their questions, fight against the big insurance company that tries to lowball their case, help them, and get them back on their feet. I can look them in the eye and tell them I know exactly how they feel. I can tell them I didn’t give up and neither should they. I will use my tenacity and life experiences to make sure no one takes unfair advantage of my clients.
countless hours of therapy, and near- constant ridicule, simply because I was different. I had to fight for everything, against all odds, and seemingly everything stacked against me. I know what it’s like. I know
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Do you believe in miracles? I know I do.
– Caleb Fleschner
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