Mind Over Sports

Archive for January 2013

The answer is: Yes. But it depends…
After reading Steve Helling’s book called “Tiger” it’s now obvious that what brought Tiger out of his past slumps was a meaningful relationship with a beautiful well-educated statuesque blond, someone he admired and would even consider marrying. In other words, a “significant other.”

There is no question that when athletes are happy and their lives are in harmony they will perform close to their skill levels on a consistent basis. In 1999, after a two year slump, Tiger met Joanna Jagoda, a pretty blond co-ed at Cal-Santa Barbara who was not only beautiful but also intelligent and ambitious with an intent on attending law school. As soon as they began dating (including her taking trips with Tiger to tournaments around the globe) Tiger returned to dominance and as Helling points out in his book, “beginning a three year winning streak that would cement his spot as one of golf’s best players.” But in 2001, his relationship with Joanna began to fade (along with caddie problems he was experiencing) and his game suffered. And it was then that he met Elin Nordegren, another highly intelligent, beautiful, statuesque blond. In 2003, he ended his relationship with Joanna and began dating Elin exclusively and suddenly, his game returned to the Tiger of old.

Since his divorce, it’s unknown if Tiger has had a new “significant other” in his life but it’s been rumored that he’s been dating another statuesque blond whose name is Lindsey Vonn,  an Olympic Skier. If this rumor is true, then during the 2013 golf season we should be seeing a new, improved Tiger Woods.  But only time will tell.  Postscript: In today’s news we learned that Lindsey Vonn tore two knee ligaments in a tumbling crash during the Alpine World Championships in Austria and will require reconstructive surgery.  Let’s hope she gets well soon and that her new relationship with Tiger (if true) hasn’t affected her ability to focus.

I read the review of the Broncos vs Ravens game in USA Today and was surprised that the reporter didn’t mention the bad offensive play calling by the Broncos. With the score tied and 31 seconds remaining until the end of regulation playing time and the Broncos having two time-outs left, with Peyton Manning at the helm, he was instructed to take a knee. it seems to me that whoever was calling the offensive plays for the Broncos was trying not to lose, rather than trying to win. It was such an obvious error that even one of the announcers asked: “Am I missing something?”

As those of you who read my column know, I’m a strong believer in: what takes place away from the football field affects what takes place on the football field, both positive and negative. And there’s no better example of the positive than the relationship between Alabama Quarterback AJ McCarron and his girlfriend, Katherine Webb. When athletes feel good about themselves and have a high sense of self-worth, and their lives are in harmony, they will perform close to their skill levels on a consistent basis. And in my opinion, McCarron’s relationship with Ms. Webb, who also happens to be Miss Alabama 2012, is one of the main reasons Alabama drubbed Notre Dame, 42-14. But keep in mind, in order for McCarron to have performed at the level he did he must possess the skill level, which he obviously does. Head coach Nick Saban can only hope that McCarron and Webb stick together and have a happy, loving relationship for the next year because if they do, there will be hot times in Tuscaloosa and the Tide will continue to roll.

The following is from a report on the Internet:

Following a Super Bowl party in Atlanta on January 31, 2000, a fight broke out between Ray Lewis and his companions and another group of people, resulting in the stabbing deaths of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar. Lewis and two companions, Reginald Oakley and Joseph Sweeting, were questioned by Atlanta police, and eleven days later the three men were indicted on murder and aggravated assault charges. The white suit Lewis was wearing the night of the killings has never been found. Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard alleged that the bloodstained suit was dumped in a garbage bin outside a fast food restaurant.
Lewis’ attorneys negotiated a plea agreement with the Fulton County District Attorney, where the murder charges against Lewis were dismissed in exchange for his testimony against Oakley and Sweeting, and his guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge of obstruction of justice. Lewis admitted that he gave a misleading statement to police on the morning after the killings. Superior Court Judge Alice D. Bonner sentenced Lewis to 12 months’ probation, the maximum sentence for a first-time offender; and he was fined $250,000 by the NFL, which was believed to be the highest fine levied against an NFL player for an infraction not involving substance abuse. Under the terms of the sentence, Lewis could not use drugs or alcohol during the duration of the probation.
Oakley and Sweeting were acquitted of the charges in June 2000. No other suspects have ever been arrested for the crime.
On April 29, 2004, Lewis reached a settlement with four-year-old India Lollar, born months after the death of her father Richard, preempting a scheduled civil proceeding. Lewis also reached an undisclosed settlement with Baker’s family.

Did Ray Lewis commit murder and get away with it? No one will ever know for sure but I believe his involvement in the case put fear in the hearts of his teammates. And I also believe that he, like most superstars, has created internal problems on the team. When he gets in the face of teammates and screams at them, he does more harm than good. But all these years they’ve feared speaking up. No one has ever attempted to rein him in with the exception of Mike Singletary, when he was the Raven’s linebacker coach. I believe the Ravens, in the long run, will be much better off without him.


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