Mind Over Sports

Posts Tagged ‘USA Today

The following appeared in the November 15, 2006 issue of USA Today: “DT Albert Haynesworth said he learned through counseling that he should quit bottling up his emotions until they explode, a problem that landed him the NFL’s longest suspension for an on-field act. His remorse and willingness to seek help since kicking Dallas Center Andre Gurode in the face with his cleats is why he will practice today. But the Titans are requiring Haynesworth to continue that anger-management counseling. ‘I just want to keep doing it,’ Haynesworth said. ‘Honestly, it’s helping. I can actually talk about stuff. My wife likes it, too. I actually open up and talk about problems I have.’ Haynesworth worked out Monday, the first day he was eligible to return form his five-game suspension.” Is it possible the Titans realized the value of not bottling up emotions and have since had their entire team involved in the process? Withholding (bottling up feelings and emotions) is a form of lying that demeans an athlete and negatively affects his or her self-esteem. By not withholding, athletes enhance their self-esteem, thereby enhancing performance.

In the 1986 U.S. Open Golf Tournament, rumors floated about Tom Watson’s personal life. After an opening round of 72, he called a press conference and announced he was not an alcoholic, he was not divorcing his wife, and he was not firing his brother-in-law as his agent. He cleared the issues from his head and focused on golf. The next day he shot an outstanding 65 and finished runner-up in the tournament.

I used to play a lot of handball and one day I was entered in a tournament in Overland Park, Kansas, where I used to live. Just before I left home, my wife and I got into a little tiff. I didn’t think much of it at the time but after I had suited up and was about to step onto the handball court, something didn’t feel right. So I decided to call my wife and when she answered the phone I apologized for some of the things I had said and she apologized to me also and we decided to take care of the matter when I returned home later. I told her I loved her and she told me she loved me and how much she appreciated my calling her. I hung up the phone, stepped onto the court, and played some of the best handball I had ever played. And I’m convinced that had I not made that phone call, I would have played some of the worst.

The NCAA must think we sports fans are stupid. Mark Emmert, president of the NCAA, made a salary of $1.9 million during 2014. But his press release pointed out that his salary was less than that of the commissioners in Power Five conferences. Try telling that to 460,000 NCAA athletes who make zero income while filling the pockets of NCAA executives, coaches and commissioners. If I were an NCAA athlete, I would organize a nationwide strike until the NCAA agreed to share the profit they make from the blood, sweat and tears of NCAA athletes, with the athletes (in the form of scholarships, not as employees.)  Many of these athletes cannot even afford to buy a pizza after a game. I know this for a fact because one of the teams I worked with didn’t have enough money to buy a pizza after a game so I treated them (under the table, of course) since they could have been penalized.

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.

Psychokinesis (PK) is an umbrella term for an ability that involves manipulating matter with the mind. Like the completion of two “Hail Mary” passes during two NCAA football games resulting in winning both games.

According to USA Today: “The 11th pass of his (Mangum’s) college career was a game-winning Hail Mary as time expired to shock Nebraska…Trailing by a field goal with less than a minute left against Boise State, Magnum opted against a safe play – the 8-plus yards needed to convert a fourth-down try – and went for it all, again finding (Mitchell) Juergens for the winning TD.”

Two games, two miracles? Not quite. You see, Mangum has something special going for him. The 24-year old freshman previously opted to spend two years for his mission in Antofogasta, Chile, a port city near the country’s northern tip, helping indigent people of that country to improve their lives.
“I see the lessons it taught me every day,” Mangum said. “It carries over to football. Having to work hard, having to do hard things, having to be independent.”

What Mangum didn’t say is that he is happy, that his life is in harmony, and how working with those Chileans enhanced his own feelings of self-worth, which subsequently enhanced his ability to manipulate matter with his mind.

USA TODAY columnist Nancy Armour wrote a great column in today’s USA TODAY about Pittsburgh Steelers Linebacker James Harrison giving back his sons’ “Participation Trophies” because they hadn’t earned them, something Ms. Armour was in complete agreement with. As am I. After reading the column it reminded me of something I had written in my new book, “Psycho Self-Imagery” about how the Self-Improvement Movement in this country was heading in the wrong direction. Here’s what I wrote:

“The self-improvement movement in America is heading in the wrong direction, exploiting needs of people who want a quick fix. One of the founders of the positive thinking movement built an entire industry based on a false premise: You can affect behavior in people through positive affirmations; that is, by standing in front of a mirror and telling yourself how wonderful you are. Or by rewarding school children with gold stars for mediocre work; or by engaging in positive self-talk to turn your life around. Best-selling books speak to us of The Personality Ethic, Unlimited Power, Personal Power, Cognitive Behavior & Success Triangles.

Self-proclaimed experts tell us how to reach peak performance, how to master the art of selling, how to deliver superior customer service, how to tap into the power of focused thinking and how to be a great communicator. But none of these approaches takes into consideration the self-image, or self-esteem, of their audiences. Individuals take action and respond to situations based on how they feel about themselves – and this is something they seldom address.

People have grown wealthy in this country by posing as motivational speakers, but I don’t believe you can motivate anyone. Inspire, yes. But not motivate. Motivation must come from within, and the higher an individual’s self-image, the greater his or her motivation.

It has often been said that certain coaches are great motivators. What really is meant is that these coaches create an environment for their athletes to build their own self-images and then motivate themselves.”

Those of you who read this Internet column know the importance I place on transforming athletic teams into support groups, allowing participants to discuss issues in their personal lives that may be affecting their ability to focus. And nowhere is this more clearly exhibited than when players hold team meetings, allowing them to get things “off their chest” with their teammates and soon after, the team begins winning. But few in the medical profession place much   emphasis on the role support groups can play when newly diagnosed breast cancer patients participate. When cancer patients address stressful situations in their lives (and begin the process of resolving them) the stress is reduced and its negative effect on the immune system is greatly diminished. An excellent example recently appeared in the February 4th 2015 issue of USA TODAY when a woman – Megan Schanie – told about her experiences as a survivor. “It’s fantastic,” says Schanie, 39, who helped start a support group for young breast cancer survivors in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. “Even in my own little world, I’ve noticed that we have so many in our group who are surviving.” If you’d like more information send me an e-mail – marv@mindoversports.com – and I’ll send you free information regarding how and why support groups work when putting cancer into remission. Support Groups, by the way, are not to replace any prescribed medical treatment by your physician but are only to be used as supplemental treatment.

I was about to write something regarding Peyton Manning’s sub-par performance in the playoffs this year and was planning to point my finger at the deteriorating relationship between Head Coach John Fox and Quarterback Manning. But when I visited the Broncos’ website, I came upon this headline: “Broncos, John Fox agree to part ways.” I wasn’t surprised. Things have not been right between them ever since the playoffs two years ago when, with the score tied, 31 seconds left in regulation playing time and three timeouts remaining, Fox instructed Manning to “take a knee.” Amazing! One of the best NFL quarterbacks of all time at the helm, whose specialty is moving the ball down the field under pressure, and he’s told by his coach to take a knee. That tells you a lot about coach Fox: He isn’t a risk-taker…like Elway and Manning. I was surprised he wasn’t let go sooner.

And then I read what USA Today sports columnist Christine Brennan wrote about Manning in today’s newspaper, that he’ll be turning 39 in just a few months and that he was showing his age.

What Christine and other sports writers don’t quite understand is that what takes place away from the football field (behind closed doors) affects what takes place on the football field. With Fox gone, I’m looking for next season’s Broncos to not only be in the Super Bowl, but to win it.


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