Not the Worst That Could Happen

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For the past seven years, many of my latest nights have ended on this site--enjoying articles and comments from almost every game, even those that might be best forgotten. This is the first I've written here.

It's just a brief story, but one that deserves telling. And I can't imagine the timing will ever be better.


The night my mother lost consciousness for the last time, Stephen Curry scored 51 points.

February 4th of 2015, Warriors at home versus the Mavericks. I was driving down the interstate when the game started, burning through the 400 miles separating D.C. from my parents' home near Charlotte. At my first stop, I checked the score. Mavs led 24-4, somewhere around the five-minute mark in the first quarter. I shoved my phone back in my pocket and shook my head. Figures, I thought. Why shouldn't everything come crashing down all at once?

Rewind for a little background. Thanks to the concerted efforts of my parents, I identified as a rabid Davidson basketball fan from the moment I achieved sentience. Nurture won the long game too, as I ultimately attended and graduated from Davidson just a few years before our favorite NBA player arrived on campus. But my fandom, and that of my parents, has never before or since reached the crescendo it did in 2008, when Curry re-wrote the entire book for a tiny school that had gone 39 years without an NCAA tournament win. As fate would have it, Curry's team got 3.

Upon Curry's drafting, we found ourselves suddenly and irrevocably transformed into fans of the Golden State Warriors. Of course, we were terribly biased at first--coaching and personnel moves that failed to serve Curry's best interests were met with comments unfit for print anywhere this side of a D.H. Lawrence novel. Not to name names, but the 4th quarter benchings in his sophomore season come to mind.

In any event, by the time Steve Kerr was hired, Golden State had morphed into Curry's team, and one in which we were entirely and unabashedly invested.

But back to my drive.

About ten minutes after that first pit-stop, I asked my wife to check the score again. This time, 40-18. Even worse.

"Of course it would be like this tonight," I snapped. A pessimistic dread had wormed its way into every inch of me, and not because of the basketball game.

"Look, at least Steph has 11 now."

I nodded. I remember thinking, That's something, at least. I remember thinking, Damn, it would mean so much to me right now if you could come back tonight. Get 50 and win, Steph. Go do it. Show me something. Dear God, let them do it.

Naturally, you can imagine my wonderment as the drive, and the game, progressed. By the time I arrived at my parents' house, soon to be just my Dad's house, the game was done, and won, in the patented Warriors fashion we've so recently come to expect--complete with the kind of Steph Curry explosion that is becoming more and more common these days.

Of course the Warriors lost their next game to the Hawks, and I lost my mother to her illness. There was no miracle comeback for her, and not much of a bounce-back for me. For a while, I tuned out everything, even basketball. But then a funny thing happened.

Steph Curry called my father to offer condolences.

A small gesture, really. A tiny, almost unfathomable kindness.

Well, perhaps unfathomable is a strong word. My family's staunch support of Davidson basketball has left us somewhat familiar to those involved with the program, so I suppose it wasn't entirely surprising. Until you consider that many longtime friends, and even some family, weren't so generous with their sympathies. In the days since, I've often found myself wondering, how does someone so busy find a moment to be so thoughtful to someone they barely know?

But he did. And then he and these Warriors did even more. Because, as everyone knows by now, the Warriors kept winning. And winning. And winning. And winning.

Even still they're winning, despite their recent difficulties. Since Kerr started, the preposterous tally stands at 159-30. But for me it's meant so much more than just the Ws etched in the ledger.

It's often said the Lord works in mysterious ways. What the Warriors have done for me in the wake of my mother's death recalls the poem "Footprints in the Sand." You know the one, though it comes in several flavors, and has been attributed to multiple authors. In the poem, when life is going well, there are two sets of footprints--one set belongs to "us," and one set belongs to God. Then things go sour, and suddenly we only see one set of prints.

So what happened there? Why were we abandoned at the worst possible time?

We weren't. We were carried.

And whether it was the Lord using them, or just the Warriors doing what the Warriors love to do, this team has carried me through the last year, bolstering me in ways that family and friends either wouldn't or couldn't.

Which brings us to the reason I've written this. Steph Curry, in a moment of compassion, found time to make a brief phone call that helped pull me from the darkest depths of my life's deepest grief.

When things were bleakest, I got a hand from a place I never expected. A lift that helped me back to my feet. And when I struggled to move forward, the Warriors' wild stream of three-pointers and victories helped propel me on until I was strong enough to stand again on my own.

Now Steph is the one ailing. But he won't stay down. Because every single person he's reached, from teammates to coaches to friends to fans, is ready and able to pick him up and carry him until he's ready to keep going.

The verse that Steph often quotes is Philippians 4:13:
"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."

For me, though, the very next verse speaks more to the grace that made Steph decide to pick up his phone and dial my Dad last February:
"Nevertheless, it was kind of you to share my troubles."

And for all their successes and all their victories, it's this ineffable sense of selflessness and togetherness that has permeated this Warriors team and made them greater than any of us could have ever hoped.

With injury or loss, we usually catch ourselves saying, "At least it's not the worst that could happen." But the road to recovery can still be plenty difficult without being the absolute worst, and often enough, time has to do most of the work. In this case, I hope Steph knows he can be confident taking the time he needs. And I hope he can believe us when we say, "We've got you."

He's earned it.

This FanPost is a submission from a member of the mighty Golden State of Mind community. While we're all here to throw up that W, these words do not necessarily reflect the views of the GSoM Crew. Still, chances are the preceding post is Unstoppable Baby!