Here’s a fun test. Look at these three dates carefully:
- October 31, 2009
- January 14, 2007
- April 6, 2005
Question: What happened on those dates? Do you remember where you were and what you did? If you can’t, those dates are examples of countless ordinary days that blend together into a blur, a streak of sameness that shoots by without giving it a second thought. What can’t be remembered is forgotten. What is forgotten is deleted because it never gets deposited into our memory banks. What doesn’t get deposited is that which does not strike a chord.
According to the Ebbinghaus Curve, if something big doesn’t happen today, this date will be completely forgotten sometime between the next day and 30 days later. An ordinary day without something big happening fades from memory between within a month. You will never be able to pick out that day from any other day. It becomes just one of the blur. Extraordinary days are another story.
The same applies to people. If you don’t do anything big today, yesterday or tomorrow, you run the risk of being forgotten. You will become part of the blur. You will never be memorable except to a handful of people, family and a few friends, who will remember your name because they had to – you fed them or they fed you.
There is no generic definition of ‘big’ that guarantees being memorable. The definition is contextual. Something big is part of the context, the big picture. But one thing is for certain – to qualify as something big, it has to strike a chord. Anything that strikes a chord will be remembered longer than usual. If it really strikes a chord the, you will remember it forever.
The miracle of long-term memory is both a blessing and a curse. It’s fashionable to post Facebook comments about letting the past go to make you feel good but in reality, the past, both good and bad, is what made you. The bad part of your past is either fuel or fire. It will ignite a fire that will move you to great heights or it will burn you up. The great part of your past is exactly the same as the hell part. It can inspire you to achieve more memorable moments or it can make you live in the glory days of the past while the present and future pass you by wishing and hoping that you could re-live the glory days. You can’t. You have to make new glory days.
The good news about the bad and the good parts of the past is academic- lessons are learned from both. Lessons that will shape your present and future unless you become complacent and retire in a rocking chair with your favourite/favorite cardigan. The lessons learned from the good and bad part of the past can make you unstoppable or stop you dead in your tracks.
I have three anniversaries this week. Each one marks a perfect football season, between 1985-1994, that three different teams I coached worked like hell to earn. The day that each perfect season ends is memorable. It carves and indelible mark in long-term memory because championship day of a perfect season is as big as it gets for an athletic career. You remember the time, place, weather, what you were wearing, what you said and did and heard and felt at the exact moment that four zeroes hit the clock at the end of the fourth quarter.
A perfect season is just what it sounds like – perfect results, perfect memory. It all sounds perfect almost three decades later but, in reality, it was far from perfect. We had to go through hell to earn them. Each perfect season started out as a nightmare. All three prefect seasons required the highest level of working out, lifting, training, practice, and performance. Guts had to be spilled. Perfect seasons change you forever. They make you believe that anything is possible. The word ‘impossible’ is deleted from your vocabulary. Two more championships followed in 1995 and 1996 but they weren’t undefeated seasons. Those two shiny championship rings are just as pretty as the other two but the zero on the perfect record makes the ring just a little bit prettier.
Three perfect seasons in the first decade of a head coaching career with three different teams can spoil you. I was blessed to have experienced it. But it also has become a curse because I expected the same level of commitment, training, working out, and performance every year. That hasn’t happened. There has been a downward slide in the past 5-10 years that has reached a crisis point. The commitment level has now hit rock bottom. It’s as bad as it can get. Classic case of loving the fame but hating the game. The nightmare has to be experienced to be believed. I thank God Almighty for allowing me to coach football in the pre-Internet era because every perfect season and every championship ring happened before screen addiction killed athletics. The physical and mental condition of players I’ve coached in the past 5-10 years is at an all-time low.
My sincere congratulations to those who made it happen in the 80s and 90s – Port Colborne High School, Sir Winston Churchill High School (Hamilton), Hill Park High School (Hamilton), and Hamilton Wildcats (semi-pro team). What you accomplished won’t be forgotten. You were part of an era that respected the sport and the process. #KeepLifting
Gino Arcaro M.Ed., B.Sc., Level 3 NCCP (Nat’l Coaching Certification Program)
Head coach – Niagara X-men football
Owner – X Fitness Inc.
Gino Arcaro is a widely published author. His website, blog, Youtube channel, and list of books are at: www.ginoarcaro.com
His books include:
4th & hell: seasons 1-5, Soul of a Lifter, SWAT Offense, SWAT Defense, X Fitness Workout System, and a 3 business book series called Soul of an Entrepreneur
He also has written 20 editions of 6 law enforcement academic textbooks. A new 8-volume interrogation book series will be released in 2014. And just released, a new children’s book called “BE FIT – DON’T QUIT.” His latest book on human potential called “Hashtag Peace” is at the editing stage. He just finished another book called “Lifter’s High.” Both will be released soon.