Mind Over Sports

Archive for April 2016

In November, 1997, Tom Watson quit drinking and his wife, Linda, divorced him. Not long after, in 1998, Professional Golfer Denis Watson (of Zimbabwe) went through a divorce when his wife, Hilary, left him and their three infant children (Kyle, Paige and Ross) and shortly thereafter, in 1999, married Tom. She must have been madly in love with Tom to have abandoned her three small children and one would think that, right after Tom and Hilary were married, his golf game would have improved immensely. But it didn’t. It’s difficult to build any kind of relationship on other people’s unhappiness. Hilary’s feelings of guilt had to have a negative effect on Tom and his golf game.

Fast forward to 2009 when Hilary’s children are older and have joined Tom and her on their farm in Stilwell, Kansas, and Hilary was once again happy. Which, of course, positively affected Tom’s game. That same year, nearing his 60th birthday, Tom led the British Open much of the way before losing in a play-off. I don’t think it was a coincidence that when Hilary had her children back with her, Tom’s game improved.

It’s been said that you can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who can do nothing for them or to them. Former major league baseball pitcher Curt Schilling might be a prime example. My understanding is that when he was a player he treated others around him badly and was not well-liked by his teammates. If true, then what is happening in his personal life now would be an excellent example of the psi factor at work. The psi factor (Psycho Self-Imagery) maintains basically that “what goes around comes around” and that people who treat other people badly will eventually have to pay the piper.

According to an NESN article on the internet:

Curt Schilling has been through more in recent years than most people. The former Boston Red Sox pitcher saw $50 million go down the drain when his video game company, 38 Studios, went bankrupt, and he was diagnosed with mouth cancer in February. But he doesn’t want anyone to feel bad for him. “I brought this on myself,” Schilling said in a revealing interview with ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan. “For the last two years, I’ve had to stand in front of my wife and kids and explain to them, ‘I lost $50 million and my company went bankrupt, and it was all my fault.’ Then I had to stand in front of them and tell them, ‘I have cancer because I dipped.’ “They are conversations I wouldn’t wish on anyone.” MacMullen’s story covers the lows in Schilling’s life, how he went from three-time World Series-winning pitcher to failed businessman and cancer patient in such a short span of time. Schilling’s struggles were so bad that he became depressed while undergoing the grueling cancer treatments. “I always believed God gave us the tools to take care of ourselves,” Schilling said. “I was thinking, ‘Yeah, I’m depressed. It’s been a crappy few months, but I’ll bounce out of it.’ Only I didn’t. I was having a terrible effect on my wife and kids.” Schilling is in remission and since has been treated for the depression, but MacMullen noted that the ex-hurler’s body has taken a toll. He’s thinner, and his voice isn’t as strong as it once was because of what radiation did to his throat and mouth. But Schilling is taking it all in stride and is thankful to be alive. “I’m lucky on so many levels,” Schilling said. “I look pretty much the same. It could have been so much worse.”

And now, as reported by USA TODAY columnist Christine Brennan, he’s been fired by ESPN for his “Facebook tirade against access to public facilities for transgender people.”
Based on my experience working with cancer patients, I would not be surprised if Curt Schilling’s cancer re-surfaces. The reason for this is that when someone experiences high levels of stress in their life, their body gives off hormones such as cortisol that impairs their immune system and the cancer cells in their body begin to multiply faster than they can be devoured by their immune system. In Schilling’s situation it could be different since the NESN article said he had been treated for depression, which means he has been under the care of a therapist which is probably what saved his life when he was initially diagnosed.

Most people don’t realize it but Danny Willett (and his wife Nicole) had a secret weapon that helped him win the Masters. The secret weapon’s name is Zachariah, Willett’s new baby son who arrived a week before the first round. How did he help? Simply by being himself. You see, over the years I’ve found there’s a high correlation between how happy an athlete is and how much his or her life is in harmony and his or her level of performance. Athletes who are happy and whose lives are in harmony perform close to their sill levels on a consistent basis. This not only applies to male golfers, but to female golfers as well. Watch what happens when a female golfer takes a break and has a baby, then returns to the tour and starts winning tournaments. If you want to check out my theory, ask Julie Inkster.

In an article that appeared in the May 27, 2005 issue of USA Today, it was pointed out that baseball player Wade Boggs consumed chicken at 2pm on game days throughout his 18-year career. (When he was inducted into the Cooperstown Hall of Fame, he thanked his elderly father who was sitting in the front row, but shouldn’t he have also thanked Kentucky Fried Chicken?)

Swedish great Bjorn Borg never shaved during the Wimbledon fortnight, which he won from 1976-80. Tennis star James Blake wore the same Nike baseball cap without washing it for three weeks in a 14-match winning streak.

An article in The New Yorker Magazine explained how Chinese parents are superstitious to the point where they hesitate to praise their children, because they believe pride brings on misfortune. One has to wonder if former NBA star Yao Ming was ever praised by his parents while growing up in China?

In baseball, no one speaks to a pitcher who is in the midst of a no-hitter and often they won’t even mention it to a teammate.

I once began working with a NCAA Division I men’s basketball team halfway through their season. They had a dismal 3-15 record and their coach allowed me to take them into a room where they proceeded to “unload” all their issues in the privacy of a team meeting, which was followed by visualization exercises. They won 8 out of their final 10 games and the coach thought it was because he wore the same under shorts every day, without laundering them once.

Some athletes believe a particular number on their jersey is important to success. If they have the number, they have extra confidence that enhances performance. If the team manager assigns a different number, the player loses confidence and that loss is reflected in performance. A wise coach takes advantage of his or her athletes’ beliefs, no matter how crazy they may seem to be, in order to build a team’s strength.

The athlete’s belief system controls performance, not the coach’s. If athletes believe that being sexually active the night before a big game will make them more relaxed and that they will therefore perform better, they will – regardless of what their coach believes. Coaches often try to force their own belief systems on their athletes and it just doesn’t work. The best coaches, the most successful ones, are those who instinctively tap into the belief systems of their players and use those beliefs to the team’s advantage.

In matters of health, what a patient believes about the potency of a particular medicine or treatment is almost as important as the medicine or treatment itself.


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