Friday, September 22, 2017

Schembechler and, Harbaugh Part 2

If coach Harbaugh’s Wolverines can go undefeated in the 2017 regular-season that would be a true test, and remarkable achievement by his coaching staff in today’s era of college football. Yes, football is still a game of running, tackling throwing, catching, kicking and blocking. However, today’s players are larger, more physically fit, and faster. On the other hand, the game of football remains and has a psychological component with needs, drives and emotions. On a psychological level, Coach Schembechler inherited players who had a high need for achievement [they could and did overcome the many physical and emotional obstacles put before them in attaining a remarkably high standard. They excelled and mastered the game of football.] These tremendous athletes’ also had a high drive for aggression [they were willing to fight, to attack, and to punish another, especially the opponent, but also even if it was one of their own- a teammate.] These warriors also had a need for affiliation [they remained loyal to their teammates and became blood brothers.} Even to this day, regardless of color, they remained as one. Unprecedented participation in team reunions are a good example.] The affiliation need translated into one for all and all for one. This was Bo’s preaching the team, the team, the team. Also important were having these young studs having an exceptionally high need for abasement [they had to accept injury with their difficult practices; tolerating blame and criticism in the process. They ran the same plays over and over again until they got it perfect. They knew they were going to punish their bodies.] Today, this need is referred to as Mental Toughness. Further, the drive to avoid failure heightened their competitive spirit. This insecurity drove them even harder. Bo took advantage of his player’s needs, drives and emotions to create unparalleled success. Reggie McKenzie said it best “the 1969 team will go down as one of the greatest in Michigan football history.” If Coach Jim Harbaugh can mold and utilize his player’s drives, needs, emotions and create “the team, the team, the team,” he has a chance to match the coaching legend, his former coach Bo Schembechler. PS Coach Harbaugh, good luck against the Boilermakers tomorrow. Keep your winning streak going? Go Blue!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Schembechler and Harbaugh

Among much excitement with the faithful alumni and fans of the Maize and Blue, Jim Harbaugh, in December 2014, became U of M’s head football coach. He was expected to deliver the Wolverines back to dominance. This was made possible when acting athletic director Jimmy Hackett fired head coach Brady Hoke. A dissimilar circumstance occurred 46 years prior in December, 1968 when Bo Schembechler replaced, by then athletic director Don Canham. Canham let go of the beloved coach Bump Elliott. Bump, a former, Michigan All-American, and hero of the Rose Bowl as a player also led the Wolverines as its head coach to a smashing Rose Bowl victory. Can Michigan All-American Jim Harbaugh reach the attained legendary status as his former coach Bo Schembechler? Bo coached for 20 years and was the winningest head coach in college football during his tenure. Harbaugh added to his tenure beginning his third season earlier this month. Bo’s regular season record in 1969 and 1970 was 17 and 3. One loss was to nationally ranked Missouri, a second loss was to Michigan State and the third loss was to Ohio State during the 10 game regular-season schedule. Currently, the football season has been lengthened to 12 games. Harbaugh’s first two regular season totals were 19 and 5. His team’s losses were to nationally ranked Utah, Iowa, Michigan State and twice to Ohio State. That first loss, I witnessed, to the Buckeyes was brutal. Under Harbaugh, the Maize and Blue beat Florida, and lost to Florida State in bowl games. Bo’s team lost to USC in the Rose Bowl. Back then, only the Big Ten champion was bowl eligible. In Bo’s third season, his team attained a regular season 10 and 0 record. So far, Harbaugh’s Wolverines have a 3 and 0 record. Differences so far between the two head coaches have been the battle with Ohio State. Harbaugh’s team got blown out in 2015, and lost in overtime 20 16. Bo’s team upset the mighty Buckeyes in 1969, and were upset by them in 1970. Second difference was that Bo’s 1969 team lost to USC in the Rose Bowl while Jim’s team has a split between the two Florida college football powerhouses in postseason play. Jim Harbaugh’s 2017 team are significantly young in the sense that his 2016 team lost a number of his starters to the NFL. Jim’s current squad has youth and some significant experience. However, in Bo’s third year as head coach, his Wolverines were stacked with outstanding seniors recruited by Bump Elliott. Some of these outstanding seniors included Frank Gusich, Billy and Mike Taylor, Thom Darden, Jim Brandstatter, Fritz Seyferth, Mike Keller and Reggie McKenzie. Most of these individuals were drafted by the NFL and CFL. In fact, Thom Darden was inducted into the Cleveland Browns Hall of Fame, and Reggie McKenzie was inducted into the Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame. To be continued

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Good And the Ugly Part 3

According to the study, being overweight can be rationalized as being healthy, only if you ignore increasing the probability of developing heart disease. These two articles were not at all “cognitive dissonance” for me. I talk the talk and walk the walk as far as health. My BMI index is normal; I trail run; play pickle ball; very my physical workouts by performing chin-ups, push-ups; employ heavy bands for various pulls and crunches; along with eating my favorite food- ice cream. For more detailed information regarding health and passion strategies, I refer you to my book “It Has Nothing to Do with Age.” I wanted to convey, by the title, that age and aging has to do with perception and not some arbitrary number defined by someone else. By now, all of us should know that people “age” differently. Some people, walk hunched over with a cane and talk incessantly about their ills, aches, pains and medical condition. Others, like Daniela, Donald, Russ Kiernan, Jim Steere, Lew Hollander, Jack Sholl, Doc Shay, Beverlee Bentley, and Sammie Stanbro did not let “age” define them. They in fact continue to live their lives with passion. I am currently not competing in one day 100 mile events. Instead, I run trail events from 10 miles to 50 k’s. Moreover, I no longer have “a bucket list” as in that movie with Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman and others. However, my character has deepened; I have acquired more wisdom; not afraid to say “I don’t know” and I have a grin on my face after completing my trail running events. I know I’m soon going to have ice cream with friends. I have provided prescriptions for the lengthening of lifespan in my book that have worked for me. They might even work for you. PS Keep Moving

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Good and the Ugly Part 2

Turning to the ugly, the September 1, 2017 edition of The Week reported that, according to a study, about 30 million people in our country are binge drinking at least once a week. Binge drinking was defined as drinking four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men. As you might know, alcohol is associated with dangerous driving behaviors, violence, and increased risk of heart attack, stroke, cancer and other, neurological problems. In fact, more recently, heavy drinking rose more sharply among women, blacks and seniors. This epidemiologist, author believed that increased drinking was likely the result of people feeling pessimistic about their economic chances. Another hypothesis was that the marketing of alcohol products has become more effective, especially to women and young people. It was stated that alcohol abuse was more widespread than that of opiate addiction. Another article highlighted “the fat, but fit” rationalization. This study, had more than one half million people from 10 European countries as subjects. They were placed into various groups. The first, were divided into the metabolically healthy and unhealthy based on markers such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Then these two groups were divided according to body mass index [BMI] classifying them as normal, overweight or obese. The findings, metabolically unhealthy subjects had the highest risk for heart disease. Second, the overweight or obese people, who were metabolically healthy, still had about a 28% more likelihood of developing heart disease than those with a healthy body weight. To be continued

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Good And the Ugly

This post was divided into two main categories or sections. The first section was devoted to achieving, motivated seniors while the second section addressed health issues of the unfortunates. An August 13, 2017 section of the New York Times introduced a new documentary titled “Impossible Dreamers.” Daniela Barnea at 73 years young, won, three gold medals at the 2017, United States Masters Swimming Spring Nationals in Riverside, California. She was victorious in the 100 yard and 200 yard breaststroke and in the 200 yard individual medley. This young lady trained by swimming double workouts along with going to the gym 3 to 4 times a week. She swims for maybe an hour and a half, and cleverly reframed her swimming routine as meditation. She claimed that water is her friend and is very peaceful place for her. Plus, no one bothers her while she’s swimming. Dr. Donald Cheek at 87, was another featured in the documentary. Dr. Cheek, a social psychologist, has been a sprinter since his high school days in the Bronx. He competed in the 50, 100, 200 and 400 m events. In fact, last year, he ran 100 m in 17.38 seconds and set the record at the Huntsman World Senior Games. According to this young man, he trained by beginning his day with relaxed stretches. He also practices skipping, and recommended standing in place while moving your feet as fast as you can. He stated “move rhythmically and move your arms as fast as you can.” He added that for him running track is freedom, demonstrating guts, character and having what it takes. Dr. Ursula M. Staudinger, a lifespan psychologists and researcher at Columbia University, added that our bodies are made for being used. According to her, physical fitness and activity improves brain function. She added, that movement is really important for strength, balance and flexibility. Moreover, movement also reduces the risk or buffering that occurs during the decline, while aging. To be continued

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Angst and Fear Part 2

When stressed, our hypothalamus [H] signals the pituitary [P] gland to release hormones that in turn instructs our adrenal [A] gland to pump out 30 other hormones. This process facilitates our body’s respiratory, cardiac, and other systems. This is called the HPA axis. Related, the cortisol hormone is then found in high concentration and causes most of the cellular damage. Cortisol is also involved in the fear reaction taking place in the amygdala, the emotional center of the brain, which regulates fear, but also regulates anger, pleasure, and desire. In essence, anxiety alerts us to imminent danger, but also the fear of other dangers. Too much or chronic stress with the accompanying cortisol hormone is our enemy. It simply shortens lifespan. Some external stresses in our environment include the following: death of a spouse, divorce, marital separation, jail, death of a close family member, serious personal injury, marriage, fired at work, marital reconciliation, retirement, and change in health of a family member. The list goes on and on and on. Internal stresses represent more of our thoughts and emotions. For example, unhappiness and depression, losing weight, having difficulty with common everyday things, decreases in energy or libido , constipation, hyperactivity, hopeless of future, difficulty sleeping, being more irritable, excessive use of alcohol, drugs, food, and/or tobacco to help feel better with life, and thoughts of suicide. I’m sure that everyone can name more external and internal stresses in their life space. How much unpredictability, uncertainty, and uncontrollability are present in day-to-day living? We haven’t talked about the hurricanes, fires nor North Korea with its pursuit of nuclear weapons. How can living in this period of time, be considered “The Age of Happiness?” As result of the circuitry makeup of our brain, our genetic component and our experiences of living, it seems to me that we be should be pursuing how to deal best and cope with what affects all of us-anxiety. Source: Time, December 5, 2011. PS Traveling by a church, the sign read “Worry less Pray more.”

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Angst and Fear

W. H. Auden, the poet, insightfully labeled “The Age of Anxiety” in 1947, detailing the angst and frustration of people. Subsequently, 33 years later in 1980, the classifications of Social Phobia and Generalized Anxiety Disorder diagnoses were added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [DSM] in the United States. The DSM is a major Bible that’s used to classify mental illness in our country. How can we be pursuing happiness if we are living in the age of anxiety? Happiness is short-lived and related to pleasure, gratification of needs and well-being while anxiety can be chronic and associated with actual, perceived and imagined dangers. As far back as the fifth century BC, the Greek physician Hippocrates outlined the belief that health was the result of the balance among the four humors. That meant that anxiety was believed to be an imbalance in one of the humors, black bile. As a result, black bile was identified as a disorder of melancholy. In 1895, Sigmund Freud distinguished between “real” anxiety based on external threat with neurotic and moral anxiety. Neurotic anxiety was related to excessive fears of punishment or with a withdrawal of love; while moral anxiety was related to feelings of guilt. In the DSM, a few symptoms of anxiety include but not limited to: irrational fears; avoiding situations; distress, motor tension such as shakiness; autonomic hyperactivity such as heart pounding; apprehensive expectations such as worry, fear, and vigilance and scanning such as distractibility and difficulty with concentration. Currently, generalized anxiety; obsessive-compulsive disorders; phobias; panic disorders; social anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorders are the most common affective disorder diagnosis affecting about 40 million adults. Anxiety and fear are normal adaptive responses to anything that’s perceived as threatening. However, too much anxiety arousal can become a persistent or chronic alarm in the brain and as a result, provide life-threatening damage to the body. The following demonstrates the mind-body connection of anxiety. Cognitively, we anticipate bad outcomes and develop plans or strategies in how to avoid or protect ourselves. One upon a time, I was trail running, and encountered a lioness and her 2 cubs. The strategy was simple. I immediately stopped and proceeded, once I realized that she owned the trail, to slowly walk backwards looking over my shoulder while grabbing a staff. When she was out of sight, I began to run while continuing looking over my shoulder. My heart was beating faster along with increased blood pressure and pulse. My breathing changed as I was quickly out of breath. I was aware of the danger, and did not suppress any emotional response. However, I was unaware that there were changes in metabolism and not aware of my appetite. I was also not aware that my sweat glands were working hard to cool me down. I did not experience any heartburn, bloating, or diarrhea. Neither was I aware of my immune system and its decreased ability to fight germs. Nor was I aware of any hypersensitivity or increased perception of physical pain. I was extremely fearful, experienced much anxiety until I reached safe ground near my home. To Be Continued

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Illusion's Part 2

The average cost to families with children ages 8 to 18 that play organized sports are as follows: 1 $1, 143 for basketball; $ 2, 739 for football; $4, 044 for baseball/softball. Included in the these costs are round-trip airfare; training; lodging; coaching; metal bats; spikes; tournaments, championships etc. it adds up. Playing in a championship game as a 10-year-old must be earth changing and a highlight in one’s life! You might think that I’m just expressing sour grapes. My parents didn’t spend much money regarding my sport activities. And, I would not have asked them, even if available. I am not expressing sour grapes, but rather commenting on today’s parents that are overprotective and who overindulge their kids. These parents are distorting the reality of their lives, and likely living through their kid’s sports. It certainly gives that parent a distraction, and something to think about other than the more important life issues. Without my parent’s indulgence and overprotectiveness, I earned a football scholarship. Playing college football, at the top division level, I reached my competence. Further, my book “Bo’s Warriors Bo Schembechler and the Transformation of Michigan Football” depicts real football players- athletes playing at the highest level, i.e., the NFL. I’m still passionate about football and currently am pursuing film/documentary based on my book. Current statistics indicate that over half of the working force in the country are making a little over $15 an hour. Further, the debt to savings ratio is another economic fact, suggesting much stress, worry and lack of well-being. To spend, that amount of money on extra curriculum sports; not passing school bond issues; eliminating classes like PE from the public schools is a symptom of narcissism, selfishness and shortsightedness. Sports are better when everyone, not just the privileged, participate. The priorities of many in our country do not make any sense at all. Thus, illusion a diversion from reality; questionable economic expenditures; overly permissive parents; and entitled kids are correlated with some of the mental health ills present in our society. On a positive note, Go Blue!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Illusions

The article in the September 4, 2017 edition of Time “Kids Sports Inc.” was a modern day recipe for adults wishing to escape from reality by illusion. According to the article, the child’s recreation league is now a $15 billion industry. Yes, I’m old-school. When I was a kid, playing sports was essentially for kids. For instance, if I wanted to play baseball, football, or hockey, I either went over to my neighbor’s homes looking for my friends to play or I went to the elementary school playground to find a pickup game. When I got a little older, I put together a team; visited businesses to donate money so I could buy team jerseys; and entered the recreation league. It seemed so simple in those days. All one needed back then was a few friends, mitt, ball, bat and a field to play either softball or hardball. The Time magazine article focused on one 10-year-old boy playing baseball. The boy stated he was working hard. He has a $15,000 batting cage in his backyard; his father paid $100 per hour for pitching lessons, $100 per hour for hitting and $100 per hour for fielding instruction. His father had already spent over $30,000 on his son’s baseball sport. His father rationalized and said baseball was his son’s passion. Sure! I will bet that that his son, at his age, doesn’t know anything about passion. Other troubling statistics in the magazine article were as follows: 1. the odds of playing the MLB after high school are 1 in 764. These odds are much better than playing basketball. 2. The odds of playing in the NBA are 1 in 1860? 3. By the way, the odds of playing in the NFL are 1 in 603. To Be Continued