Sunday, August 31, 2014

Michigan 52,Appalachian State 14

 "Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even."
– Muhammad Ali

Michigan 52, Appalachian State 14
Late last week I had conversations with Thom Darden, the first Wolfman for Bo Schembechler and Mike Keller, who played linebacker and defensive end for the Wolverines. Both were All-Americans and played professional football. Thom was considered one of the top Cleveland Browns in their history while Mike became the first player- scout in NFL history for the world champion Dallas Cowboys. Mike said, because of his play, that he made Thom All-American and, of course, Thom made the same claim regarding Mike.
I talked with both former players about Michigan’s first game with Appalachian State on August 30 and their enthusiasm about watching the game. I taped the game because I did in early morning trail run. After my run of about 10 miles or so, Linda and I watched the slaughter. Gardner, Funchess, Smith and Green and the offensive line were superb on offense. I’ll ask Darden and Keller for their critique regarding the defense. I’m looking forward to our book signings this coming September.
Also, Jim Brandstatter , the voice of the Wolverines is joined this year by Dan Dierdorf. Dierdorf retired from CBS TV where he was a color analyst for NFL football. Dierdorf was not only an All-American, but also is in the NFL Hall of Fame. Brandstatter played behind Dierdorf while at Michigan. According to Jim, the reviews for the two of them were great.
For more about Darden, Keller, Brandstatter, and Dierdorf I refer you to “Bo’s Warriors.”  I’m also looking forward to meeting and sharing the stage with Michigan’s head football coach Brady Hoke in Ann Arbor. I’ll keep you posted regarding other events.
In the meantime, Go Blue Go! Looking forward to next Saturday’s game in South Bend with Notre Dame on September 6.

For my take on depression and aging, check out my other blog “It Has Nothing to Do with Age.”

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Mike Keller"s Reply

Thought you might enjoy a small amount of classical information following your Sunday morning newspaper ritual.
I am not attempting to blow my own horn...quite the opposite.
While Beowulf was a difficult read and little known to many...sitting around the dinner table discussing its pluses and minuses gave me much more appreciation for the food I was eating and the pressing need to escape that same dinner table and get back out to a field...any field...any un-jumble my poor Beowulf laden brain.
So...this is my tribute to sport and the release it provides us all from the confusing and mundane!
Thank you, Frank, for adding to my Sunday ritual!
Mike Keller

Plato,Achilles,Beowulf and Mike Keller

"Passion , though a bad regulator, is a powerful spring."
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

 I read an essay in the New York Times, dated August 17, 2014 written by a professor of English. In his essay, this professor advocated teaching the writings of Plato, in order to assist many of our troubled athletes (involved in such crimes like rape and assault) in order to further development of their human psyche. Mark Edmundson wrote about the Greek term thumos (used to denote recognition, emotions, desire, and internal urges). This Greek term does not have an English equivalent and professor Edmundson suggested that spiritedness comes close as it encompasses bravery and the urge for glory. His point was that Homer glorified Achilles (a warrior that exemplified the beast in man (the inhuman element). However, it was Plato that suggested that knowledge and reason should rule the drive for glory (thumos). In other words, don’t allow the hunger for domination, glory, recognition or other dangerous emotions to rule or dictate behavior.
Edmundson suggests that athletes should be taught and learn about the writings of the Greek philosophers in order to create a more unified body and spirit ratio. In so doing, the athletes, he concluded would then be in a better position and be able to control their thumos while playing a brutal sport like football. Not only that, they would exhibit more human behavior (less violent) off the field as well.
I have no issue with teaching reason, clear thinking and self-knowledge (know thyself). However, Edmundson omits the psychological development of athletes. In order to develop a proper amount of narcissism (to be able to love, work and create productively) ,the athlete must have parenting without  great deficits of love, have consistency, nurturing, limit setting, along with proper modeling, etc. if these conditions are deficient, it is then likely to impair the development of  the necessary amount of narcissism. If the individual develops an unhealthy or excessive amount of narcissism, the individual can develop a necrophilia orientation (a most inhuman quality) instead. Further, Edmundson may or may not know that the successful and highly skilled football player plays the sport and is at his best when he relies on instinct and muscle memory. In-depth thinking and reasoning does not help in the heat of battle when a 275 pound pulling offensive guard is running down the line, wanting to knock you on your butt. Just ask Mike.
Let’s use   Mike Keller, one of the principals in my book Bo’s Warriors, as an example. Mike was a University of Michigan All-American and the 64th pick in the NFL draft. Mike’s mother taught English literature in college. Mike grew up learning about Beowulf .Beowulf was a hero of the Geats in Scandinavia. He came to the aid of the king of the Danes (Hroogar) by slaying the monster known as Grendel. After this heroic act, he returned home to Geatland in Sweden and later on became king of the Geats.
Did Mike Keller develop the necessary amount of narcissism, simply because he learned about Beowulf at an early age, I think not? Both parents were there for him, nurtured him, taught him, reinforced athletics and modeled responsible behavior. Incidentally, Mike also attended parochial school. This gifted athlete not only excelled on the field, but also models being a terrific human being with trustworthy character. He was a terrific example of a team player and didn’t allow his narcissism to get in the way of the team concept. Yes, he was a warrior, and learning about the great warrior Beowulf had an impact on him, but far from his entire story.

To learn more about Mike, the warrior and his evolution, I refer you to Bo’s Warriors. At the moment, the book can be pre-ordered through Barnes & Noble. In the fall it will be coming to your favorite bookstore.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Jim Brandstatter-Bo's Warriors

Jim Brandstatter one of "Bo's Warriors" was in Oakland(announcing) for the Raider-Lions game.I would have liked to have seen him and mention all my childhood Lion heroes: Doak Walker, Bobby Lane,Yale Larry, Jimmy David, Dick Stanfill to name a few. I'll see Jim in Ann Arbor for the U of M games.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Bo's Warriors-Thom Darden

The year the seven African American recruits( later to become the Mellow Men) came together in Ann Arbor which was 1968 was the beginning of the renaissance of Michigan Football. With the addition of Bo Schembechler that group along with other great players experienced 100,000 fans on a regular basis on Michigan Saturdays!  Thom Darden  

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Bo's Warriors

The ’69 OSU game was the culmination of 11 months of skillful strategy by a master, to be executed by a team of players that were not his.  That Saturday in November Bo has us so perfectly primed our feet did not touch the ground taking the field, and then the game played out in slow motion for us. It was a masterpiece we appreciate more today. “Fritz Seyferth

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Bo's Warriors

 Look for Bo’s Warriors to be released this fall by Triumph Books