The Comeback Kids

The Comeback Kids: The Bad News Bears, Miracle on Ice, the Philadelphia Eagles

ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences) can have a devastating affect over an entire lifetime, but it doesn’t have to be a life sentence. While you can’t erase your past, with hard work and encouragement you can have a better future. Asking for help, relying on others, learning trust and building confidence in your own abilities can all contribute to a healthy comeback and promising potential.
When we begin to take control of our past, we open up possibilities for great things in our future. Take for example the Bad News Bears, Miracle on Ice, and the Philadelphia Eagles. These teams had grit, they had raw skills, and they found their direction. Each team reframed their past experiences, connected with one another, committed to work hard, coped with prior loses, made wise choices, and became champions.
The Bad News Bears were a ragtag team of misfits put together to settle a lawsuit.  Their coach, Morris Buttermaker, played by Walter Matthau, was a former minor-league baseball pitcher and alcoholic who cleaned swimming pools for a living. Sure the team struggled. Sure they made mistakes. No, they didn’t win the championship. But they built something significantly stronger by pulling together and counting on one another. They gained confidence, built connections and developed character. They committed to one another and found success together as a team.

Who can forget Herb Brooks’ amazing speech of optimism and encouragement in the Miracle on Ice. Brooks, played by Kirk Russell, motivated his young, amateur 1980 USA Olympic hockey team prior to a pivotal game against the much larger, heavily favored, Soviet Union team. “Great moments are born from great opportunity. And that's what you have here tonight, boys. That's what you've earned here tonight. One gameIf we played 'em ten times, they might win nine. But not this game. Not tonight. Tonight, we skate with them. Tonight, we stay with them. And we shut them down because we can! Tonight, WE are the greatest hockey team in the world. You were born to be hockey players. Every one of you. And you were meant to be here tonight. This is your time. Now go out there and take it.” The American team beat the Soviets and went on to win the gold.
After losing their most versatile running back, all-Pro left tackle, and MVP-candidate quarterback, the Philadelphia Eagles’ championship outlook dimmed. But, by embracing their underdog stature, the ”We all we got, we all we need” team, the “Nobody likes us and we don’t care” team went on to beat the New England Patriots in the first super bowl win in franchise history.
The tenacity, gumption and resourcefulness these teams all demonstrated is reminiscent of the 7 C’s Model of Resilience Introduced by pediatrician and adolescent specialist Ken Ginsburg, MD. The 7 C’s – competence, confidence, connection, character, contributioncoping, and control – is a plan designed to help children develop the skills to make them happier and more resilient.

Children become competent when they develop a set of skills that allows them to trust their judgment. By feeling safe and trusting their abilities, children gain confidence. Being connected with others, at home, in school, and in the community, increases a sense of belonging. Learning a fundamental sense of right and wrong cultivates character, necessary to make wise choices. Children who contribute to the well‐being of others receive gratitude. They feel good, gain a sense of purpose, and become motivated. Effective coping skills are necessary to overcome challenges. A child learns how to organize his internal control, by being given the opportunity to make choices and decisions.                                                                                                                                
Just as the power of each team was enhanced by building a strong structure and working together, the 7 C’s Model of Resilience can be instrumental in laying the foundation to cultivate happy and healthy children. By modeling these healthy resilience skills, all children can “comeback” and become stable adults, contribute to the world and live like champions.

Written by Lynn Detwiler, Executive Director of Barnstone Art for Kids and member of the Chester County ACEs Coalition