I love when people make an incredible comeback. I honestly applaud comebacks of all sorts from regaining health after injury and disease to refusing to quit when the odds look impossible. Merriam-Webster defines comeback as “a return to a former position or condition.”
Let me tell you about two comebacks I have witnessed this week alone. These stories are a bit opposite on the spectrum of resiliency, but there’s encouragement and kick-butt strength in their stories for you and me.
No Longer a Top Contender?
Last Saturday turned into a gloomy, rainy afternoon here, so I decided to putz around the house and watch a little television. I was wonderfully surprised to catch golf legend Phil Mickelson leading in the PGA Championship.
The announcers were buzzing about what ifs in seeing almost 51-year-old Phil make a comeback in his beloved sport. But no one in the world as old as Lefty has ever won a major golf tournament. Julius Boros won the 1968 PGA Championship at age 48. But 50+ years old? Nope. No one.
Philip Adolph Mickelson has seen his share of wins and near-wins over his three decades as a professional golfer, but many counted him out as a top contender long ago. A San Diego native, Phil grew up golfing with his father and grandfather and adopted his famous left-handed swing by mirroring his father on the fairway. (Phil is actually right-handed).
The four-time All-American at Arizona State University met his wife, Amy, in Tucson where she was a dance squad performer for the Phoenix Suns. In 2009, Amy, was diagnosed with breast cancer. During Amy’s grueling treatment and recovery, Phil stepped away from the PGA Tour to be with her and their three children.
Phil has faced his own share of health setbacks. He has psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and revamped his diet and training to lose weight and regain strength and mobility. Phil understands the hard work of making a comeback. Phil understands bending when life dares you to break.
Instead of Feeling Defeated
About two weeks ago, Phil shared this perspective about his resiliency. “I’ve failed many times in my life and career and because of this I’ve learned a lot,” Lefty wrote. “Instead of feeling defeated countless times, I’ve used it as fuel to drive me to work harder. So today, join me in accepting our failures. Let’s use them to motivate us to work even harder.”
Work harder he did. Leading up to this past weekend, Phil was ranked 115th in the world. He hadn’t won a major tournament since 2013. That’s hundreds of fairways and greens to play and come up short.
But on Sunday afternoon May 23, 2021, Phil proved he still has the physicality and finesse to beat out dozens of other pro players in their 20s, 30s and 40s. Pure chaos erupted at the 18th hole when Phil hit his way to victory. A scaled down version of chaos erupted in my living room as I shouted and did a fist pump congratulating Phil. My collie came running at my screech in Phil’s honor.
You see, I love a well-earned comeback. I’m thinking you do too. If you’re like me, you’d like a comeback or a reinvent in our own life this year. Or, to use golfing terms, a mulligan, so you can start over. If so, do not let age hold you back. Phil is living proof that “instead of feeling defeated countless times,” you can use challenges and tough obstacles to fuel new victories.
Your Next Comeback
This week’s other comeback is growing in front of my house. Since last fall, my 7-foot burning bush plant has looked rather puny. Its thick branches are dry and lifeless while the rest of the yard looks lush with spring greenery. Not this trusty ole burning bush that come fall is ablaze with rich reds.
Did the bush finally die over winter? Did I prune it too much last year and hasten its demise? Hmmm . . . how long do you wait for a normally healthy plant to revive? This baby takes up sizeable space near my front steps, so everyone can see that it’s on it’s way out. Or… is it?
Over the weekend while Phil was working his golfing magic, the burning bush was making its own work-harder-and-smarter comeback. Maybe the extra rain and cooler weather were the invitation the burning bush needed to finally sprout some green leaves. There is life in them thar branches! The bush will rise again!
Most of the hefty bush still looks brown and brittle, but I have every confidence that the plant will make a glorious comeback. How about you and me? After a long year of COVID Crud and other challenges, are we in need of a comeback from the brown and brittle in our life?
I love when people and plants tee up to make an incredible comeback. So when you make your next comeback—of any size and significance—I’ll be right here with a bit of chaos erupting, fist pumping and screeching that sends my collies a running. You’re worth it.
Thanks Beth for the golf story about Phil. Since we live in Georgia, I’ve driven past the Master’s several times, but not allowed in since it’s gated and I wasn’t there for a tournament. Wayne and I walk the golf course going on nine years now for exercise. Love playing with some of the guys, even though I don’t play, and I’ve seen strokes, misses, and birdies, etc. It’s interesting the reaction to one’s play or miss-play. No matter how bad the play is, they can’t help but come back again and again to play once more!
Aileen, THANK YOU for sharing your own golf story. I love that Wayne and you walk your golf course and that you get out their and play with the guys. What a great observation that no matter how bad the play, people keep coming back for another round. There’s always another game ahead!
Right on Beth!! Excellently written.
Thank you, Nancy. I’ve been cheering for you this past year. I think it’s time to get the collies running wild for your comeback too. 🙂
Thank you, Pat. Here’s to never giving up on our own everyday comebacks.
Perfect timing on your message! After getting both covid vaccine doses and sensing life as we knew it pre-covid was coming back, I was reminded there are more virus than just covid when I came down with a stomach virus that is going around. A week and a doctor visit later I’m technically “over” the virus but my body is still waiting for the comeback. Meanwhile, I’m back at work but tired, aching and with little appetite wondering when I’ll ever feel healthy again. Please pray for my “comeback”!
Ohhhh, Candy, I’m sorry to hear this about you. Yes, I will pray for your speedy recovery. You have been through the ringer as my mama would say. You ARE heading in the right direction on your health comeback. Rest up, my friend.
I do love a come back, come from behind story. And I had not heard this one about Phil yet. Thanks for sharing! What a terrific reminder to adjust but keep on fighting.
Yes, Phil’s story is one for the ages. I love that he has continued to stay the course and make adjustments along the way.
Love this, Beth! This is definitely the season for all of us to make a comeback. I was so pleased about Phil, too! And grateful he didn’t try to jump up in the air like when he won the Masters. The fist pump was perfect!!
You are right about a season for our own comeback. Seems like this Memorial Day weekend has many people out and about in taking back their enjoyment of time with family and friends. Yes, Phil’s fist pump was just right and his continual thumbs up along the way was great to see too.
Love this Beth! Loved watching Phil last week! Living life to the fullest! Love using life’s challenges to fuel new victories!! Yes yes yes!!
Wasn’t it exciting to see Phil win? Thanks, Terry, for helping me to keep fueling new victories.