Mind Over Sports

Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Last night I watched the SMU mustangs win their football game over Tulsa, 38-34. According to an internet report: “A big turning point for the SMU defense came on Tulsa’s first drive of the second half. A long touchdown rush for the Golden Hurricane was negated for taunting before the runner reached the end zone. It wiped the touchdown off the board, and the Mustangs held the Golden Hurricane to just three points.” I watched that play and couldn’t believe it was not allowed because of taunting, and if you watched the play you would see the receiver, when he knew he was end-zone bound and no one was around him, performed a single high stepping strut which the referees ruled consisted of taunting. The announcers believed the NCAA rule was ridiculous, as do I, and should be modified. The NCAA should realize that football is a game and if they insist on taking the fun out of it, over a period of time, fans will lose interest.

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I’ve often said that what you believe to be true is true for you, no matter how it plays out in the real world. A good example is Kansas City Chiefs’ running back Kareem Hunt, who has this belief that he gets stronger during the second half of games. In an interview Hunt said he’s always been someone who gets stronger as games wear on. This is a powerful belief that has helped to make him the NFL’s rushing leader through the first four weeks of the season. Hunt believes he gets stronger and because of this belief he actually does get stronger.
A number of years ago, Missouri University’s football team was playing Oklahoma University and Oklahoma was a huge favorite since they had an All-American quarterback. With just a few minutes to go in the first half, Oklahoma was winning 21-0. But on the last play of the first half, Oklahoma’s All-American quarterback was injured and had to be carried off the field on a stretcher and was out for the rest of the game. When the second half started, Missouri seemed to have a different mindset. Even though they were still competing against the same Oklahoma defense that held them scoreless in the first half, they were able to score three times in the second half but eventually lost the game by a point, 21-20. What made the difference? Their “belief” they could win once the Oklahoma quarterback was out of the game. And the Oklahoma team more than likely believed that with their quarterback out of the game, they could lose…and they almost did.

How can you tell if players are witholding and may have issues in their personal lives or team-related issues they aren’t addressing? Wide receivers drop passes that hit them in the numbers, or if they catch the pass they fumble the ball when tackled. Quarterbacks throw interceptions and are not able to see receivers who are open. Defensive players are missing tackles and not being aggressive. When a team isn’t motivated, the only way they can become motivated is by sharing their personal problems and issues with others, especially their teammates. If you want to help your team start winning, you might suggest to the team’s head coach, in a very gentle way, that he hire someone to conduct individual private sessions…with the offensive unit, the defensive unit, and special teams. There should be no coaches present. This would provide players with the opportunity to get things off their chest and clear the air, and when that happens they’ll begin to feel better about themselves and will begin performing at a higher level. And the meetings should take place weekly.

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Not at all. People who are angry and are saying the players are being disrespectful know better. But they have negative beliefs about blacks and hispanics and by saying the players are being disrespectful they are merely tapping into their own belief systems. They know the players are only attempting to bring attention to the way in which people of color are being treated in this country in our criminal justice system. That the players are attempting to bring attention to the fact that people of color in this country often live in low sub-standard (and unsafe) housing, that they have a difficult time achieving a college education, that young black and hispanic children are not receiving the pre-school education that white children are receiving putting them at a disadvantage when they enter the public school system, and they are attempting to bring attention to the fact that many young black and hispanic children’s lives are at risk when they live in the inner-city. It’s time our federal government did something about this and allocate a huge budget to fix what needs fixing. And I’m not talking about a hand-out. The people of color I know want to work and earn their own way. Most white politicians serving in Washington over the past fifty years should be ashamed of themselves for not having done more to help America’s black and hispanic communities become more independent and enter the middle class. That’s why the NFL players are taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem.

A few days ago I read in the newspaper the amounts of money the NFL owners contributed to Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign and frankly, it made me ill. It’s a good example of how the NFL corporate entities often look the other way when financially helping someone who could potentially help their franchises. To them, it’s all about the bottom line. NFL owners always maintain they help their players, many of whom are black, but in reality, they go with the flo where their investment will bring them the best return. It isn’t about doing the right thing but rather doing what generates the most profit for them. Just look at how they fought the concussion research findings, which they thought might put them out of business. But the fact is, the only people who can put them out of business are the owners themselves. And they seem to be doing a pretty good job. I don’t think I’ll ever attend or watch an NFL game again.

While watching the Chiefs-Patriots game on tv this evening I noticed an ad for Crown Royal and it reminded me of an interview I conducted with former NFL player Dr. Tommy Burnett. Dr. Burnett has spent more than 40 years as a professor at Missouri State University. He has a PhD in Sport Psychology and is also an expert in Sports Law and Risk Management. He told me that based on his experience and knowledge, he’s found that the consumption of alcohol interferes with an athlete’s oxygen supply making him or her more susceptible to injury. Here’s how it works: The consumption of alcohol interferes with the transportation of oxygen to the body’s muscle cells and is not being delivered to the ligaments and tendons. When the muscle fibers are deprived of oxygen, the athlete is more prone to injuries. This is pretty common knowledge among personal trainers who work on college and professional athletes but it’s a fact often hidden from public view since there is a close association of the marketing of alcoholic beverages (ala Crown Royal) and sports, especially professional sports. So when you read where an athlete is experiencing muscle and ligament problems, there’s a possibility that particular athlete is consuming a substantial amount of alcohol in his or her personal life.

There’s an old Yiddish Proverb that says: Mit ein kinder compt mazel. When translated, means “With each (newborn) child, comes luck.” But is it luck or are there mysterious unexplained powers at work that actually create the good luck. I have found, after conducting experiential self-esteem building workshops for many years, there’s a strong correlation between high feelings of self-worth, when an individual’s life is in harmony, and that individual’s ability to create positive events in his or her life.

And the opposite is also true. When individuals have a low sense of self-worth, and their lives are not in harmony, they will actually create negative events in their lives.

A low sense of self-worth is brought about when we withhold our feelings, when we lie or tell half-truths, when we cheat others, and when we allow unresolved issues to hover above us like a dark cloud. A low sense of self-worth can also be a manifestation of not having been loved and nurtured as a child.

But we can break the chain and enhance our lives! It takes time and hard work; there’s no such thing as a quick fix. Here are two examples of how the process works:

Professional women athletes who take a maternity break from their sport, have their baby, and then return to their sport, will almost always experience enhanced performance. One needs only to follow the LPGA, WNBA and female Track & Field athletes to see this power of the universe at work.

Here’s an example from a negative perspective: The untimely death of John F. Kennedy, Jr., his wife Carolyn Bissette and her sister Lauren. Their lives were not working and there was anything but harmony in their relationship. Carolyn was allegedly having an affair and doing drugs. John was experiencing anguish and a state of confusion over his troubled marriage, his failing magazine, and the recent news that his best friend and cousin, Tony Radziwill, was near death with testicular cancer.

Good things will happen to you beginning the day you are born providing you come from a loving, nurturing family. And you don’t withhold your feelings and emotions.


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