I think we can all agree that everyone loves a comeback. Whether that is a comeback from self-induced indulgences, injury, illness or from someone wronging someone else. There is nothing that unites us more than the underdog coming from nowhere, or the favorite becoming the underdog and battling their way back. This phenomenon usually shows itself in the world of sports where there are many people that motivate and inspire us to be more. Such as, Rocky Blier, running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who played in the NFL for a year, went to Vietnam and was wounded. Upon his return he struggled to make the team, not because he forgot how to play. Because he was missing part of his foot. Imagine that, playing a game called football while your missing a part of the name. He went on to retire with the fourth most running, yes, I freaking said RUNNING, yards in Pittsburgh history. How about Formula One great Niki Lauda who in 1976 was involved in a crash that left his face burnt and him in a coma. Six whole weeks later he returned to finish fourth in an Italian Grand Prix race. These are just two of thousands of people who can inspire all of us to fight and persevere. The next time our hammy is tight or our knees ache, think of Rocky or Niki and start pushing.
As we know there are also comebacks that come from places outside of the sports world. The one that was in my head today as I took a “wild ride over stony ground” involved a group of people who once stood in front of 100,000 people at Wembley Stadium, then stood in the middle of a crash up derby field. (For a few of you unfamiliar with this term, a crash up derby is when people get in a dirt circle and purposely crash their cars into each other, this highbrow event only ends when only one car can still move.) Between these two events one of the members of this group died of cancer and one was severally injured in a car accident. I would call this the fast track to rock bottom. So how does someone survive and thrive after going from top of the world to a dirt circle surrounded by cars built to die. Persistence, luck, faith, or just plain grit? Yes!
So as you are reading this I just finished an absolutely face melting show by non-other than the group described above, Def Leppard. You may scoff at my choice of comeback stories. But look at the facts. In the early 1980’s this was THE band, selling almost as many albums as Michael Jackson. They sold out football and futball stadiums. To young and small town me these men weren’t even real. They were from a different planet called England, but some how still came through my speakers thanks to my older brother’s .45’s. Fast forward a few years and my two younger brothers and I pulled up to a gas station in Davenport, Iowa to get tickets to go see these mythical beings stand in a dirt lot and perform. A long way away from Wembley Stadium. Then last night my wife and I went to the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada and watch the same band rock as if its 1981. Their career mirrors many of our lives or the stock price of the Tesla Motor Company over the last few weeks. Like most of us we start at the bottom as we learn our way, then hopefully we see a little success, then for some the success slows and then its time to show who you are. I don’t think anyone has or wants a life that looks like the EKG reading of the dead. I think most of our lives look like a Richter Scale gearing up for the big one. This is what Def Leppard’s career has been, the mirror of most of our lives and I believe this is why they are still relevant. We see ourselves in them.
We have ourselves or know someone who has made their way towards rock bottom. How do we keep them from staying there? The same way Def Leppard dug their way out. They kept their dreams and goals alive. Possibly more important their fans kept their spirit alive. We were no longer packing into Wembley Stadium, but we were leaning on a fence in Davenport, Iowa. So, when someone close or important to you is down or on their way down keep their spirit alive. Remind them you’ll celebrate them when they’re on top of the world but you’ll also gladly lean on a fence to show your support.
The next time you are “runnin’ with the wind, a shadow in the dust” keep your spirits high and when hit a low going back up is your only option, so get climbing.
Here at A Rock in Your Show we would like to welcome a new contributor. She is a certified personal trainer, a specialist in training those inflicted with Parkinson’s, an avid runner, an accused marathon cheater (to be fair, the accusation has no merit and only comes from me), an avid weight lifter, former fitness competition participant and purveyor of fine beers. So please welcome to A Rock in Your Show, Stephie Libben.