“I know what achieving my goal feels like. I know what it smells like and tastes like. I know what achieving my goal looks like and sounds like. I envision my life with my goal attained.”
Some of you are probably familiar with that old Drifters song This Magic Moment. If you are, you know it is one of those songs that starts you humming and probably gets stuck in your head all day.
Life is about Those Magic Moments. We move through the “average days” in our life longing for another Magic Moment, or, in many cases, really just to relive previous Magic Moments.
As is often the case, sports, this week, has provided a lesson on the chalkboard of life. This week two traditionally successful teams have taken opposite approaches to rekindling Those Magic Moments.
In the history of college football, only three teams have a higher winning percentage than the Nebraska Cornhuskers. During the mid 1990s, the Huskers finally overcame their long-time nemeses University of Miami, FL and Florida State to become college football’s premiere program.
Legendary coach Tom Osborne finished his career with three national championships in four years capping the most illustrious stretch in the history of an illustrious program.
People in Nebraska got used to Those Magic Moments. They almost felt entitled to them. When Osborne retired, Nebraska hired long-time assistant to the legend, Frank Solich. Solich only went 61-19 in six years as head coach – not good enough. There were no more national championships -no more Magic Moments.
He was fired in favor of NFL coach Bill Callahan. Callahan, now in his fifth year, has compiled a 26-21 record. Those Magic Moments feel further away than ever for Nebraska fans.
This week, in the midst of a particularly devastating losing streak, Nebraska fired its Athletic Director and hired the legendary Osborne as interim Athletic Director.
The New York Yankees are far and away the most successful team in the history of major league baseball. However, the team had fallen on a decade of hard times. In 1996, the team hired Joe Torre as its manager.
Torre led the Yankees to four world championships in five years between 1996 and 2001. In the years since, the Yankees have had baseball’s best record, but no more World Series wins. Owner George Steinbrenner and many in the Yankee nation grew impatient with not winning a World Series every other year.
This week the Yankees offered Torre a contract the team knew he would not accept effectively forcing him out. The team believes it can recapture Those Magic Moments with a new manager.
These two teams are following two strategies we often pursue when we are searching for Those Magic Moments. Nebraska looked backwards to past glory. The hope is that Tom Osborne, through his mere presence, can bring the Magic back.
The Yankees chose to look to the future in the hope that “new blood” might transform success into perfection.
We, too, are always looking for Our Magic Moments. We look forward and we look back. We try to relive the past or we try to change everything in the hope that change itself will bring us the happiness we want.
The truth is that our happiness is hidden in the most conspicuous, but unlikely place….NOW.
The past is the past. When we try to recreate the past the best we can hope for is a meaningless replication. We don’t live there anymore. We live here and now. What worked in the past may not work today. Can Tom Osborne really return the Nebraska football program to 1997?
When we change everything hoping to come up with something better, we usually wind up with a rootless life that does not live up to our expectations. Will the new Yankee manager be able top Torre’s 95+ win per year average and win enough World Series’ to keep George and the Yankee faithful satisfied?
The past is our teacher. The future is our dream. Neither provides a foothold for us to climb and build and grow. The only foothold on the entire mountain of life is right now.
Now may not seem like Magic. It may not be all we want it to be, but it is really the only clay from which we can sculpt the rest of our lives.
Afterall no Magic Moment that ever was or ever will be is inherently Magic. What makes Moments Magic is not the moment. It is us. It is us being fully who we are in that moment, dealing with its realities, and making the most of them.
We already soaked all the Magic there was from yesterday. We cannot begin drawing on tomorrow’s Magic. Let’s stay focused on finding all the Magic that exists today and be content with it.
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