"My Back Pages"
While channel surfing the other night I found John Sebastian’s infomercial on the folk music of the 1960s. Having lived through that era I was amazed to see all the musicians from that time that are still at it (and what they look like) today. Jesse Colin Young, Peter Paul and Mary, Pete Seeger, Judy Collins, Roger McGuinn, the Chad Mitchell Trio and Barry McGuire. McGuire, whose website describes him as a prolific singer, songwriter, storyteller and truth-seeker, still sounds the same when singing The Eve of Destruction but he sure doesn’t look the same. Bald head and a leather biker outfit are his brand today and although he certainly represented the counter-culture back then, he looks more like it today than he ever did back then. But regardless of his looks now versus then, he still has and sings with the passion of a real minstrel.
The 60s were when the term ‘counter-culture’ really got its meaning – protests were everywhere and ideas and mores were changing faster and more dramatically then than at any time in the past. We tend to forget the magnitude and pace of those changes in light of today’s internet-based speed of change. But back then it wasn’t the speed of change as much as the magnitude of what was changing that made those times so historically memorable. From the election of John Kennedy, the civil rights protests, ground-breaking legislation, the anti-war movement to the man on the moon, that was a decade to remember and the songs on this info-show sure highlighted all that went on when so many of us were coming of age. If there’s one thing that characterizes and defines that era, it’s passion. In all of its Day-Glo color and rhetoric, the passion of the 60s was real and definitely found in its music.
So not surprisingly, my message this week is about passion.
“It's hard to beat a person who never gives up.”
George Herman Ruth, Jr. (1895 –1948), best known as "Babe" Ruth was an American Major League baseball player from 1914–1935. He became one of the first five players elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame and has since become regarded as one of the greatest sports heroes in American culture.
Do you give up easily? Sports figures are judged every time they step up to the plate - they could give up after missing so many chances but most of the time they don’t quit – they just get ready for the next pitch. And neither should you give up if things don’t go exactly as you’d hoped – because eventually, if you work hard enough and practice long enough, and prepare well enough – you might become unstoppable. That requires a burning passion for the things you’re doing, because passion is not a one-time or every-now-and-then thing; it’s a never-quit and always-show-it attitude that leads you and others to the finish line. And if you make it to the finish line you just might win. But remember: you can’t win unless you try and it’s hard to beat someone who tries passionately to win and never gives up.
PS: As the infomercial ended, Roger McGuinn was singing these words from the Bob Dylan classic My Back Pages: “oh but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now”. Amen.