Repeat after me; Cliff Lee is gone, and he’s never coming back.

Now breathe deeply.

Repeat after me; Donovan McNabb is gone, and he’s never coming back.

Count to ten. While we’re at it…

Repeat after me; Brian Dawkins is gone, and he’s never coming back.

This will be a very helpful exercise, I promise.

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Anytime I have a friend who has a relationship end with a girl or loses a job, I tell him to read “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson. It’s a simple ,short book, with a simple, short, but very helpful message. Looking forward is infinitely more helpful and enjoyable than looking back.

The book is probably about a hundred pages, but I’ll sum it up in a couple of sentences. There are two mice, each in separate mazes. For several weeks, their cheese was place in the exact same spot of the maze. One day, the cheese is put in a different place in the maze.

The two mice react differently. They both initially return to the spot of the old cheese. One however, keeps going to the same spot. He can’t figure out why, or who moved the cheese. The mouse eventually starves and dies. The other mouse decides to search the rest of the maze for food. He finds it and survives.

You can learn from the past, that’s true. We can learn from mistakes like trading Cliff Lee, allowing the McNabb era to go on a season or two too long, or letting go of Brian Dawkins. We cannot change what happened though, and that’s where we seem stuck.

I can imagine if it’s a slow sports day, all I’d have to do to get some conversation going on WIP would be to say “Donovan McNabb” or “Cliff Lee.”

Think of Cliff Lee as the summer fling your buddy had with the girl who eventually moved away. Everything he remembers about that relationship was perfect. They never fought, the sex was great, and it ended too early. The problem is, he compares every relationship to that summer fling and he’s never happy. He won’t be able to truly move on until he can accept the fact that it’s over.

It doesn’t matter if the Roy Oswalt deal is an admission of a mistake. It doesn’t matter if it makes up for Cliff Lee. Neither of those things have anything to do with the next 60 baseball games the Phillies will play.

Think of Donovan McNabb as the three year relationship that lasted a year too long. That last year was all fighting, and that’s all your buddy remembers. He won’t get into another long term relationship, because all he tries to figure out is what went wrong, all the fighting. To make it worse, he keeps checking her Facebook page to see if she’s dating anyone or says anything about him. It doesn’t matter what Donovan says about the Eagles or us as fans. He’s gone.

I was going to compare Brian Dawkins to a widow, but it felt too creepy and insensitive. You get the picture.

Think of every moment of pure joy we’ve had as Philadelphia sports fans. It’s when we were able to forget about the past and just believe. The only way to do that is to put the past where it belongs.

I want us to be excited about the Eagles and Kevin Kolb. I want us to be excited about the Phillies and Roy Oswalt. We have every right to be. We know where the new cheese is, let’s go eat it.