Mind Over Sports

I was watching the St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game last night on television and half way through the 14th inning the Cardinals were ahead by one run. It was a home game for Pittsburgh and the crowd was definitely rooting for their team, loudly. Here’s how Pittsburgh’s Website described what happened next: “Pittsburgh still had a chance with the middle part of their batting order coming up in the bottom of the 14th inning. Second baseman Neil Walker led off with a single to center field. All-Star center fielder Andrew McCutchen followed and made the crowd erupt. After falling behind in the count 1-2, McCutchen drove the next pitch to deep center field to give the Pirates a 6-5 walk-off victory. PNC Park was electric at that moment as the Pirates had brought themselves closer to the division lead.” That hit also allowed McCutchen to extend his 17-game hitting streak.

If one believes in PK (Psychokinesis) as I do, then I would say that all those people in the PNC stadium rooting for McCutchen to hit a home run, not to mention the vast television audience who was thinking “home run.” actually created that home run by willing it to happen.

According to the book, The Psychic Side of Sports written by Michael Murphy and Rhea A. White, during the 1970’s, “a number of psychics had come to public attention with claims that they could perform feats of psychokinesis (PK), that is, the power to affect objects by purely mental means…The existence of PK,” according to Murphy and White, “has been scientifically verified in many laboratories to the satisfaction of many reliable witnesses. Theoretically, PK ability can provide that extra edge which might explain some otherwise unexplainable athletic feats. But is there any evidence that PK occurs in sports?

“Most PK laboratory experiments involve influencing the throw of the dice. Subjects ‘will’ specific die faces to turn up, or to fall to the left or right. Willing is often mentioned by athletes. They often make many statements to suggest that at times they can actually ‘will’ things to happen. There are many golf stories about changing the flight of the ball through the power of the mind. Don Lauck notes that for years golf galleries had believed that Jack Nicklaus ‘could win whenever he wanted, could will the ball into the cup if he needed a birdie at the 18th.’

“John Brodie, (who formerly played for the San Francisco 49’ers) once discussed a touchdown pass he threw to 49’ers end, Gene Washington:

Murphy: When the play began it looked for a moment like the safety would make an interception. But then it seemed as if the ball went through or over his hands as he came in front of Washington.

Brodie: Pat Fischer, the cornerback, told the reporters after the game that the ball seemed to jump right over his hands as he went for it. When we studied the game films that week, it did look as if the ball kind of jumped over his hands into Gene’s. Some of them said it was the wind – and maybe it was.

Murphy: What do you mean by maybe?

Brodie: What I mean is that our sense of that pass was so clear and our intention so strong that the ball was bound to get there, come wind, cornerbacks, hell or high water.’”

The power of the mind is amazing. And even now during this 21st century I believe we’ve barely tapped into its potential. Especially in the field of sports.

There are a number of reasons why the Pittsburgh Pirates will be in (and should win) the World Series. First and foremost they have some of the best players in major league baseball, including Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, Josh Harrison, Pedro Alverez, Gregory Polanco and one of baseball’s top closers in Mark Melancon. But they also have the best manager in major league baseball: Clint Hurdle. Those managers who have had adversity in their lives, as Hurdle has, have the greatest empathy for their players. Hurdle genuinely cares about his players as human beings first and then as athletic performers. And his players know it. It’s something you can’t fake. And if you combine that with his vast knowledge of baseball, plus the talented ballplayers he has on his team…you have a winning combination.

If you’re an athlete and happen to get into a tiff with your girlfriend or boyfriend or your significant other the night before you’re going to compete in your sport, here’s a tip from the late Charlton Heston, guaranteed to resolve the situation in an instant.

A few months before he passed, I happened to catch an interview with him on national television. The interviewer asked him: “Mr. Heston, you and your wife, Lydia, live in Beverly Hills, California, where the divorce rate is almost 80% and yet you and she have been married for 65 years. What is your secret?”

Mr. Heston thought for a moment then replied, holding up five fingers on one of his hands: “Five little words.”
The interviewer was astonished and said: “Five little words? Can you tell us the words?”
To which Mr. Heston replied: “I’m sorry, I was wrong.”

Next time you have a tiff with your girlfriend, boyfriend or significant other the night before you’re going to compete in your sport, try using these five little words. They will diffuse the situation and will enhance your performance the following day. Guaranteed.

Johnny Manziel, former Heisman Trophy Winner who is now competing for the quarterback job with the Cleveland Browns, should have a great season! Anytime an NFL player receives counseling regarding issues they may be harboring, their game almost automatically improves. In Johnny’s case, he spent more than 10 weeks this year in an alcohol treatment center and if that center is anything like AA, he should show remarkable improvement in his game. For starters, when an athlete goes through that type of therapy it improves his ability to focus. It also enhances his feelings of self-worth. So if Johnny stays committed to staying away from booze, watch for the Browns to make it into the playoffs.

Those of you who read my column know the value I place on transforming sports teams into support groups, allowing team members to share their problem and issues with each other. And when this process take place, participants experience an enhanced feeling of self-worth (self-esteem) and begin to perform close to their skill levels on a consistent basis.

But I also advocate support groups for our school systems across the country, where children who show definite signs of being disturbed due to a dysfunctional home life are allowed to talk about their issues with their peers, diffusing any volatile behavior they may be bottling up inside themselves.

When Richard Matt and David Sweat were young, both emerged from splintered families and painful childhoods. David Sweat spent time in a foster home and was considered “a disturbed child.” Richard Matt would terrorize kids on the school bus. Even in elementary and junior high he had issues.

Why didn’t their teachers intervene in their lives and provide a school-based support group to help them. The answer? Our school systems believe personal problems and issues should be dealt with at home, not at school, even though there’s no one at home to help these disturbed children.

It’s time our school systems changed and begin conducting on-site support groups for children who appear in their classes, obviously disturbed, instead of waiting for them to explode upon our society later in life, as killers.

My name is Lieutenant Columbo of the LAPD Homicide Department and I’ve been assigned the Tiger Woods case. It’s pretty obvious somebody murdered his golf game and my job is to find out who.

One of the first things I noticed (I’m always noticing things) was when Tiger and his Swedish ex-wife, Elin Nordegren were divorced, I couldn’t find anything negative that was said about her in the media. And by the way, another thing I’ve noticed is that Tiger has a history of dating tall beautiful statuesque blonds who are highly intelligent, like Elin, and when he does he starts winning tournaments.

But getting back to the case. I talked Tiger’s divorce over with my wife (she’s very smart about things like this) and she said whenever there’s a divorce it’s never just one of the partner’s fault. It’s always both partners who contribute to the divorce, and yet, like I said, I couldn’t find anything negative about her, even in old newspaper clippings. Now, to my wife (and to me, too) that is very strange. It sounds like a “cover-up” so I had to ask myself, why in the world would anyone want to cover-up her contribution to the split-up?

Then, I dug a little deeper and came up with a very interesting statistic. I googled “The Sexual Behavior of Swedish Women” and you’ll never believe what I came up with. Listen to this: Did you know that 39% of all Swedish women have sexual fantasies of having sex with another woman. That’s right. Thirty-Nine percent. So I had to ask myself, is it possible that Tiger’s ex-wife falls into this category? Or that she’s had sex with other women? That would certainly account for Tiger’s promiscuity. Who knows?…maybe he came home one day and found her in bed with another woman? When you’re investigating a murder anything is possible.

So here’s what I think may have happened. When Tiger and his ex got a divorce, Tiger did everything humanly possible to keep his ex-wife’s sexual practices out of the media. Why? Because he was worried about the effect it could have on his children. And, in my opinion, it’s been like a dark cloud over his head, just like that Joe Btfsplk guy in those Lil’ Abner cartoons. And it’s this very cover-up that could be affecting his game because he is “withholding.”

I checked with a sport psychology consultant who happens to be a friend of mine and he said that when an athlete withholds it’s a form of lying that demeans him (in this case, Tiger) and not only lowers his self-esteem but also creates psychological baggage that affect his ability to focus and process information. My friend also told me it could be a source for “misdirected anger.” He said that when and if I’m able to find the murderer he predicts we will see an entirely new Tiger because a big load will have been lifted from his shoulders. And that dark cloud will disappear.

There’s one other thing my friend told me. He said that he believes Tiger is over-estimating the effect it will have on his children since most children are highly resilient and are capable of adapting to adversity in their lives. Especially if they have been loved unconditionally as he was sure Tiger’s children have been.

Now, here’s my problem. I can’t just arrest Tiger’s ex for having murdered his game, unless, some national sports writer gets wind of this and after finding out it’s true writes a column about it. And if that happens, my friend says he believes you will see an entirely different Tiger Woods on the golf course, providing, of course, he’s found another tall, beautiful statuesque blond who is highly intelligent.

Most followers of professional golf are aware that Jordan Spieth is the youngest U.S. Open Champion since Bobby Jones in 1923. What they don’t realize is the powerful positive effect his sister has had on his game. Ellie is his special needs sister.  He is not only close to her but when growing up he often volunteered his time at her school. It’s this relationship that has fueled his feelings of self-worth and made it possible for him to become the golfer he has become. I call this “Excelling For A Higher Order.” For athletes like Jordan, when you’re happy and your life is in harmony you create positive events in your life, on and off the field of competition.

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Marv Fremerman
Mind Over Sports
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