I catch up with Rob, a tough-looking football player and a body builder, at the office of one of the investment banks where he works. It's late afternoon, but three monitors in front of him are still quite vivid, phone keeps ringing. We get through the first few minutes of distractions and a brief discussion about his work (Trading Assistant) and Rob's story begins.
He was born and lived first few months of his life in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Then his family moved to Staten Island (a borough of the City of New York), where he and his girlfriend Christina live now.
CP: Rob, you look like an athlete. Is there a history of sports involvement?
R: Actually, yeah. I begun playing football and baseball at the age of 7. Was pretty good in both, though better in football.
CP: I know, from experience, that athletes experience sports differently. How did it all begin for you? Did you have a hero, a role model?
R: I was a quiet kid. I mean, I was all right, you know, but keeping to myself didn't really help me get friends. Sports field was a social venue for me. Up until I was 13 or 14 I was this skinny kid, you know, but then a buddy of mine and I picked up bodybuilding. I didn't really have what you would call a hero, but I saw all these movies with Stallone, Schwarzenegger, you know -- with pumped up body builders -- and got inspired to hit the weights.
CP: You now weight . . . , what? Some couple of hundred pounds?
R: About 210. All by natural foods and hard workouts. No steroids, not an ounce of any sort of funny stuff used.
CP: You said you still play football. I bet all those hard workouts pay off on the field . . .
R: Sure. I mean, I get quite aggressive on the field and keeping in great shape helps me avoid injuries and, sometimes, intimidate opponents.
'What kids learn in sports
CP: Seeing the payouts from the involvement in sport all these years, would you recommend all interested kids to get involved into sports?
R: Absolutely. Sports will teach them discipline and develop in them a drive to win, to stand up for themselves. They will generally learn to be the team players, and hopefully grow into even better people than they would otherwise. All they learn from sports they can carry to every other aspect of their lives.
CP: Is there a football league or . . . where do you play?
R: I play for a team that competes in Staten Island Touch Tackle League. It's divided from worst to best on Central, South, North, West and East Division. We play in the East one.
CP: Any notable successes?
R: The team did very well, although I think we can do better.
CP: What about your individual successes as a player?
R: Well, I used to be pretty good in HS and college. I mean in HS I didn't play until my senior year due to some. . . now unimportant stuff . . . but once I took up the ball in my senior year I got offers from several colleges. I went to St. Johns, here in NY. Got three The Player of the Week awards, seven times All Star, MVP Frat League and such. One year I was an All Star player for Offense and Defense team. That was pretty good. Now, I just keep up with the best of 'em in the SITT league.
CP: Tell me about people in your life. Who named you, for instance?
R: My mother named me. No one in the family has the same name. She just liked it. You could say I have four very important ladies in my life: my daughter Paige, my girlfriend Christine and, of course, my mother Barbara and my sister Lisa. They are truly amazing.
CP: What about your father?
R: My father is a retired cop and a great guy. When I was much younger and my parents divorced, he always respectfully spoke about my mother and took care of me and my sister. We never lacked for love, attention or any of the things kids want.
'Happy home life is
CP: You're a single father. That can't be easy on you. How do you balance out work, family life, social life and hobbies?
R: I'll tell you this -- it's not easy. But it is very rewarding. I mean, I spend most of my day here at the desk. If I have my daughter Paige after work, I'll spend a night at my mother's. We both enjoy staying there. I love my daughter very much and it makes me happy to spend time with her and just make her happy. Paige is a great child. Other days, I hit the gym or the field and spend quality time with my girlfriend. I have a happy home life which I think is the key to life's balance. If you have a happy home life, you carry that with you. People can see that. It's easy to read.
CP: When do you find times for social life, friends?
R: Every month or two I will have a 'guys night out' and I then dedicate my time exclusively to my friends. I think it's important to spend time with people I care about. Like, now in August, my buddies and I will go for a weekend in Atlantic City, to do a bit of gambling.
'Compulsive gambling is a road to
CP: Would you call yourself a gambler or is that just something you do for fun once in a blue moon?
R: It's not an easy thing to answer. I was a gambler, I guess. But for me it was never about money. I mean, everyone likes to win a buck or two, but it was really about winning. I mean, I would get this great adrenaline rush when I would win -- as much as I would get during a great pass or a tackle on the field -- but then I would stick around until I lost all the winnings. And then some. I got out of control. After meeting Christine-- my girlfriend, who is every guy's dream in every way, that all changed. She helped me to clean up my act.
CP: What would you say to the compulsive gamblers?
R: You will never be happy no matter how much you win. Compulsive gambling is a road to where you don't wanna be.
CP: Thank you for sharing about your life with the readers of Cavtatportal.com, Rob.
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Born in Dubrovnik in 1973. Shortly after, his family moved to Cavtat. Spent the college years (and then some) in the US, mostly in NYC. Organizational behaviorist, HR L&D expert, published author, show-host (TV & radio), afficionado of water sports and tennis. Cavtatportal's editor-in-chief.