A football genius took me to task the other day for being a fan of the Dallas Cowboys, who, as my tormentor pointed out, “Suck, man.”
I gently reminded the pigskin peanut brain that the Cowboys have made eight Super Bowl appearances and have won five Lombardi trophies.
The predictably tired and irretrievably ignorant retort was (of course), “That’s ancient history, dude.”
His team had enjoyed more recent success, which is what it is all about, according to him.
I was obliged to point out that, though his team’s success was very recent, it is now, in fact, “History, Dude.”
They are all history.
Every Super Bowl ever played is…history. Some are more recent history. Some are more “ancient” history.
If you watch the NFL Network or NFL Films, you will note that, perhaps better than any other sports league, the NFL has a real sense of the importance of their history.
It is gratifying—inspiring even—to see men persevering in sub-zero weather and subhuman conditions in a game forever known as the Ice Bowl.
There is the Immaculate Reception. The Hail Mary. The Catch. The Drive.
Any NFL buff knows the context of each of those terms. Where they happened. And when. They are etched, immortal, into the annals of football lore.
Want to know why?
If it weren’t for history, I would not be currently sharing my thoughts via the technology of broadband WiFi on this miracle we take for granted known as the Internet. If it weren’t for history, there would be no texting, no Candy Crush Saga, xBox One, no interactive “smart, flat screen TV, no microwave popcorn. No Netflix!
In fact, I advised my challenger, if it were not for history and the possible mistake of his parents, there would be no him to make inane arguments about things that “suck.” I reminded him that it is ALL history. What isn’t happening in this very instant is either yet to happen or has already happened.
Forget football for a minute. Difficult to do, I know. But stay with me here…
The American Revolution.
Two World Wars.
The Roman Empire. The Greek Empire. The British Empire.
The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ?
My point here is to encourage us not to be shallow surface dwellers, assuming the only thing that matters is what is right now. I make this point knowing that some minds are immutably set for “play” with no rewind button. Some souls have no cache. No RAM. They lack the ability to learn something new and they lack the depth to care about anything that is NOT new.
Armstrong, Louis – “There are some people that if they don’t know, you can’t tell them.”
Cicero of Rome (another dude from ancient history) said, “To remain ignorant of things that happened before you were born is to remain a child.”
Ol’ Cicero was onto something important. The immature mind of a child has no sense of history and no appreciation for its importance. But as one matures, he becomes interested in understand who he is, why he is, what he is. You have to work backwards to get those answers.
I am not suggesting any of us lives in the past. I am suggesting we seek to understand it, to appreciate it, to use its wealth of knowledge and experience to aid us on our journey.
I am also suggesting we not judge another human based on what we see at this moment. That wrinkled skin, thinning, gray hair, deeply furrowed brow, frail-boned body was not always what it is right now. You would do well to learn the story of that life. Rather than dismissing it as ancient history, appreciate the importance of the individual and realize where they are now, you are headed—and faster than you think, champ.
I suppose I could have pulled an Old Testament verse on my fellow football enthusiast, but I thought better of it.
Here it is…
Deuteronomy 27:17 – “Cursed be he who removes his neighbor’s landmark.”
In other words, do not disregard the life, accomplishments, property, and dignity of your neighbor. Landmarks are things that smack of ancient history. You may be tempted to discard them and think them unimportant because, “What have you done for me lately?”
What makes the New York Yankees the Yankees? History.
What makes America the “grandest nation on earth?” History.
What should we do with the past?
Learn it. Learn from it. Respect it. But don’t dwell in it. There is more history to be made.
As you are making history, do not be distracted or discouraged by the shallow souls who will dismiss it.
Some people bask in the sunshine without a second’s thought for the sun.
Gardner, John W. – “History never looks like history when you are living through it.”