Living in the Moment (and other lessons from the Pirates)


I am a Pittsburgh Pirates fan.

Let me be clear, I am not a recent bandwagon fan- but a fan from birth. A fan whose love for the Pirates came together around players like “skinny” Barry Bonds, Andy Van Slyke, Bobby Bonilla, Mike “Spanky” Lavalliere, Chico Lind, Sid Bream and many more. I was present during the 1997 “Freak Show” season when Francisco Cordova and Ricardo Rincon threw a combined no-hitter that was won on a Mike Smith 10th inning walk-off home run. And I have rooted for the Pirates for the last 21 years of losing seasons without a playoff appearance or win- until last night.

The Pirates 6-2 win over the Reds was everything I hoped it could be and more. Mostly- that we got past the “play-in, play-off” game to the “real playoffs” versus the Cardinals. Since the win last night, I have been savoring the sounds, the sights, and the memories (Like watching with my two daughters- of which one is developing into a Pirates fan!).

Here is the lesson of 21 years of losing for me. Be present in the moment because you don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

When Sid Bream scored ahead of Barry Bonds’ (candy-arm) throw in the 9th inning of Game 7 of the 1992 NLCS- sending the Pirates home and the Braves to the World Series, my thought was that it wouldn’t be long until the Pirates would be back. Five years later, the 1997 “Freak Show” team made a run at the playoffs and fell short. The 2000’s were abysmal (Thanks for nothing David Littlefield). And now, 21 years later, we finally have a winning season and a playoff victory.

21 years ago, I would have never thought it would have taken this long.

This is why I’m savoring the moment. Soaking in the memories. Because we really never know what tomorrow (or the next day might bring).

Jesus, in Matthew 6:34- “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. each day has enough trouble of its own.”

How often do we get caught up thinking about tomorrow, or next week, or next month that we miss out or become unaware of what is happening now? It is easy getting our minds caught up in other things (Facebook, texting, etc.) that we are not truly present in the moment. But the moment is all we have. While there is nothing really wrong with hopes and dreams for the future, if we live with our head in the clouds about tomorrow we miss out on what God has for us today. This moment.

In the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 5:11, Jesus says, “Give us today our daily bread.”

In other words- Jesus says not to worry about tomorrow’s bread. But give us today. Provide for us today. Sometimes, I am guilty of thinking about tomorrow to the point that I miss out today. And I have to much to be present for today; my faith, my wife, my two daughters.

As you read this- think about the Pirates, who went from one of the most successful teams in the early 1990’s to 21 years of losing. Be present in the day that God has given you. Savor the moments and the relationships. Live fully into the life that God has for you without worry about where God will lead you tomorrow.

And one more thing- Go Pirates!

About Steve LaMotte

Husband of Andrea and father of four amazing children. Pastor at Avenue United Methodist Church in Milford, Delaware.
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