Mind Over Sports

Jon Saraceno’s Column on A-Rod

Posted on: September 15, 2006

51135720EZ_D020059011As a rule, I enjoy USA Today’s sports columnist Jon Saraceno’s writing, but last July 24th it could have been much more on target when writing about New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez’s hitting and fielding problems. He should have focused on A-Rod’s personal life rather than quoting Lou Piniella saying: “I told him to relax, have some fun and not blame himself.” A-Rod already has demonstrated that he’s the type of person who keeps his feelings bottled-up. For example, in the 2005 playoffs last year when he batted a miserable .133 and the Yankees lost, only later did we find out (when his mother went public) that an uncle of his had passed away and that particular uncle was like a father figure to him. What should have been done at that time was to bring A-Rod into a team meeting and allow him to interact with his fellow teammates regarding what he was feeling. Once he released those feelings, he would have felt much better and his batting average would have been considerably higher…and who knows, the Yankees may have made it into the World Series. I would bet my ex-wife’s house that A-Rod is again keeping his feelings bottled up and it’s showing up in his performance. In professional sports today, there’s a prevailing belief that if you pay an athlete enough money, he or she will perform. But athletes are also human beings with feelings, and when they withhold those feelings it’s a form of lying that demeans them and lowers their self-esteem, creating psychological baggage that affects their ability to focus and process information.

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