We tend to get incredibly close and connected to our sports stars. They fight hard for us - not just our entertainment, but also for the pride of our cities. We see them as an extension of ourselves, so when they go through something, we want to see them succeed.
They could be going through a rough patch in their play, or something more personal in their lives that we would like to see them overcome. The stress of being a professional player can be a lot to deal with, and that can lead to mistakes being made, like falling in with the wrong crowd or substance abuse.
Luckily this is a story about a hockey player who did have a rocky road he had to overcome, but ultimately came back even stronger with the help of his fans. This is about Bobby Ryan, a hockey player for the Ottawa Senators who went through rehab and came back stronger.
Bobby Ryan is a hockey player for the Ottawa Senators, and his story is a bit like something you would see from an inspirational sports movie, except in this case, it all actually happened. On November 15th he played his last home game for his team, and less than a week later he entered rehab to treat his alcohol problem. When he would finally return after successfully completing rehab, the audience would give him a rousing welcome back, chanting, “Bobby! Bobby! Bobby!” It would be an amazing comeback story that would bring him to tears on the ice.
Not only did Bobby Ryan come back to a screaming applause, he gave the fans what they wanted to see by scoring a hat trick - 3 points in a row - against the Vancouver Canucks at the first home game post-treatment, defeating them 5-2.
Ryan spoke with the Associated Press and said, "I knew Ottawa being the community that it is that the reception would be good. It just got harder to keep the emotions down throughout the game. It was incredible. They supported me and I got to contribute. You can't write that, the way that went. It was just an incredible evening, so thank you to all of them." His hat-trick ended a four-game losing streak for the Senators, and earned him player of the game. How could it not?
By his third goal, fans were cheering his name and it was all waterworks for Ryan. It was a big moment considering he had only scored one goal his previous 21 games, validating how his treatment not only helped him physically and mentally, but it also helped his game.
Regarding his addiction, he told AP, "I was trying the white-knuckle thing and do things the wrong way. I'd have 20 days of nothing and one real bad one and you just can't get better without (help). There's such a stigma around asking for help and I was trying to do it. I've done that for a long time."
Ryan had an incredibly difficult upbringing, having to deal with abuse and legal issues from an early age. Now he is determined to continue getting better. “My therapy is going to continue. It's not fun, but it's something I need to be able to let go and put in my past and I've started to do that, but I feel great and at peace with a lot of it and I'm still continuing to let go of some more."