Life Stories Offer Insight on Adversity & Resiliency

Allan Hardy, Principal
Over the past month, I read two autobiographies: actor Martin Short’s I Must Say and former NHL goalie Clint Malarchuk’s The Crazy Game. Both of these books were released recently and offer good perspectives on adversity and resiliency.

I knew a fair amount about Martin Short’s career as a regular viewer of SCTV and Saturday Night Live, so the sprinkling of anecdotes about show business and his celebrity friends seemed familiar. I was, however, unaware of the adversity Short had faced. By the age of 20, his parents and oldest brother had died. His mother’s death from cancer was a blow to him, as she had nurtured his deep interest in the performing arts. Much later in his life, Short’s wife died after a long bout with cancer. He and his wife had a long, fulfilling marriage, so the sense of loss was profound. Short concludes that, in life, both good and bad things happen and keeping both sides in perspective is crucial. He observes that "tough experiences Teflon-coat you and strengthen you against further adversity."

Clint Malarchuk’s story follows a different path, but also illustrates the strength of the human spirit. Raised in difficult circumstances in Alberta, Malarchuk excels as a goaltender and eventually earns a spot in the NHL. Along the way he learns to hide some serious mental health issues, such as deep anxiety, OCD and depression. He copes with these issues using prescribed medication and alcohol. After being cut by a skate and almost dying on the ice, Malarchuk suffers from PTSD and serious anger management issues. After his playing career ends, he begins coaching, but after attempting suicide, he undergoes a lengthy rehabilitation stint, which sets him on the road to recovery. Malarchuk offers readers good insight on how hard it is to speak openly about mental health issues and the importance of having purpose in life.

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