Mind Over Sports

Archive for January 2009

bichon-olderNow let me go on record. I have a 14-year old Bichon Frieze who I would die for. Her name is Scarlet and she is my buddy. We go everywhere together, including when she takes me for long walks.

But as big a dog lover as I am, I am also one who believes that when a person pays the penalty for having committed a crime, that person, such as Michael Vick, should be forgiven so that he can move on with his life.

If new head coach Mike Singletary of the San Francisco 49ers decides to sign Michael when he’s released from prison, it’s a sign that Singletary is just practicing his strong Christian beliefs. He doesn’t just talk the talk; he also walks the walk. Of course it helps that Michael is a fantastic quarterback who can run and pass the ball with great efficiency, but more important will be the effect his hiring will have on the team.

michael-vickSingletary will be sending them a strong message that he cares about players as human beings first, and then as athletic performers. And this is something that can’t be faked, although some coaches try to do just that. So I say good luck to Michael. And Michael, it wouldn’t hurt also if you were to donate a percentage of your earnings to The Humane Society. Believe it or not, it will actually help your performance on the field.

mike-ditka-photographThe NFL Players Union and the NFL owners should help former NFL athletes who are financially and physically devastated by injuries they sustained while playing in the NFL. Most of them have used up their life savings because of huge medical bills. Some of these athletes include Conrad Dobler, Brent Boyd, Harry Carson, Donnie Green, Mike Mosley, and Brian DeMarco, just to name a few. In 2002, former player Mike Webster died, destitute and demented.

Mike Ditka’s Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund is a nonprofit organization that is helping these players. Its website is http://www.gridirongreats.org If you’d like to make a donation, call 800-708-1078 or e-mail to gridirongreats24@aol.com

According to an Internet report, “Donald Sanderson, a 21 year old rookie defenseman for the Whitby Dunlops, an amateur hockey team in a Toronto suburb, died Jan. 2nd of injuries he sustained when he hit his head after falling to the ice during a fight Dec. 12. He was in a coma for three weeks. It was his fourth fight in 11 games with the Dunlops, a highly competitive amateur team of players 21 and older. Although in many ways, the accident appeared to be a fluke — Sanderson’s helmet became dislodged during the scuffle and the players fell to the ice together — his death has led to headlines across Canada and revived a longstanding debate over what role, if any, fighting should play in hockey.”

*Jan 18 - 00:05*Desk emailNot long ago, I did some work for the Missouri State University Ice Bears, which included both men and women (actually, young girls) in Springfield, Missouri, and saw my first hockey game up close. I was appalled that the game was allowed to be stopped and players encouraged by their teammates to engage in fisticuffs. I told my friends and coaches who were associated with the Ice Bears that I thought if they ever wanted to make ice hockey a family sport, where parents brought their children, the organized fighting in hockey games should be banned. I still feel that way today, but even more so. A player’s skills should be valued more than his or her fists.

I’ve always been of the opinion that there’s not a great deal of difference between the talent of NFL veterans and the young rookies coming up through the ranks. And yet when a team embarks on what they perceive to be a “Re-Building Year” and they announce it to the media and their fans, they are actually providing their players with a justification for losing. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. This negative expectation is sometimes referred to as the “Nocebo Effect” not to be confused with its counterpart, the “Placebo Effect.” Smart coaches and General Managers will never use the phrase “Re-Building Year” because this mentality will show up in the won-lost column. Every year the team goal should be the Super Bowl, regardless of circumstances.


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