Thursday, December 31, 2015

Press Release

Bo’s Warriors:
Bo Schembechler and the
Transformation of Michigan Football
By Frank Lieberman, Foreword by Mike Keller

The Genius Behind U of M Coaching Legend Bo Schembechler

In 1969 when Glenn E. “Bo” Schembechler replaced Bump Elliot as the head football coach at University of Michigan, Wolverine fans around the country were shook with confusion. The question that rang among fans was, “Bo who?” At a time of pure shock, no one could have guessed that this unknown Ohioan would be the man to resurrect U of M football and set the tone for the level of excellence that is now associated with the University of Michigan.

Through the memories of several players and coaches, Bo’s Warriors: Bo Schembechler and the Transformation of Michigan Football (Triumph Books, October 2014) by Frank Lieberman tells the story of Bo’s first year as head coach. Within his first meeting with his new team, Bo told the Wolverines that they were soft and undisciplined. Combining this mental toughness with his ability to teach, motivate and understand the importance of “team,” Bo led the Wolverines to 194 wins and 13 Big Ten Titles in 21 seasons. With personal stories from Coach Gary Moeller and players such as Jim Brandstatter, Tom Curtis, Dan Dierdorf, Fritz Seyferth, Reggie McKenzie, Mike Keller, Thom Darden, Frank Gusich and Jim Betts, Bo’s Warriors provides an inside look into the man that elevated Michigan football to the program it is today, including:

·        The legendary 1969 Ohio State vs. Michigan game where Michigan prevailed 24-12
·        Bo’s transition from mentee to rival as he went from working with Ohio State’s Woody Hayes to coaching OSU’s biggest adversary
·        The psychological genius behind Bo’s coaching methods
·        The tension and culture that surrounded the team at a time where the Vietnam War, Watts Riots, political assassinations and campus unrest were prevalent

Bo’s Warriors provides an inside look into a transformational time in Wolverines’ history and the legendary coach that lead them to success. This is a must read for all U of M fans who want to gain a deeper understanding of the history that makes the Maize and Blue such a legendary program.

About the Author:
Frank Lieberman is a practicing psychologist, a TV host, a motivational speaker, and an ultrarunner. He has teaching experience at all levels of public education, including community college and university. He won all-city honors playing football in Detroit public schools and attended the University of Detroit on a football scholarship. He is the author of It Has Nothing to Do with Age. He lives in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Northern California.

Contact: Josh Williams ∙ Triumph Books ∙ 312.568.5404 ∙

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Trouble with Jihad

A recent article in The New York Times, Sunday, December 20, 2015 was written by the director of terrorism research at the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment. According to the writer, he researched autobiographies, videos, blog posts, tweets and defectors accounts of what radical Muslims or jihadists do when they’re not fighting. This is what he reported. Mr. Hegghammer painted the following picture. He pointed out that Abu Musab al-Zarquari, a leader of Al Qaeda, was known as “The Slaughterer” as well as” He Who Weeps A Lot” because of his weeping during prayer, as well as when speaking about Muslims women suffering under occupation. Another jihadists wrote in a blog post “brothers were crying with him, some audible, and others would have their tears fall silently.” This director also wrote that some jihadist also weep when listening to religious hymns, watching propaganda videos, discussing the plight of Sunni Muslims and when talking about the afterlife. There are many explanations for why we cry. Accordingly, Mohammed viewed crying during worship as something positive. So, it’s not surprising that al-Zarquari has a long history of tears as that culture reinforces that behavior. I would just raise the question, did he start off with alligator tears? And does he also cry about how his primitive culture treats women? We know they are treated as second-class citizens. Hegghammer discovered that when the jihadist’s are not cutting off heads, they engage in art, storytelling, watching films, listening to hymns known as anashid, composing ideological songs, reading and writing poetry. Does violent aberrant behavior or storytelling and the like negate a mental illness diagnosis or hateful, prejudice and a destructive sadomasochistic character orientation? I think not. Outstanding literary giants Jack Kerouac, Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, to name a few , had a mental illness diagnosis, but did not spend their spare time, cutting off people’s heads, writing about hate and killing others of a different religion. Poets of the ages John Keats, and Sylvia Plath also did not join a gang that killed people from other groups or ethnic tribes. These individuals were productive, and contributed by giving to the world and not about dominating helpless others. The jihadists are not productive neither are they giving life to their own nor to the non-Arab world. The New York Times writer also talked about the jihadist belief in dreams. They believe a dream contains instructions from God, as well as giving premonitions of the future. The foretelling certainly fits with Old Testament beliefs regarding the purpose of dreams. However, today we know that that explanation is not only simply hogwash but archaic thinking. These jihadist also dress alike in their gown and combat jacket on the top, avoid wearing gold jewelry and carry a tooth cleaning twig known as a miswak. All right, they look alike, belong to a gang of want to bees and are dressed similarly. To me, that sounds that they are conforming to group mores and clearly exhibit a lack of individualism. Their deadly conforming unfortunately is equated with death, destruction and suicidal behavior. To want to become part of this group, to get the thrill of combat, at the expense of weak resistance civilians is simply cowardice and sadomasochism as its worst. I differ from the writer of the article. I do not see this culture as highly seductive in a positive light. I see it as a magnet of hate that draws on poorly educated individuals, easily manipulated, having low self-esteem, having a fragile ego, feelings of powerlessness, alienated and not adjusting to main stream Muslim culture. All mentally ill people are not violent or jihadist, but all violent destructive, hateful, racist, jihadists are mentally ill. They belong to a sick society that does not draw or recruit the best from the Muslim culture .Just ask Shaquille O’Neal.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Mark Richtman Is a World Class Runner

Mark Richtman recently said something to the effect that he just can’t run slowly. Running slow means different things to different people. For me, at this juncture, that would mean running slower than a15 minute mile on the trail. 15 years ago, would mean something different than today. Another variable to consider would be trail distance. Obviously running one-mile on the trail is quite different from running 10 trail miles. Yes, it’s all relative for different mortal individuals. I was first introduced to Mark about 18 years ago at a ride and tie championship held near Fort Bragg, California. I remember coming into an aid station during the race and I witnessed Mark on his equine Eli cantering away. As it turned out, Mark and his partner, Brian Purcell came in first place on that 38 mile championship race. Incidentally, Brian, came in 1st Pl., on one Western States 100 mile endurance run. Coming in second place on this day was three time Western states winner Jim Howard and 2 hour 12 minutes Boston marathoner Dennis Rinde. Their equine was Anwar Magic. Chris Turney, and Con Wadsworth came in third place on Sandelaro. Tony Brickel and Jeff Windeshausen came in 38th on Super Delight. Paul Robinson and I came in 57th on Running Bear. That was my second ride and tie event, and the first time partnering up with Paul. I quickly learned that Mark was a world class runner and that these ride and tie events featured other world-class runners. Mark was a frequent winner on the ride and tie stage. Briefly, a ride and tie event consists of a team of two runners and a horse. Horse, rider and runner must start out together and complete the race together. The rider, at the start, gallops over the mountainous trail for a certain distance or certain strategy, dismounts, ties the horses tie rope to a tree and begins running down the trail. Eventually, his partner finds the horse, unties, mounts and gallops after his partner. This process of running and riding continues during the race duration. However, the entire team has to cross the finish line together for a completion. In 2002, Mark came in third-place overall in the Western States 100 mile one day endurance run. I also ran that race, and was an age division winner on that day. A few years ago, Mark was attempting to break the US record for 50 miles at the Jed Smith endurance run. On that day, I ran a 50 K, while Tony was my pacer. It was apparent that Mark was not going to set the record that day as he was not running up right as he passed me. We wished him luck, as he ran by us. Well, at the age of 60, Mark set both the US and world record for a 50 K with the time of 3 hours 34 minutes. Neither Tony nor I have ever run 31 miles that fast. Mark is still a world class runner. What makes it sweet, is that he’s a pleasant human being to be around. I don’t know anyone that’s ever said a nasty word about Mark Richtman. On the weekend, Tony, Chris Turney and I will talk more about him on our trail run. PS Mark and Tony are in the same age group for this next year’s Way Too Cool 50 K., Smiling, he is not in my age group.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Prejudice and in the United States Part 2

An additional review of how prejudicial attitudes were changed regarding Syrian refugees were tracked both before and after the Paris attacks. Prior to the Paris attacks, 60% of Americans searches were asking how they could help volunteer and/or aid Syrian refugees, while 40% were negative and mostly expressed skepticism about security. After the Paris attack, the 40% rose to 80% of people that opposed the refugee issue. These researchers concluded that anti-Muslim prejudice is not only significantly on the rise per Google research but also correlates with the expression of anti-Muslim hate crimes. These researchers also looked at the number of Google searches during and after the recent speech by Pres. Obama in the Oval Office about his plea for tolerance, combatting the irrationality of hate, and the negative idea of imposing religious tests for Muslim immigration into our country. Not surprising, Pres. Obama’s self-meaning words, not only fell on deaf ears but actually seemed to have a noticeable increase of intolerance per Google searches. It wasn’t until our president talked about Muslim athletes and Muslim soldiers that Americans began hearing him. In fact, learning that Shaquille O’Neill was a Muslim elicited, in surprise, many favorable tweets. Sports has helped reduce racism in our country. We can now openly admire the black superstar in baseball. Jackie Robinson and the LA Dodgers can be proud of their groundbreaking statue erection achievement scheduled for 2016. Even the NFL, this past year, drafted an openly gay football player. An openly gay player in the NBA, made the news, positively last year. However, recently the NBA quickly suspended, for a game, a Sacramento Kings basketball player for making an inappropriate remark to a gay referee about his sexual identity. Mohammed Ali was an American icon and highly respected as was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. These two superstars are both Muslims and proud of it. Mr. Jabbar is also a best-selling author, cultural critic and extremely outspoken about the anti-Muslim rhetoric going on in our country today. He certainly is not an example of violence, hate and destruction. He is using his voice, his writing and his behavior, intelligently. In 1969, Coach Bo Schembechler brought together his group of players and formed a very formidable team. He preached about the team, the team and the team. He would say things to them like were not red, they were not white, they were not blue but “we are Michigan. “It didn’t matter if they were black or white, he treated all the same-like dogs. Coach Schembechler knew, according to, Reggie McKenzie, that the team wins and the team loses because it’s never about one person. No one individual can win the game. The team always comes first. In 1974, The Longest Yard, starring Burt Reynolds demonstrated that the black and white inmates came together, and formed one team. Their purpose was simply to physically hurt and embarrass the other, or the despised group-the prison guards. And they did. Professional, and college sports have figured it out and do a good job, not perfect, at overcoming or challenging man’s nature of being judgmental towards others. These coaches certainly utilize motivational principles of” us versus them,” within the rules of the game. There are exceptions as these athletes seek to destroy and dominate their opponents on the field of play. We humans accept this fact and yell and scream when our team does well and we have no difficulty yelling at our opponents. We even politely clap when the opposing star player is carried off the field and say to ourselves something like “that’s good, we now have a better chance to win”. Prejudice, stereotyping, discrimination exists in all thinking, feeling, living beings. It’s the acknowledgement that’s the challenge. When it can be admitted into consciousness, then a possibility for change exists. Happy Holidays.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Prejudiced in the United States

“Islam “has been more vilified since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. As a consequence of that human tragedy, we have been at war, primarily in the Middle East, and have lost many of our military persons in the process. In 2008 we elected our first black president and government functioning seemed to become even be more divisive to say the least. During Pres. Obama’s time in office, many leaders in the “opposite party,” have worked against this president and his party. It didn’t seem to matter that at one time, the other party’s leaders proposed very similar ideas or policy. For instance, Romney Care, successful in Massachusetts, was the healthcare model upon which the Affordable Care Act was based. Today, The Affordable Care Act has been demonized as being bad by many people In the Republican party and the current Republicans running for president have been talking about repealing it as opposed to improving it. Surprising to some, psychological research in the 1920s, conducted many studies pertaining to race and intelligence. Back then, many social scientists, maintained that prejudice was a natural response to nonwhite races. Clearly the research, at the time, pointed to white superiority between the races. Explicit prejudice, make no mistake about it, was front and center. From the 1930s on, social science researchers have conducted further studies on racism and stereotyping. They have not limited their research to race and intelligence, but have diversified and have included taking a look at anti-Semitism, blacks, gays, Hispanics, women, Muslims, etc. Prior beliefs have been challenged and discarded. Current thinking finds that prejudice is related to individuals in low status groups; their maintaining a socially dominant orientation or hierarchy view; their having rigid categorical thinking; their maintaining self-esteem; and their having a negative view of others by not being able or having a social identify with a particular group. Current research also has was found that implicit or subtle racism can be termed either symbolic, ambivalent, modern, or aversive. In other words, the expression of racism is much more subtle today. If you asked a person today if he is racist, he would more likely reply with a no. A reply such as this suggests a possible unawareness about racist sentiments versus an outright lie. The key to what we say is not always what we say, but what we do. Our behavior speaks more loudly than our words. Remember, prejudice, stereotyping is based on the perception of the beholder. Turning to the Sunday, December 13, 2015 edition of the New York Times, I found an article depicting” the rise of hate.” Two writers evaluated Google searches in our country in order to assess attitudes about Muslims. A few of their findings were as follows: 1. After the massacre in San Bernardino, the top Google searches in California were “kill Muslims”; martini recipes, migraine symptoms and the Cowboys roster. 2. From 2004 - 2013, a direct correlation [Google searches] was found between anti-Muslim searches and anti-Muslim hate crimes. 3. In 2014, according to FBI, Muslim hate crimes represented 16.3% of the 1,092 reported. Anti-Semitism topped the list at 58.2% 4. Muslim hate crimes are currently higher than at any time since the September 11 attacks. 5. Last month, there were 3,600 searches for “I hate Muslims” and 2,404 “Kill Muslims in the United States. People making expressive searches about Muslims are likely to be a perpetrator of an anti-Muslim hate crime. 6. There were 200 Muslim attacks in 2015, making it the worst year since 2001. 7. Negative prejudiced attitudes about Muslims today are higher than any other group in any month since 2004 when Google began preserving data search. Google bias is not representative of all the individuals in the United States, and therefore is likely to be a better predictor of hate crimes. Public opinion polls are supposed to be a representative sample and very different from an individual searching or employing an Internet search. To be continued

Saturday, December 19, 2015

What's Your Lifespan? Part 2

I suspect that the food industry back then, did not have its 80,000 or more chemicals available to them at their disposal. Nor was I aware of the nature of the toxic chemicals found in so many of our household products like plastics, etc. I just don’t remember plastics as being so prominent. However, today’s youth are presented with many more challenges. The National Cancer Institute, for example, reported that virtually every pregnant woman in the America has at least 43 different chemical contaminants in their body. The negative result from these chemicals is that babies are now born “pre- polluted.” Further, The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics issued a warning that called toxic chemicals, in essence, endocrine disruptors. This means that these chemicals imitate sex hormones and often confuse the body. Troubling, is that these chemical disruptors are found in plastics, shampoos, cosmetics, cash register receipts, food can linings, flame retardants and many other products. Not only that, but these endocrine disruptors are related to the health issues of cancer, diabetes, obesity and infertility. It has also been reported that the chemical lobby spent over $121,000 per member of Congress this past year. It is clear, that simply discovering that special diet and purchasing that latest and remarkable fitness machine will not guarantee living a healthy life. For the caveman, his lifespan was shortened not by ingesting too much food, or lack of exercise, but result of the many wild and poisonous creatures dealt with and from not recovering from infections. He was fortunate in that he didn’t have to deal with the creation of all the man-made hazards. We’re not so lucky, as our biggest threat to our health is what man does to each other. Remember, a politician said “corporations are people.” And I’m just talking about the food and chemical industry. Buyer beware can be taken seriously. Our life expectancy and health span expectancy is not totally controlled by genetics. Life expectancy, on average, in the United States was estimated in 2015 at 77.32 years for males and 81.97 years for females. And a review of over two dozen centenarian studies focusing on healthy lifestyle habits revealed 16 habits that increased an individual’s odds of dramatically increasing physical, emotional and cognitive functioning. Be apprised that all 16 of these habits are under the control of the individual. Eight of these gems include: 1. Keep weight, low and steady 2. Eat fewer calories 3. Exercise regularly, be active, and stay busy after retirement 4. Don’t smoke or stop smoking, if you do 5. Drink less alcohol 6. Get regular and restful sleep 7. Challenge your mind 8. Stay socially connected with serenity and purpose in life. My friend Tony, age 64, just returned from running a 50 K trail run in Washington State. At age 76, I intend to run my two annual 50 K trail runs in 2016. Just think, next year, at this time, I shall be close to the average life expectancy for males in our country. That’s a sobering statistic. 2400 years ago Hippocrates had the correct advice “if we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.” Today’s source was found in the New York Times, Sunday, November 29, 2015 and the Institute for Natural Resources, 2010.

Friday, December 18, 2015

What's Your Lifespan?

The idea that a reduction in food intake along with some form of exercise leads to improved health is not a new or revolutionary idea. Nor, the idea, that man is driven toward seeking pleasure and/or pain as well as being motivated to direct that behavior either towards self and/or toward others. As far as eating behavior goes, there are numerous dietary plans such as Atkins, Scarsdale, Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, Dash, Jenny Craig, Ornish, TLC, Mediterranean, etc. that provide numerous choices for the consumer. Advertising demonstrates that there is not a shortage of celebrities providing testimonials touting their successful achievement in regards to weight loss or healthier eating. Yet, in spite of the plethora of dietary choices you, calorie posting by restaurants and food ingredients labeling many Americans, still remain unhealthy and exhibit poor dietary choices. We’re wired to experience euphoric feelings in the right orbitofrontal cortex as opiate release precipitates the intake of foods high in fat and sugars. In other words, we get high [psychological comfort or pleasure] on these highly preferred foods that contain too much sugar and too much fat. Now days, it’s just too easy to overeat. It wasn’t that way in the Stone Age as our ancestors were required to walk [genetic design] anywhere from 6 to 20 miles per day while performing nomadic hunting and food gathering daily. In essence, we began life with an absence of obesity. Now we have invention, science, civilization and obesity. Further, as result of all our man-made conveniences in the 21st-century, we’re not moving as much as our Stone Age family. As a result, we now have many creative physical exercise programs to choose from in order to replace having to walk that 20 miles per day. In fact, these wonderful programs and workouts can be directed for losing weight, burning fat, increasing muscle and fitness, body building, women’s health, total body transformation, CrossFit, The New Scientific Seven Minute Workout, along with numerous apps to assist in the process. And still, many Americans die from issues related to obesity. Is it simply that man is destined to exhibit self-defeating behaviors, irrespective of all the information and products that are available to the consumer? We know that movement is a necessary aspect, yet difficult for our citizens to engage long-term. Another factor not generally considered as an important variable, but certainly part of the terrible epidemic to consider, is the amount of toxic chemicals found in the environment and chemical makeup of foods that are available to us. Just look at the ingredients in a carton of milk or a cup of soup and you’ll find an unhealthy amount of sugar and salt on those labels. As a young lad, I didn’t look at the label on the milk carton to view the amount of sugar. Now, I wonder if there was a label on the carton or how much sugar I was ingesting. I just automatically poured milk on my morning cereal? I certainly, at that time, wasn’t concerned about food consumption or what I was putting into my body. I was physically active, enjoyed sports, enjoyed eating and was in good health. To be continued

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Contrasting Jim Harbaugh with Bo Schembechler Part 2

A comparison not generally looked at but no less important, as game statistics, would be the character development of all these young men. Coach Bo Schembechler was much more than X’s and O’s as his former players know. For Bo, the formula for success had to do with some of the following variables. The importance of team was paramount for success. This meant that the participants had to keep their self-inflated egos in check. It was not about “I” but “we”. Everyone that played for Bo heard that message loud and clear and over and over. If the team was successful, then, players would be properly noticed, and given well-deserved honors. When the team solidified it became like “a band of brothers,” according to Mike Keller, formerly of the world champion Dallas Cowboys. The players knew that if they did their individual assignments and took care of their responsibilities on every play then everyone or the team would benefit. In fact, that 1969 team’s camaraderie continues to remain high even today. Bo also implanted the seeds and added the fertilizer that allowed the mental thinking to change. The players began to believe that everything was possible and nothing impossible. Their cognitive synapses radically changed with a reframing of thinking-“I can” and “we can” became inculcated and exhibited countless times. In essence, self-concepts changed more realistically with a much stronger belief in self. In other words, the players developed different- higher level of aspiration or expectations. They expected to dominate or destroy their opposition per all Pro, Reggie McKenzie of the Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks. The players expected to win and win and win and they did. With the ability to change one’s thinking resulted in the idea of a higher purpose in life and gave much-needed meaning to their lives. This message was generalized in that these young men identified and became Michigan Men, prepared to tackle the world and then also be productive solid citizens and leaders in their respective communities. Coach Harbaugh also learned these important variables or concepts from his former coach. So far, his team far exceeded preseason won and loss expectations. Coach Harbaugh seems to be teaching, molding and formulating team cohesiveness. One recent example of that was when coach Harbaugh presented all 44 of his fourth and fifth year seniors M Ring’s ,at the annual end of the year banquet, for their contribution to the Michigan program. It didn’t matter if they were a starter, or not as they all got their rings. They were all part of the team. Jim Brandstatter, the voice of the Detroit Lions and Michigan Wolverines totally agreed with coach Harbaugh in that it’s an entire team approach and everybody contributes-maybe the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. Bonds can be formulated when everyone is acknowledged and importantly treated fairly. Paraphrasing Harbaugh, he told his players that a “Michigan Man” takes responsibility for self, is respectful for what Michigan has done for them and do more to make Michigan proud, while venturing out into the world. Coach Harbaugh also said while praising his team at last Monday’s banquet that their selflessness and play “got our dignity back.” Coach Jim Harbaugh established his identity while playing for Bo at the University of Michigan. He went out into the world after his playing days at Michigan, and had a lengthy NFL career. He also coached at the collegiate level, and at the professional level. However, when given an opportunity to return to Ann Arbor, his words are consonant with his behavior as he talks the talk and walks the walk, just like a true “Michigan Man.” Who said you can’t go home again? And furthermore, Coach Jim Harbaugh is modeling by giving back to his alma mater in a most profound and concrete way. Let’s watch the story unfold a we are only in the beginning chapter. Go Blue!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Contrasting Jim Harbaugh and Bo Schembechler

The regular season for the University of Michigan football team has ended. Let’s compare and contrast Bo Schembechler’s first year season to Jim Harbaugh’s first year season. It’s relatively easy to point out that Bo was the winningest head coach in Michigan football history with a 194-48-5 record from 1969 to 1989. We can’t, in no uncertain terms, predict, Jim Harbaugh’s future record, nor believe, at this point, whether or not Coach Harbaugh can meet the standard that Bo Schembechler set for winning football. First, Schembechler inherited, from coach Bump Elliott quite a cast of young, talented and athletic footballers. Many of those recruits became All-Americans, including Tom Curtis, Jim Mandich, Henry Hill, Dan Dierdorf, Billy Taylor, Reggie McKenzie, Thom Darden, Mike Taylor, and Mike Keller and many more were also drafted to play professional football. In fact, All-American Dan Dierdorf was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. However, coach Bump Elliott’s team in 1968 was demolished and embarrassed by Ohio State in the final game of that season. Despite that whipping, Coach Elliott’s team finished that 1968 season with an 8-2 overall record. Newly hired coach Bo Schembechler, with Elliott’s cast of characters, molded, and solidified that team into such cohesiveness that the Michigan Wolverines spanked the heavily favored, undefeated and ranked number one Ohio State Buckeyes on November 22, 1969 in front of 103,588 fans. Do not forget that Schembechler’s 1969 team lost regular-season games to a ranked Missouri team and to Michigan State. But make no mistake about it, the die, imprint or formula was established, and the transformation of Michigan football began and took off like a powerful space rocket headed for unknown out of this world galaxies. On the other hand, Jim Harbaugh inherited, from Coach Brady Hoke, a Michigan team that had a 5-7 record in 2014. Even though they had seven losses, some said that they had a group of pretty decent players on defense. In fact, cornerback, Jourdan Lewis, this year, was elected to be a first-team All-American by USA Today. Will other Harbaugh’s inherited players become All-Americans, drafted and play in the NFL or become NFL Hall of Famer’s? It is too soon to tell as to which coach inherited the better athletes. A prediction for what it’s worth, is that Harbaugh’s inheritance will come up short, as far as football talent. Despite that potential fact, Harbaugh’s 2015 team attained a 9-3 record with losses to ranked Utah, and to college football playoff bound Michigan State University and to just missing the final four cut Ohio State University. We may not be able to conclude, at this juncture, whether Harbaugh’s first year as Michigan’s head coach was as successful as Bo’s first year as Michigan’s head coach. According to Coach Harbaugh, he reported that before he became head coach, the Wolverines were headed in the wrong direction. And now, the 2015 team stopped that momentum and the train is now picking up steam and heading on a trajectory that would bring a smile to Bo’s face from his lofty position. Without a doubt, we can all agree that coach Harbaugh is a masterful coach, acquires outstanding staff and is supreme when it comes to recruiting. To be continued.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Friday, December 4, 2015

Being Outplayed at the Big House

Last Friday, November 27, 2015 Dave Halpin and I left for Ann Arbor in order to see the University of Michigan Wolverines demolish the Ohio State Buckeyes. Dave, a new member of our Monday night football group, had never attended a football game. The preceding Monday I inquired whether Dave wanted to attend the college game of all games. He said yes and I contacted, Michigan Football Association Network President Jim Betts for two tickets to the game. Yes, we had tickets.

I must admit that I was disappointed after the Michigan loss to the Spartans earlier in the season. I figured that loss would greatly inhibit their chances to play in the Big Ten championship game. Then, Michigan, was victorious against the Golden Gophers, the Hoosiers, the Knights and the Nittany Lions. I was concerned that the Michigan defense, at times, looked spotty at best. However, the Wolverines did win those games even though both Minnesota and Indiana ran the ball against them exceedingly well.

Then, I witnessed the Spartans being victorious over the Buckeyes. That Michigan State squad completely shut down the mighty Ohio State running attack. Not only that, the Buckeyes did not look that awesome on  that particular Saturday, and particularly when their star running back Elliott criticized coach Meyer for not allowing him to run the ball more. I wanted to believe that the Wolverines were poised for an upset over the favored and higher ranked Buckeyes. Thinking, or should I say rationalizing the reality, I wanted my Wolverines to win that game against the Buckeyes.  If Michigan won that game, and Michigan State lost to Penn State’s Nittany Lions then, Michigan would play in the championship game. So Dave , immersed in  the wonderful dynamics of being at the  Big house with approximately 112000  fans would also later have an opportunity to meet, coach Jim Harbaugh on his radio show the following Monday.

Game day started off well as we arrived in Ann Arbor early in the morning. We parked and accompanied another fan to the Stadium while walking by the numerous tailgates. We reached the Stadium and headed for the Michigan Football Association Network tailgate. There, we ate and talked with former players Dierdorf, Caldo, Fisher, Newell, Wangler, Betts and Brandstatter. After eating and interacting, we walked around the Stadium, taking in all the sights even stopping at an M den were Dave bought a warm M hat. All was good. We headed to our seats, which were close to the field and in view of the 35 yard line.

The game was somewhat even at first as the Michigan defense held the Buckeyes on 3 downs near our end zone, and they had to punt. We couldn’t believe that a flag was thrown. Michigan was penalized for a phantom running into the kicker call. The game was close, and somewhat even at this point. However, with that first down the Buckeyes subsequently marched down the field and scored their first touchdown. Possibly, Michigan would’ve gone into the halftime with the lead, instead of being behind 14 to 10. Was that a momentum shift, or was that foreshadowing of things to come? The only thing that was certain was that Michigan was unfairly punished.

Now in the second half, the Wolverines were pulverized. They were outplayed and the Michigan players did not make the plays. Offensively, Michigan’s front five could not block Ohio State’s with the result, Michigan averaged about 2.2 yards per running play. Even Jabrill Peppers failed to ignite the running attack. Rudock was able to pass the ball under duress until he was injured. On defense, the Wolverines defensive line was pushed around, leaving gigantic holes for the pistol offense generated by quarterback Barrett and running back Elliott. They averaged about 7.7 yards per running play. Michigan’s linebackers were nowhere to be found as well. For those 30 minutes, Michigan was severely outplayed and were no match for Urban Meyer’s team. His offensive and defensive line and linebackers athletes were more spectacular and physically better than Harbaugh’s. And just recently, Michigan’s defensive coordinator and linebackers coach was promoted to become the head football coach of the University of Maryland Terrapins.

So in Harbaugh’s first year coaching, his performance was similar to Schembechler’s in that they both lost to Michigan State. However, Schembechler’s team beat the mighty   Woody Hayes Buckeyes team and finished the season with an 8-2 record compared to Harbaugh’s 9-3 record. The Michigan-Harbaugh story is not finished, and I will not make any predictions. Hail to the Victors and Go Blue.


Dave loved his first football experience.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Psychological Pathology

We also know that man because of massive insecurity, the power of nature and his separateness or aloneness was psychologically driven to achieve union or affiliation with others. This union because of aloneness, at times, drove the individual self to disappear, assimilate and become part of the group or the herd. This need for belonging results psychologically in not having many thoughts or feelings that are different, and to rigidly conform to the various custom, dress and ideas or the patterns of that particular group.

Currently, we have given massive attention to a significant minority with Middle Eastern roots. These groups of men and women have become affiliated with the multitude of different terrorist organizations, or simply gangs. We hear and witness their death and self-destructive bonding in the civilized world. It’s not uncommon for them to commit suicide while murdering others. It’s hard to fully comprehend and believe that their God has a mission to destroy anyone, not believing in him, nor would justify the suicide of his own so called followers. This nonsense sounds like prejudicial hate to me.

Charles Manson and his followers killed others, but they did not strap suicide, explosive to themselves. Jim Jones and his followers committed suicide, and did not go around chopping off the heads of others. So, do we have a God that combines the pathological behaviors of a Manson and Jones? I think not. I would like to believe that one whom employs rational thinking as opposed to magical thinking would not support that type of behavior and follow a leader like those two sociopaths. By the same token, anyone that buys into the notion that both homicide and suicide are virtues and following a good book are simply exhibiting primitive and infantile thinking. And the idea that there are virgins in the sky to follow is also idiotic and illustrates a non-logic illusion. However, if there is promise of money, glory caliphate rule to follow, then the path to destructive and hateful behavior is accompanied by denial, rationalization of thinking within their life space of non-human, belittlement of self-existence.

When you see these young testosterone driven men on TV, they seem aggressive in showing and shooting their weapons and all conformingly dressed like pirate revolutionaries. Notice, that the women are not dressed as flashy nor do they exhibit or show off with guns, etc. One aspect that makes these thugs so dangerous is that our world globe has shrunk. They talk about death and destruction in the Middle East, Europe and in the United States. Unfortunately, anyone that wants to commit suicide and kills others in the process can, at times, do just that and make it happen. This story is far from over. Ideally, and in the development of a mature civilization or culture, God is supposed to be associated with justice and love between man and man. Obviously, many in these societies think otherwise and exist with the old motto “live to kill and be killed?” Unfortunately, this self-destructive madness is not going to vanish and go away overnight. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Importance of Superego Part 2

It’s not uncommon for someone to lie or cheat, especially but not limited to politics. I remember hearing a Congressman, shouting out during one of President Obama’s speeches that he lied. I would call that “thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” There’s even a current political ad criticizing or accusing a politician of keeping company with prostitutes.

Our capitalistic economy, allows the competitive nature of man to get ahead. We now know that roughly 1% have acquired much wealth and possessions. There was a recent movie with Leonard DiCaprio titled “The Wolf of Wall Street” that depicted many of the 10 Commandments being broken and ignored. I would hate to believe that this film depicts the majority of Wall Street or the 1%ers.

In spite of religion, or spiritual teachings, it’s no wonder that the development of conscience has suffered. Religion may say, “Thou shall not kill” and yet the government says our biggest budget expense is the military-industrial complex. Lying and giving mixed messages seems to be more universal as well. And it does not seem to matter, even if on TV. In fact, there’s even “fact checks” after the so-called presidential debates. These presidential individuals model inconsistencies in their version of telling the truth. And these are potentially our leaders. If they can distort the truth, without any consequences, that’s a pretty clear negative anti- 10 Commandment message.

It’s no wonder that our conscience has been weakened and that’s likely a big reason and explains in part man’s destructive behavior toward fellow man. Man’s instinctual nature and need structure hasn’t undergone major changes; man’s intelligence and understanding has leaped ahead, but his interpersonal and humane treatment has suffered. We see and hear far too much death and destruction that it seems commonplace. Yes, we are becoming numbing to that reality. Perhaps, the pursuit of happiness is an illusion and not attainable for the masses.

Some might wonder if we’re headed in the wrong direction. Because if we are, that suggests to me that things are not getting better. And perhaps the political divisiveness is a symptom of growing insecurity, helplessness and insignificance to make a difference. A number of years ago, the existentialists wrote that God is dead. What that suggests is that our moral compass might be on a very different path from what our spiritual profits talked about early in our history of civilization. And, perhaps, these early Commandments are not applicable to our present day. If they’re not applicable nor followed by our leaders, then we have to stop pretending their importance. In any event, to make a change in the moral aspect of man with an intact superego or conscience, individuals, society and the culture have to lead the way. That likely means that individuals have to first, if they can, begin treating themselves in a more rationally, physically and psychologically healthy way, in order that they can treat others more appropriately. If interpersonal behavior becomes more humanistic, then the treating of others, becomes more of the same.

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Importance of the Superego

Intellectually, there have been giant strides medicine. We have developed medicines to halt various diseases. We continue to gather more information and understanding about diseases like Alzheimer’s, heart disease, etc. We are also better able to understand the workings and mechanism of the brain and adjust the various neurotransmitters associated with depression or anxiety.

We have developed powerful machines from steam, internal combustion engine, electric cars, solar heating and cooling to nuclear energy within the last 250 years. We are now better equipped to combat with the terrifying forces of nature than ever before. Although, it’s true, that global climate change issue stands before us. And thanks to Silicon Valley and other pioneers, we now have superfast computers and a whole host of wonderful handheld gadgets that simplifies lifestyles.

Are we now happier since the forming of our US Constitution? Thomas Jefferson referenced the pursuit of happiness, in that terrific document. Intellectually, there have been leaps and bounds of what man in the year 2015 knows, compared to primitive man   6000 years ago. Let’s go back around 6000 years and we find early man, much more fearful and helpless in dealing and coping with the natural world. Death and disease was prevalent and  the average lifespan was about, give or take 50 years less than it is today in our country.

According to the Old Testament, God on biblical Mount Sinai gave the Israelites, The 10 Commandments or the Decalogue. Some of them are as follows: Thou Shall Not Take the Name of the Lord Thy God in Vain; Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother; Thou Shall Not Kill; Thou Shall Not Commit Adultery; Thou Shall Not Steal; Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness against Thy Neighbor. Thou Shalt Not Covet-Neighbor’s House; Thou Shalt Not Covet-Neighbor’s Wife; Thou Shall Not Covet-Neighbor’s Servants, Animals or Anything Else. These religious rules, or ideas were established to assist individuals and provide a moral code or framework to better function within society’s restrictive framework. There is good behavior, and there is bad behavior that affects individuals getting along with each other. By practicing many of these 10 Commandment behaviors, societies with the rules of law function theoretically more efficiently and more fairly for the masses.

Thinking about the nature of man’s life and destructive drives, about  some of his needs, such as abasement [accepting injury, seeking and enjoying pain, punishment, etc.]; achievement [accomplishing something difficult, to rival and surpass others, etc.]; affiliation [cooperates with an allied other, to win affection, remain loyal to a friend, etc.] autonomy [the shakeup of restraints, to resist coercion and restriction]; defendance [to defend against assault, criticism and blame , etc.]; dominance [to control one’s environment, etc.]; rejection [to separate self from a negatively affected object, etc.] to name a few. Likely, this aspect of the nature of man has not changed significantly. However, on the other hand, it appears that man’s development of conscience or superego has been adversely affected.

To  be continued

Friday, November 6, 2015

Bo's Warriors-A Snapshot

Nine men tell their account of that classic football event, of how, what, and where it happened.  Once again, the underdog David again beat mighty Goliath. Their account dissects a multitude of stories within a story. Bo Schembechler, in no uncertain terms, was an obsessive, ruthless control freak in dealing with his young men during practices and on the field of play. In fact, he told them in no uncertain terms that he was going to treat them all the same “like dogs.” He was true to his word. His practices were brutal, physical, regardless of potential pain, and punishment. He rationalized that he was going to change their country club psyche into one of attaining and reaching higher unfathomable levels of physical and mental toughness. In fact, Wolfman Frank Gusich heard the NFL scouts remarking, “these guys practice hard.”  Defensive end linebacker Mike Keller said “in many ways our games on Saturday were easier than our practices. “ Bo kicked, quarterback Jim Betts in the ass for dropping a snap from center during practice. Bo also ran after, slapped, and screamed at Jim Brandstatter thinking that he missed his block in practice resulting in the blocked kick. Jerry Hanlon, one of the coaches, told him that Jim made his block and Bo replied, “He needed it anyway.”

There was a time when All-American, all Pro, Reggie McKenzie was talked out of quitting the team by his family. Reggie didn’t quit, and became a dominating force at Michigan and in the NFL. When given an opportunity to play in an All-Star game coached by Bo and Bear Bryant, Reggie made up the story and said to Bo, he was unavailable. Reggie told me he was through with that son of a bitch. On another occasion, defensive end Cecil Pryor knocked a fellow teammate out of the boxing ring during a so called conditioning drill. Bo immediately jumped into that ring and confronted Cecil with “if you want to fight someone, fight me.” There are other countless examples of disrespect, physical and verbal aggressiveness during their U of M careers. Yet, each of these men today tell me how much they love Bo Schembechler and would go through again  the abasement, putdowns, embarrassment and belittling by their Bo Schembechler. Their ambivalence of hate and love for this man was made clear.

Another story within a story was the individual players, insecurity, or lack of self-confidence about their ability to play on the big stage. Mike Keller was a big fish in a little pond, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He wondered why he was given a scholarship and hoped to make the traveling team at best. This All-American was drafted by the world champion Dallas Cowboy In the third round. Thom Darden, 173 pounds soaking wet, doubted his ability to play. After making a tackle behind the line the scrimmage, his confidence improved. He became Bo’s first Wolfman, All-American, first round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns, and became their all-time interception leader. Tom Curtis, initially, a quarterback, fought the town crier who spread the rumor that he would not even make the traveling squad. Tom became the all-time leader in Michigan history for interceptions and attained two Super Bowl rings in the NFL. Tackle Jim Brandstatter also insecure went to the University of Michigan and didn’t become secure until he made a bone crushing block, resulting in a winning touchdown. Incidentally, Jim’s father was an All-American at Michigan State University, and his older brother, a tight end for Duffy Daugherty.

Thom Darden from Sandusky, Ohio, didn’t dare dance with a white girl, in that segregated community. His parents among everyone else would not have approved. Then he goes to the University of Michigan during tumultuous times of Woodstock, free Angela Davis, burning draft cards, burning bras and free love. Yes, Thom took advantage of his celebrity status with all the admiring groupie white girls.  Thom Darden, Reggie McKenzie and five other of his Mellow Men joined by the Black Panthers in a campus demonstration, with their M sweaters actually blocked and closed down the engineering building to other fellow students

All these men, even with Frank Guich’s death of his father and welfare bound; Jim Betts alcoholic father  and bedridden mother; Reggie McKenzie’s limited blue-collar father with community financial assistance on one hand, and on the other with Country Club ease for Jim Brandstatter, Fritz Seyferth, Mike Keller, and Tom Curtis came together as one.  But, in spite hardships or financial security, they all exhibited mental toughness, will to compete, and not giving up, irrespective of the unreasonable demands made by their coach on the field. Witnessing the 100,000+ mass celebration of fans rushing onto the field of play after the final whistle that November day of the Wolverines victory, says it all. Mike Keller told me that he was exhausted and on the field for that final play, and if it wasn’t for the fans, protecting him, leading into the tunnel he would been trampled. These men all say, on that historic day, that they experienced their greatest joy, satisfaction, and oceanic feeling with their teammates and adoring fans.

Go Blue!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Wolverines Battle To Take the Little Brown Jug Part 2

Although Michigan was favored to recapture the Little Brown Jug, you would never know it as the Golden Gophers made big play after big play and in some ways dominated play. The Gopher players were spectacular on both sides of the football. Their offense scored two touchdowns and four field goals while there defense limited Michigan’s running offense, and even intercepted a shovel pass.

To make matters worse, Michigan quarterback Jake Rudock was slammed to the ground and didn’t return in the exciting fourth quarter. Rookie quarterback Speight came in and took over. This little used quarterback had not completed a pass prior .Jabrill Peppers, in a Michigan wildcat formation, scored one rushing touchdown and was used creatively in the backfield for the Wolverines. Peppers also played outstanding defense, ran back punts and kickoffs as well. The last notable Wolverine to play on both sides of the ball was Heisman winner Charles Woodson. Peppers is going to be in the hunt before he’s through playing for the Wolverines.

Quarterback Wilton Speight came to the rescue, and completed a couple of passes, including the go-ahead score. The score was Michigan 27 and Minnesota 26. Michigan was smart and went for a two-point conversion. Again, quarterback Speight did his job and completed the pass for a two-point conversion. Now, the score was Michigan 29 and Minnesota 26. Well, things got really interesting as Michigan kicked off to Minnesota. For a moment it looked like Minnesota scored a touchdown with about 18 seconds left to go in the game. The play was reviewed and the ball was placed near the 1 yard line. Minnesota could go for a field goal to tie the game or go for the win. With 18 seconds, they went for the win. Mitch Leidner threw an incomplete pass, leaving just two seconds left on the play clock. Again, they could go for a field goal or go for the win. They went for the win.  Mitch Leidner the quarterback took the ball from center for a quarterback sneak, but was stopped. The play was reviewed and the call on the field was confirmed.

Two weeks ago against Michigan State, the Wolverines lost with 0.00 on the clock and this time with 0.00 on the clock were victorious. I had difficulty watching the loss to the Spartans and again was surprised at this outcome. The Wolverines are now one and one in last-second nail biters. Not only that, the Wolverines are now in position to win out and play the number one ranked Buckeyes at the end of November. Stay tuned.

Go Blue!