Hey Katee! is a weekly column where I'll discuss different topics every Friday. Have a question or topic you'd like me to ramble or rant about? Let me know!
Hey Katee! What did you think of Mike Conley's comeback performance in game 2 of the Western Conference Semi-finals?
I can probably assume that most of the people who are reading this don't really need any backstory on the Memphis Grizzlies starting point guard, Mike Conley, being injured. Long story short, Mike Conley suffered multiple fractures to his face when he was elbowed in the face during a game in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Just 8 days post surgery, a masked Mike Conley came out and played an incredible game against the number one team in the NBA, the Golden State Warriors. He finished with a game-high 22 points on 8 of 12 shooting. It was no doubt, an amazing game for Mike Conley, and the fact that he did it while being in pain and still very swollen from surgery had the sports world buzzing. Being a huge Memphis Grizzlies fan, I naturally was beaming with pride that night. Mike Conley made a comeback, and he was able to play better than anyone could have ever expected him to play when coming back from such an awful injury.
As I thought about Mike Conley's comeback story, I started thinking there might be more we can learn here that goes beyond a masked man playing incredible basketball. So if you don't mind going to a deeper level with me for a few minutes, please read on.
We all love a good comeback story. There's something so satisfying about seeing the underdog come back and do what others said he couldn't do. I tend to think we see ourselves in these kind of stories. Ultimately because there are times in most of our lives where we have to make our own comebacks. We come back from injuries. We come back from disease and sickness. We come back from depression and hopelessness. We come back from broken relationships. We come back from having life pull the rug out from under us in some way or another. We all like seeing the end result of a comeback story in the news but what they don't alway show us is what the person goes through prior to the comeback. In order for a comeback story to be authentic, the person usually has to experience pain in some form. It may be physical, mental or a combination of both. Regardless of the type of pain, the common ground is that it all hurts. And who likes to hurt? I know I don't. In fact, I spent a long time running from pain. The pain of having to close my business that I had put my blood, sweat, tears and money into for several years. I had also been running from the pain of dealing with my mother's early onset Alzheimer's diagnosis. I stayed in bed and avoided the world. I became depressed and it started to feel like all the good things that were going to happen in my life were over and all that was left was the painful stuff. And I didn't want to deal with that much pain. Most of us will do everything in our power to avoid pain. It's in our nature as human beings. It's instinctual. But as the author John Green said, "That's the thing about pain, it demands to be felt." What a simple yet profound thought! Pain demands to be felt. A real comeback doesn't happen without real pain. Real pain is awful and rarely seems inspiring when we're in the middle of it. It isn't until we take that first step out of the darkness and decide to face the pain that we can start training for our comeback. One day while driving, it dawned on me that all of this time, I had been fighting to avoid a lot of the pain that I needed to face. That was when I decided to make a phone call to get help in facing it. I didn't do it all on my own, and I wouldn't want anyone to think I did. Reaching out for help was my first step in facing and fighting through the pain. When we start fighting through the pain instead of fighting to avoid it, that's when the real comeback begins. Otherwise, don't call it a comeback. (Yeah, I said it.)
So give yourself credit for the pain you've hurt through to make your comeback. If you are in the middle of the pain right now, and it hurts like hell, keep going. If nothing else, the pain means you're still here. It also means your comeback can start now! As for Mike Conley, I would like to think his comeback is part of a bigger picture. What some may think is just about basketball could actually be inspiring someone else to start their own personal comeback. Most of our comeback stories won't make the news, but that doesn't mean our stories aren't important. So don't be afraid to share your comeback story. We all tend to stay silent because we think that someone else has the bigger and better story. But I'm here to tell you that the level of the comeback isn't what's important, it's the comeback itself. It means you went through real pain that hurt and despite all the odds, you CAME BACK. So in this case, we will call it a comeback.
"There is nothing as sweet as a comeback, when you are down and out, about to lose, and out of time."
- Anne Lamott