Mind Over Sports

HOW FINANCIAL DIFFICULTY AFFECTS AN ATHLETE’S LIFE, ON AND OFF THE FIELD.

Posted on: June 27, 2011

In the June 27, 2011 issue of USA Today, ex-NFL coach Joe Gibbs said he witnessed the following scene too many times: “A player would be upset with his contract (and) we’d be in serious discussions…and during the conversation it dawns on you, ‘Are you in financial trouble?’ That happens over and over again…it plays out a lot.” Gibbs also said: “I definitely feel like anybody that’s worried about their finances, it’ll affect every part of your life…Certainly your career and your focus…it’s an awful feeling to have a financial mess. It carries over to every part of your life.”

Including, how you perform on the field. For those of you who are familiar with my column, you know that I’ve always maintained that what takes place off the field of competition affects what takes place on the field of competition. I’ve used many examples in the past and a physician friend of mine, who is quite knowledgeable about the field of medicine, said: “Yes, Marvin, but it’s strictly anecdotal.” And he’s right. There really isn’t any research to back up my theory that I’ve been espousing for the past 25 years.

A good example is George Brett. Few people realize that George had a secret weapon when he came to bat. His brother, Bobby, handled all his finances and made sure that the money was put away for safe keeping. Today, they are both millionaires and own a couple of baseball franchises in the northwest part of the country.

And so, you have to ask: If a financial mess can negatively affect an athlete’s performance, what about a divorce, or an extra-marital affair, or drugs. There’s no question that Casey Stengel was right when he said: “Most ball games are lost, not won.”

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