‘Glass isn’t dangerous until broken apart’


By Brandt McClain

I’m a big believer in comebacks. I am an even bigger believer in the process that a person has to go through to stage a successful comeback. Sometimes a comeback takes physical work, but it always takes mental work. One of my favorite comeback stories is Isaiah Pacheco of the Kansas City Chiefs. He is easily one of the hardest runners in the NFL. I watched an interview where he shared the story of how he lost his older brother and his older sister due to gun violence. Pacheco shared that he runs so hard during games because he wants the “earth to feel his pain.” That stuck with me.

There is a quote from a nonfiction book I read that states“Glass isn’t dangerous until broken apart.” In this sentence the word dangerous has a positive connotation. The word dangerous means that you have suffered something and survived it. You have been through the storm and weathered it. Now, you are dangerous because those things can’t hurt you anymore- you have already conquered them. The best kind of learning can only happen on the other end of overcoming conflict. Glass is fragile, but even when it is broken it is still glass, it just has sharper edges.

I play football and I wrestle. When I was a sophomore I tore my labrum in my left shoulder at the beginning of wrestling season and while it was extremely painful, I continued to wrestle. Eventually I had to have surgery to fix the issue which meant I had to miss my entire junior year football season. I was devastated. Sports had always been what brought me to school and kept me motivated. Sports were my distraction from everything else. Now, as I watched my friends play football, I watched from the sidelines with my arm in a sling as I recovered. I wasn’t cleared to play. Then, around October of that year, I started having seizures and was in and out of the hospital. After a while, this started to take a toll on me mentally and I was feeling depressed. The seizures were diagnosed as stress induced. There were too many things outside of my control and my body decided to take over. I was glass and I was breaking.

My mental health was impacted by my injury. I was worn out to the point that I didn’t want to get out of bed to hangout with friends. I was lazy, unmotivated – shattered, like glass. Then I realized I had to start making some new choices. I remembered that quote and how it portrayed broken glass as dangerous. I decided to start going to the gym again. When I realized how good it felt to workout again, I was more motivated than ever. I also had nowhere to go, but up. It took work and commitment, but I got myself into the best shape I’ve ever been in and returned to sports my senior year. Fighting my way back from a physical injury made me mentally stronger. It also forever changed my perception of broken glass. A lot of people look at broken glass and see something broken. I look at broken glass, remember my battle, and remind myself that I am dangerous now. No matter the obstacle, I know how to battle through it.

Brandt McClain is the son of Nathan and Melissa McClain. After graduation he will attend Sinclair College to pursue a career in Fire/EMT. This summer he plans to visit a couple new places in Florida and make some money working for the city. He also plans to have some fun with friends.

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