fbpx Skip to content
What the Super Bowl and Denny O’Leary can teach us about embracing change.

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” -Socrates

This Sunday, the 49ers and Chiefs take the field in the final football game of the NFL season. On their sport’s biggest stage, with their friends, family, Taylor Swift and a global audience of 120 million tuning in, they’ll compete to become Super Bowl champions.

Throughout this week they will be at the frenzied epicenter of media stories and social media virality culminating in these players taking the field Sunday in Las Vegas. They’ll create moments that influence drives, determine the result of the game, and impact how they are remembered by their fans forever. Sunday will, undoubtedly, be the biggest day in the lives of many of these athletes.

And then it will be over.

Monday will follow for both teams. The confetti will be swept up, the uniforms will be packed away, and the stadium will be emptied out. The season will wrap and the players will head home. For some, it will be their final game.

Yes, one team will win. They’ll give their speeches, wear their rings and have their parade.
And one team will lose.  They’ll hang their heads, saunter off the field and agonize over how close they were to victory.

But regardless the result, these athletes will be faced recognizing that the moment they’ve spent a lifetime preparing for is over. Now what?

They won’t be the only ones. Elsewhere that same Monday a recent retiree will report to the living room instead of the office. Empty nesters will wake up to a quiet house. A newly single widow will eat alone. A young couple will bring home their new baby for the first time.

Change is inevitable, sometimes forced by the conclusion of a sports season, the ending of a relationship or the loss of a job. Whether perceived as positive or negative, none of us will be spared the shifts to our identities that happen throughout the course of our lives. Win or lose, change often leaves us not just questioning what we’ll do, but who we are.

I watched this happen in real time with my dad as his Parkinson’s disease progressed.

The man who never missed a day of school or work for more than four decades, could no longer work. My dad, the lawyer, the business owner? Not any longer.

The father who was perpetually moving was unable to move at all. My dad, the coach, the cook, the carpooler? Not anymore.

The man who was always active in the community serving others now required fulltime care and constant attention. Talk about an identity crisis.

So, my friends, how do you respond when a title you once wore proudly is removed?  How do you react when a season you worked so hard for comes to an end?  How do you move forward when the life you once lived is no longer the one you’re living?

For Dad, rather than focus on all the titles that no longer apply to him, he beautifully celebrates all he is right now. A source of strength and wisdom to his children. A joyful force in the lives of his grandchildren. A profoundly grateful spouse to his lovely wife. And an inspiration to all who have been impacted by him over the years.

Dad has taught us that when life changes, we can either waste our time yearning for what we’ve lost and wait for someone to make it better, or we can own the gift of the life we still have and the possibility within it going forward.

The secret of change is not in fighting the old, but in learning the lessons from the past, embracing the gifts within each moment and focusing our energy on building the new. It won’t change the outcome of the scoreboard on Sunday, but more importantly, it will change how you live regardless the result.

That’s good news for Denny, for both Super Bowl teams, for the Swifties. And, yes, for you!

This is your day. Live Inspired.

9 replies on “We Are The Champions!”

Your dad is an excellent example each day of love, strength and a very positive attitude! Thank you for your beautiful writing to live in the moment and embrace all it holds for you.

Our bookclub is currently reading “On Fire”, we are finding a lot to talk about. I thought these comments today might inspire all of us Catholics in the St. Louis diocese who are trying to live with this new movement of “All Things New”. For those of you outside the diocese, we are closing parishes due to the lack of vocations and priests. Most parishioners aren’t happy or pleased. John’s words might inspire us all to stop feeling sorry for ourselves and our dilemma and to use John’s words “we can own the gift of the life we still have and the possibility within it going forward.

Wow, just wow. What a timely message and great reminder for us all to learn from our past and press on to the future. Thanks

I love this post and am inspired by your dad who is evolving, changing, taking inventory of his gifts and using them. And in the process, redefining himself. It shows us all that we can do the same, regardless or age or circumstances. Thanks for the reminder.

Beautiful written “learning the lessons from the past, embracing the gifts within each moment and focusing our eneregy on building the new”.

Thanks again for starting this new week off for me on a happy high direction!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *