7/21/21: Everything You Want Is On The Other Side Of Hard

These words were recently made famous by Monty Williams, head coach of the Phoenix Suns, who recently lost Game 6 of the NBA Finals, resulting in the Milwaukee Bucks being the ultimate champions.

I’d thought Monty used the line for the 1st time, after Game 4, in the post game address to his players in the locker room, after they’d just dropped 2 in a row. But, after digging more, it’s a line he’s been using going back to 2019, when he was first hired to be the Suns coach.

Where does a guy dream up a line like that? There’s a very personal story that most casual bball fans don’t know abt Monty.

He met his wife, Ingrid, as a freshman at Notre Dame. Bc of a heart condition early in his college career, doctors questioned whether Monty could continue to play hoops. But Ingrid stood w him, & after a battery of test (one where they had to literally stop his heart), Monty was cleared to play.

He was drafted by the Knicks in ‘94, & went on to play for 4 more teams. After his playing career was over, he went the coaching route, & after a few stops, while assistant coach of the OKC Thunder, one night in 2016, his life changed forever. 

Monty got the call late at night, that Ingrid had been in a head-on collision, w 3 of their 5 kids they’d had together, in the car w her. The kids survived, but Ingrid tragically did not.

It later came out that the driver who hit Ingrid, was high on meth, & had swerved into oncoming traffic.  Can you imagine?

In a league where many players often “play the field,” Monty, a husband to the woman he met his freshman yr, lost his soul mate in the snap of a finger.

In sports, as in life, we learn so many lessons. The Suns just lost a heartbreaker, going this far & not bringing it home. But the “other side of hard” is often what it takes to push thru & “succeed,” – whatever our definition of succeeding is.

When I’ve been on teams that’ve lost big series, great coaches I admire have told me to sit in that misery a bit. Remember what it feels like, so it pushes you to overcome the next time/obstacle.

And in sports we see that SO often: the team that’s been knocking on the door of a championship for a # of yrs, falling short, finally wins it all. In fact, Milwaukee just did that.  The two-time champion Tampa Bay Lightning just did that after a few failed runs in the playoffs. So why bring this up on a MH page? The “other side of hard” isn’t just about doing the difficult things & going through tough times to win a championship. It’s also about how we overcome, how we work to heal, how we put in the time to get better. Self-care is such a weird term for what we must do to build resiliency & to heal our impacted neurobiology. “Self-care” is work. It’s darn hard work. And it’s on the other side of that hard, that we get what “we want” – which is health, & peacefulness, & perspective, & appreciation. The challenges come at diff times in our lives & diff levels, but they come. In life, just like in sports, we are given the opportunity to overcome…& it makes our “victories” that much sweeter.

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