I've said it before: sports are a microcosm of life. So instead of analyzing the Rangers' chances or looking at NHL history, I figured I'd tell you guys a story of a hero who really beat the odds to come from behind and win (the story is true but the names have been changed to protect the identity of the parties involved):
I had just come back to my office after a lunch meeting a few years back. I got a call from my friend Sam. He asked me if I had heard from our mutual friend Dan lately. Dan was I guy I grew up with. Over the years we drifted apart a bit. However, we always touched base every few weeks to catch up.
I told Sam that as a matter of fact I had not heard from Dan in about a month which, come to think of it, was a little out of the ordinary. Sam told me that he had reason to believe that Dan's "occasional" and "recreational" drug use had spiraled out of control. I was worried to say the least.
I immediately tried calling Dan every few minutes. My calls went straight to voice mail. I decided to call Dan's father. When he answered the phone and I asked him about Dan, his father told me that he'd have to call me back. His tone sounded strange.
A few minutes later my phone rang. It was Dan's father. He told me that he had not been able to reach Dan for a full week. He also told me that Dan's drug use had spiraled out of control. Apparently, a lot of people were worried about Dan and he had been getting a lot of worried calls. A few hours later, Dan decided to call me. He sounded terrible. He wouldn't tell me where he was. He wouldn't tell me how I could reach him. I asked him to please call me regularly. I told him I wanted to come pick him up from wherever he was.
A few days went by when I would get random calls from Dan telling me he was O.K.. I knew that he wasn't. Finally, he called me and told me where he was. I immediately called Sam and we went to get Dan. He refused to come out of the "house" he was holed up in.
After a few hours of hide and seek, we finally got him into the car and on the way to a hospital. We sat in the hospital waiting room all night waiting for a bed to become available in the detox unit. Dan would disappear into the bathroom every 20 minutes. My heart was breaking. Sam was crushed by the horrible suffering our friend was experiencing. Finally, Dan got a bed.
I wish I could say that Dan's road to recovery was all uphill from their. It wasn't. That wasn't his last trip to detox.
I remember Dan telling me that he could not imagine living the rest of his life without drugs. The task was just too daunting. His friends told him not to worry about the rest of his life. Just worry about the next 60 seconds. String together 10 minutes. Then another ten. Then another ten. Then another ten.
Dan listened to his friends. Today, thank G-d, he's a hero. Dan was down much worse than 0-3 and today, one day at a time, he's kicking the day lights out of his opponent.
I'm certainly not equating a hockey series to addiction. Tonight's game is just that...a game. We often learn lessons in sports that we can apply to every day life. Sometimes, however, athletes can learn lessons from the triumphs of ordinary people that those athletes can then apply to their sports.
Hey Dan......I'm proud of you.