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It Has Nothing To Do With Age provides self-help principles. The inspirational stories give concrete illustrations of overcoming many of life's challenges. Difficulties pertaining to depression, grief, divorce, and death are presented and worked through by the participants. Physical impairments, injuries, overcoming issues with weight, alcohol, and nicotine are also dealt with and resolved by the athletes.

This book provides a model on how to overcome some of the difficulties that confront all of us . Further, this read sheds a beacon of light on preventive measures for good physical and mental health. Research demonstrates that exercise is an important component in treating such ailments and debilitating illness such as depression, stroke, heart disease, brain or cognitive malfunction,and Alzheimer's disease.

I suggest that proper exercise can be used as a preventive measure for psychological, cognitive, and physical health as well. Follow my prescription and lead a better, more fulfilling, and healthier life.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Frank Gusich- a Bo's Warriors


"Character is simply habit long enough continued."
– Plutarch

 

Unfortunately, Frank Gusich at the age of 64, passed on 4/1/14. The following is a brief excerpt for my manuscript titled “Bo’s Warriors.” Frank is one of the interviewed football players from the 1969, Michigan Wolverine team. He was the second “Wolf Man.” The Wolf Man position was essentially a defensive back that, depending upon the formation, moved close to the line of scrimmage for additional run support .

“Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s Co-captain Frank Gusich was called as one, if not the toughest Wolverine on the Michigan football playing field. Bo called him “a candy ass,” while the media, called Frank “Superman.” Even today, his teammates continue the respect for this warrior.

On October 23, 1956 Frank’s young life changed for the very worst. He was just under six years old since he was born on March 27, 1950. Although a sunny day in Cleveland, Ohio, Frank’s mother, Wilma, age 33, just returned home after taking her husband, Frank senior age 35, to neighboring hospital. Frank and his two sisters Marilyn and Anita were happy to see her. Before they could inquire about their father’s health, Wilma blurted out, “your father died.” Before words could be expressed, Frank teared up and cried. Frank had no clue about his father’s illness as the terrible news came as a complete shock to him.

This date was coincidentally, the date of his parents 10th year wedding anniversary. At the time, Wilma was pregnant with her fourth child. For the next 13 years or so, Wilma stayed home, rearing her four children. As finances were extremely tight for the Gusich family, they did not have a lot of luxuries. Thank goodness the Gusich family received Social Security benefits to supplement the limited family income. Even though Frank grew up without extras, he remembered that his mother, always had food on the table. It wasn’t until the youngest-Frank’s brother Tony entered the ninth grade/high school (the other three siblings were gone), Wilma entered the workforce. She remained employed for the next 20 years.

Wilma, although dated, never remarried. She had a very close friend named Joe Gorman. Joe became a father figure and was a positive part of the family. Frank remembered that Joe and Wilma went out to dinner and then headed to the dance floor together. His mother loved to dance. Frank liked Joe very much. He felt happy that Joe celebrated Christmas with their family. Joe and Wilma even attended Frank’s games in Ann Arbor. Joe was and became like a well-loved step father.

 

More to follow.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Frank Gusich 3/17/50-4/1/14


"We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results."
– Herman Melville


 

I’m sorry to report that Frank Gusich passed on April 1, 2014. Frank just turned 64. Frank was a 1971 Co-captain on the University of Michigan football team. He played the position as Wolf man and Sports Illustrated featured him in an article titled Superman.

Frank grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and unfortunately lost his father prior to the age of six. In grade school, Frank loved all sports and played, when he could, football, basketball and Little League baseball. In the eighth grade, he wanted to attend St. Ignatius high school. He applied, but was not accepted. Because of his and his mother’s perseverance, he was eventually accepted and even given a tuition grant.

At St. Ignatius, Frank lettered in basketball, track and football. For football, he played on the offense and the defense and was a Co-Capt. In his senior year. His team then won the city championship. He was recruited by such notables as Woody Hayes, Lou Holtz, Bob Devaney, Marv Levy and Lee Corso. However, Don James and Bump Elliott sold him on attending the University of Michigan.

Even though his three siblings attended Ohio State University, they became Michigan fans when the two teams played each other. In Frank’s sophomore year, he broke a bone near his wrist. He wasn’t allowed to play in the games with the cast. So, his trainer, cut off his cast, padded and taped his arm and hand so he could play in the games. So each week during the season, after each game, Frank had a new cast made. Unfortunately, in one of those practices, he also broke his thumb because the thumb wasn’t protected. Finally, the following January or February, after the season, his hand healed and he didn’t have to wear a new cast. Frank actually, still retained one of his special maize and blue casts as a memento. Frank became a starter in the Wolf man position as a junior. His teammates called him the “toughest.”

Frank is one of the men that I interviewed in my upcoming book titled “Bo’s Warriors.” It was a real honor for me to get to know this fine spiritual man. As far as coincidences go, his wife is named Linda. Linda grew up in East side of Detroit, and attended Dominican high school. I passed her high school   each day while attending Denby high school.

I know that Frank is still rooting for his beloved University of Michigan teams. Go Blue!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Pursuit of Happiness Part 2



                       The Pursuit of Happiness    Part 2

 

This is my take. I have learned over the years some things. In my opinion,” happiness” changes somewhat like the weather. It is here one moment, then gone the next. Happy (in the dictionary) is defined as indicative of pleasure, content or gladness: a happy mood. Delighted, or pleased, or glad as over a particular thing: to be happy to see a person. So happiness is the quality or state of being happy, good fortune, pleasure, content or gladness. Synonyms for happiness include bliss, blessedness contentedness (an active or passive state of pleasure or pleasurable satisfaction).

 

 What I believe to be more stable and more lasting than a happy mood/ feelings is” well-being” (one’s mental and physical health). I prefer employing terms like “wellness, or well-being” instead. I also think that when you have wellness, or well-being, one pretty much has it all. 

 Optimum mental health is related to how it what we think long with our behavior (things we do).  That means in order to experience and live mentally healthy, the individual has to deal effectively with his many irrational or self-defeating ideas; be able to understand his defense mechanisms; and resolve various psychological life issues in order to reach the stage of ego integrity ( i.e. emotional integration, generosity, accepting ones life and death).

I also believe that getting inspired, finding meaning (purpose), spirituality, laughing,  appreciating  , and bonding (having that significant relationship not only with a spouse, but with others as well) contribute to the equation of good mental health.

And, physical health has a lot to do with   psychological health; maintaining proper nutrition, along with some form of exercise. And we know that there’s interplay between our brain and our body. If we are making good choices/decisions through movement or exercise, we are likely going to improve many things that includes but not limited to: heart health, immune system functioning, reducing high blood pressure, improving short-term memory, reducing risk of various cancers, help relieving various stresses, improving blood circulation, including better brain functioning, elevating mood, reducing depression and improving overall quality of life.

For your information, Professor Victor Strecher, a professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health in his book “On Purpose” wrote about the elderly. Dr. Strecher concluded per research that the elderly live longer when he has a sense of purpose in his life. Having a sense of purpose means that the individual is looking toward the future. Further, the importance of living or dying was the result of having something to look forward to (a future) and was illustrated by Dr. Viktor Frankl, in his book “Man’s Search for Meaning.” Dr. Frankel, a psychiatrist, wrote about his experience in Auschwitz during World War II. Without a purpose or meaning one dies more quickly.

In my book “It Has Nothing to Do with Age” I prescribed seven principles to lengthen your life span. These seven principles can create a healthier lifestyle. 1. Get inspired. It’s okay to begin a new activity by taking baby steps. Physical activity can help in improving physical fitness, losing weight, reducing anxiety and minimizing depression. 2. Finding meaning in an activity outside of family, career or raising kids; it can build self-esteem. 3. Enrich your emotional life by making physical contact, having friends, sharing interests, and learning about others, by becoming part of a new group. 4. Realize that there’s more to life than the accumulation of material things; having the biggest toy does not result in happiness. 5. Participate in outdoor activities to help nurture, spirituality. 6. For a way to escape, read about other people’s adventures. 7. Find inspiration and motivation through the illuminating profiles of eight remarkable senior athletes found within this book.

Make sure you find your own “happiness” or “well-being.”

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Pursuit of Happiness


 

"The be-all and end-all of life should not be to get rich, but to enrich the world."
– Bertie Charles Forbes

An article by Charles Murray titled “Rules for a Happy Life” appeared in the March 29-30, 2014 edition of the Wall Street Journal. According to Murray, Rule: 1. Consider Marrying Young. He talked about one advantage (a start up) is that you have many memories of your life (going from the initial insecurities to knowing you’re going to make it) and that you and your spouse have made your way together. He also talked about merger marriages (being more mature and less likely to outgrow each other). 2. Learn How to Recognize your Soul mate relates to not allowing objectionable deal breakers i.e. (punctuality, orderliness and thriftiness) to get in the way, since you’re not able to change your mate anyway. He added that it is important and critical for you to really like your spouse also. 3. Take Religion Seriously has to do with intellectually and experientially reading about i.e.  atheism, agnosticism, Hinduism, Christianity, etc. Also, to associate with people who are profoundly religious because they have learned to generally reconcile faith and reason (they transcend intelligence and judgment). 4.  Eventually Stop Fretting about Fame and Fortune and come to grips with your station in life. He quotes David Geffen, the billionaire “show me someone who thinks that money buys happiness and I’ll show you someone who has never had a lot of money.” Murray went on to say that fame and wealth do accomplish something: they cure ambition, anxiety, but that’s all. 5. Watch Groundhog Day Repeatedly since that fable deals with the most fundamental issues of virtue and happiness in that the protagonist Bill Murray learns to experience deep, lasting and justified satisfaction with life even in only one day to do it.

I really take exception to this article as Murray seems to be missing the boat. Perhaps his book provides more enlightenment then this adaptation.

 

Part 2  To be Continued

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Heart of the Matter


"Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world."
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

This article was published in the Wall Street Journal on March 26, 2014. Dave McGillivray, Boston Marathon race director, finisher of 130 marathons was diagnosed with coronary heart disease. This marathoner was shocked and prior believed he could eat anything because his running would burn it off. He even advocated a chocolate chip cookie recipe and visiting Dairy Queen’s after his runs.

Since receiving his diagnosis last October, he changed his diet, and his weight dropped from155 to 128 pounds.  On the other hand, he increased his weekly mileage from 60 to 70 miles. Dave rationalized that it’s not that running will have killed him, but that the trigger would’ve likely happened even sooner, except for his running.

The following two studies suggest concern (50 men who had run at least one marathon a year for 25 years had higher levels of coronary artery plaque than a control group of sedentary men). Another study of 42 Boston Marathon runners found that their carotid arteries had a less favorable arthroscopic risk profile than a control group.

The article went on to talk about that some cardiologists believe that beyond a certain point, exercise stops preventing but actually and starts causing heart disease. In fact, one cardiologist believes that sustained endurance exercise can damage the heart and he doesn’t recommend any more than 20 miles a week at a moderate pace. On the other hand, another cardiologist might say, exercise might not add years to your life, but it adds life to your years.

In any event, consider having scans taken of your coronary arteries. In any event, there’s no guarantee that you can live to 100 years of age. Just make sure that whatever you do, it enhances your life.

For me, the key to life is to keep moving, smiling, laughing, loving, bonding and appreciating. What is your recipe ?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Self Care Reform




"Your life becomes the thing you have decided it shall be."
– Raymond Charles Barker


 

I just received “Self-Care Reform” written by Rusty Gregory a certified personal trainer from Austin, Texas. Rusty’s book is available on Amazon.com. This book helps the reader in discovering a path to good health. It does that by assisting people make better behavioral changes. Rusty believes that coaching facilitated his becoming more empathetic in dealing with people and their wellness.
In his 13 chapter book, Rusty, after each chapter, raises questions for the reader. This allows the reader to take an active approach in more fully understanding each chapter. Chapter 3 is titled What Does It Mean to Be Well? He draws four conclusions as to why individuals choose or stay with the easier or more comfortable behavior pattern: 1. Our identity becomes so wrapped up in our illness that we wouldn’t know who we were if we made a change for the better. 2. Some get comfortable with their illness, and it’s easier to stay where they are because otherwise they would have to become responsible and accountable for normal day- to- day living. 3. We lack the confidence needed to change. 4. We established the “societal norm” routine. The reader can either agree or disagree with Rusty’s ideas. But, in doing so, you have to think. Thinking is one of the beauties of this book.
Rusty talks about his four conclusions by illustrating examples from his clients. At the end of  Chapter 13, he raises three more questions: 1. What does wellness mean to you? 2. What changes are you willing to make in order to meet that definition? 3. On a scale of 1 to 10, what is your level of confidence that you can make the changes you need to make to be well? Remember, it all takes place between your ears.
Consider taking advantage of Rusty’s knowledge and experience (since 1991), If you’re at all concerned with your health and/or have reached a plateau and are stuck. We all realize that change is difficult, as well as being compulsive (stick- to- it- ness). Remember, no one ever said it’s easy to be consistent without employing rationalizations, denial or other defense mechanisms.
In any event, keep moving, smiling, laughing, loving, appreciating and bonding in your life space. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Strategies for your Brain


"Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought."
– Henri-Louis Bergson



On Friday, I took a continuing education class sponsored by the Institute for Brain Potential and presented by Michael Lara, M.D.   Further Information from Dr.Lara can be obtained from his website, www.drmikelara.com. The following information are for educational purposes only.

According to Dr. Lara the prefrontal cortex is responsible for effective cognitive functioning and beginning as early as the mid-20s, a variety of impaired neurotransmitter signaling are  a result of age-related changes. Cumulative effects of chronic stress, such as depression, increased levels of cortisol, increased production of free radicals and other forms of bio markers like “ inflammation” are associated, and contribute to these changes. And of course we’re all familiar with memory loss.

Mild forgetfulness (where did I leave my keys, can you help me find my cell phone) are generally part of normal aging and occur  around age 70. Mild Cognitive Impairment is characterized by more severe lapses in memory and occur roughly around age 60, while Alzheimer’s Dementia(loss of memory, thinking, and reasoning skills) is more severe.

Memory loss is generally affected by age-related sleep changes, and can be  a significant stressor because of decreased total nocturnal  sleep time, delayed onset of sleep, reduced slow wave sleep, etc. These changes affect hippocampal atrophy in the aging brain.

Dr. Lara indicated that the following are not intended for “patient” diagnosis, education or treatment. A few of his ideas are as follows: 1. The B vitamins can support neurotransmitter function, and researchers found that homo cysteine-lowering B vitamins slowed the rate of brain atrophy in mild cognitive impairment by as much as 53%. 2. Bacopa is an Ayurvedic herb used to promote learning and memory. 3. As body weight increases (the abdominal cavity), brain volume drops. And obesity is primarily a disease of inflammation. 4. Omega-3 fatty acids and the ratio of Omega: 6: 3 is associated with and can be an anti- inflammatory nutrient. The ratio of approximately 1 is recommended. 5. The Mediterranean Diet is associated with reducing the risk of negative metabolic syndrome, reducing the risk of age-related cognitive decline and lower mortality rates.

Dr. Lara also talked about the benefits of Resveratrol (alcohol or grape juice) as a potent antioxidant; Dark Cocoa, CoQ10, and Blueberries, reducing oxidative stress caused by damaged mitochondria. For wine drinkers, you’ll like this quote “a meal without wine is like a day without sunshine.” Dr. Lara also talked about nutrients  that supported brain metabolism such as: 1. Berberine 2. Caffeine 3. Cinnamon.

His strategies for protecting the aging brain include: 1.Caloric restriction 2. Intermittent fasting 3. Aerobic training 4. Resistance training. Dr. Lara also mentioned that one hour of exercise was negated by six hours of sitting.

For those of you that want additional information, I suggest that you go to his website, or to WWW.ibpceu.com for additional references such as DVDs, booklets, and/or recommended readings. I totally support incorporating diet, supplements, and exercise to increase brain volume, longevity and to slow down cognitive  impairment for our aging brains. The key, of course, is finding the right  answer/practitioner.

In any event, keep moving, laughing, smiling, loving, appreciating and bonding too.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Way Too Cool 50 Km


"Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different."
– Katherine Mansfield


On March 8, I ran the 25th annual, Way Too Cool, 50 km trail run. I am pleased to report that I ran it faster than last year. A couple of possible explanations are in order for the faster time, even with the wet and muddy trail conditions. For the past six months or so, I began running the hills and not worrying about my Achilles. Running the hills likely increased my cardio (overloading my cardiovascular system), which contributed to additional endurance. I’m considering running with a heart rate monitor to more accurately measure my cardio rate. I’ll  keep you posted. Not thinking about injuring my Achilles eliminated negative self-thoughts, which likely helped also.

I’m pleased to report that Tony, after a long Way Too Cool absence, met his running goal too. Further, my 100 mile ride and tie partner and friend Jonathan Jordan again ran in the event also. Jonathan, last year, experienced cramping at about 20 miles. This year, he ran well and didn’t cramp.

At about 14- 15 miles or so, Jonathan and I were accompanied by my friend Madhu. Once we reached the recycling center (21 miles), Chris and Bill joined us. My wife Linda and Chris’s wife Michelle were there also. At Goat Hill, Randall joined Linda and Michelle to welcome us. Meanwhile, Jonathan continued to stay in front.

It was great seeing everyone on the trail and at the aid stations. It certainly makes running more enjoyable. We all hung around at the finish, ate pizza, drank Coke’s and took pictures.

Afterwards, Linda and I hosted a potluck and were joined by spouses (Farah, Diane etc.}. We ate, drank, and it was all good. Further, I did not require any ibuprofen or icing afterwards. On Sunday, Jonathan, Linda and I hung out and took the day off. It was all good.’

An article from February 15, 2014, Bottom Line had a list of 9 Things Happy People Don’t Do. According to Dr. Dan Baker, he said that happy people don’t blame others for their problems. He said that taking responsibility for problems can lead to feelings of shame, guilt and inadequacy, but if we blame other people it’s more likely to lead to unhappiness. Because then, according to him, our happiness is outside our control, and then we are victims. He said take responsibility for solving your problems to learn that you have the power to set things right.

Taking responsibility for your issues, allows the individual to evaluate the effectiveness of decision-making. Hopefully, if poor decisions are made, we can then make proper changes. And as Katherine Mansfield states, it may be as” simple” as changing one’s attitude.

In any event, use the space between your ears, and employ effective, and self-fulfilling behaviors. That means keep moving, smiling, laughing, loving, appreciating and bonding.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Bo's Warriors Chapter 1 Go Blue Go Part 5



Bo's Warriors       Chapter 1   Go Blue Go

Part 5 


Coach Schembechler took a group of highly athletic and competitive young men (recruited by Bump Elliott) and created a group goal of winning, by being in the best possible physical condition which dovetailed nicely with his players individual motives. The 1968 team with a previous 8 – 2 record had a high probability of success for that 1969 season. With the clarity of the team’s goal; the cohesiveness of the team; their commitment and participation to the goals were so dynamic that the outcome of success left little doubt. As a result, the foundation of Wolverine football success was set in stone for years to come.

Some may argue that Bo made the player’s successful or was it the players, recruited by Bump, which made Bo successful? You decide.  Bump Elliott was a football legend at the University of Michigan. This handsome Marine Lieutenant was likely one of the most well respected of the many Michigan living legends. He was well spoken, intelligent, and a caring individual with great interpersonal skills. He was impeccably dressed and knew his football from a player’s perspective, from being a student from the University Michigan and was at ease with himself, with his national recognition.  If there was ever a spokesman for the University of Michigan, it was this unpretentious man. What a terrific model.

Those he recruited, had nothing but good things to say about him. Thomas Darden told of Bump coming to his Sandusky, Ohio, home. He said this soft-spoken man has such a great presence that his mother fell in love with him right away. Bump referred to Thomas’s parents, as Mr. and Mrs. Darden. They said to Thomas “he’s not like the other coaches.” Thom thought that Bump was a kind man, someone you can trust. If he said something to you, you knew that he was telling the truth.” I liked Bump and he made me feel that I was part of the Michigan experience. I also wanted to play for him, but he was fired.”

In fact, Bump was responsible for my 6   teammates and I leasing our house, in my junior year. That house became the “Den of the Mellow Men.” Mike Oldham and Glenn Doughty brought Bump the house listing. He took care of it from there. When I moved to Iowa, I looked Bump up and continue to have contact with him.

Mike Keller said that Bump took a personal interest and always came up to him and asked him how he was doing in school. Mike said that Bump knew that in order to play, I had to be eligible .Bump was comfortable to be around, like an uncle. Mike was friends with Bruce, Pete Elliott’s son, and later as a senior became friends with Bruce’s brother Dave. Bump and Pete Elliott were family. Mike said that Bump first approached him before athletic director Don Canham did and asked him to run for the Board of Intercollegiate Athletics at the University of Michigan. He did run and won.
Frank Gusich told me that Bump made a strong impression with both him and his mother. He said Bump was a real gentleman, a real classy guy. And it didn’t hurt that Michigan had a good academic reputation.

Fritz described Bump as a gentleman, respectful of every individual, dapper, well spoken, perfect, and    like an Ivy Leaguer. He didn’t think that Bump would run that” slap and stomp “drill because it disrespected the individual.

 These Michigan Wolverines contributed greatly and personified the Michigan tradition. They were selected to illustrate a cross-section of young men from different backgrounds who bonded and became relentless, in goal achievement. These young men came together and in 1969, achieved on the football field   and later off the field as well.  Their exceptional ability has been demonstrated throughout their entire lives.

It is  my pleasure  to introduce you to the outstanding men of that 1969, Michigan football team:  Jim Betts, Jim Brandstatter, Tom Curtis, Thom Darden, Frank Gusich, Mike Keller, Reggie McKenzie, Fritz Seyferth and Coach Gary Moeller who learned about mental toughness first-hand from their legendary coach Bo Schembechler. These are their stories.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Bo's Warriors Chapter i Go Blue Go Part 4

Part 4            Bo's Warriors        Chapter 1       Go Blue Go



In fact, on one occasion, the offensive team was doing a punting drill. Bo said that he would give $10 to any defensive player that blocked the punt. As it happened, the punt got blocked and there goes offensive tackle Jim Brandstatter running down field to make the tackle. Bo becomes irate and runs down field after Brandstatter thinking he missed his block, which resulted in the blocked punt. He finally catches up to Jim and starts berating him. Quickly, one of the coaches, Jerry Hanlon, runs up to Bo telling him that Jim made his block. Do you think that Bo apologized for his mistake?   Instead, Bo said something to the effect “he needed it.”   Doesn’t that remark sound so much like Bo?      

Bo knew that expectancy of success has a positive incentive value. Further, that expectancy of failure can affect the achievement motive as well; such as the motive to avoid failure. He knew that leadership, bonding, social pressure, and wanting to please could be nurtured in a group setting. He also knew that the players would bond around Jim Brandstatter and that Jim could take the verbal abuse.

Coach Schembechler understood that purposive behavior /positive valence goals gave meaning to these young curious competitive minds. He knew that aversive stimulation or negative reinforcement worked too especially and more so back then. He also knew about intrinsic motivation (desire to practice in order to become a better football player) and extrinsic motivation (a team win over OSU and MSU red letter games), as powerful motivators. Schembechler made it clear to his troops “do it my way, or the Highway; do it right the first time.” His communications were clear, not ambiguous. He knew how to communicate with his guys.

 In essence, Coach Schembechler knew how to increase motivation, so that his players would put out maximum effort. He realized that expectation of success (winning regular and red letter games) and expectation of failure (had to be avoided). He also was cognizant that success has a positive incentive value (important for the team, important for the coaches, important for the University, important for the tradition) increased motivation and behaviors associated with achieving the goal. He also knew that achievement, competitiveness, were in the psychological DNA of the exceptional group of men that he was leading. He knew they would avoid failure at any cost. They knew the importance of winning this OSU game.

Another significant and an important part of Bo’s psychological genius was related to conditioning. Bo Schembechler had an understanding that being in top physical condition resulted in not only intellectual growth but development in mental toughness as well (it ain’t just toughness). These young warriors realized that if they could survive Bo’s practices during the spring and fall, the game on Saturday would likely be a break/reward and/or relief.

Coach Bo’s most significant contribution to success was his ability to get the most out of his young players by changing their thought process. He did that by challenging them, getting them to believe that the impossible was possible. In other words, these young men began to believe in Bo, in the team and in themselves. The team mindset changed, barriers and obstacles overcome and on the field performance reached new heights. They no longer sold themselves short because their concept of self was raised beyond what they originally thought.  As these young man began to fulfill their football potential, their confidence soared and now the sky became their limit. This team could and did achieve anything they set their collective minds to accomplishing.

Bo utilized the achievement model of motivation.  He knew that goals were related to involvement of the task (which the main goal is to improve and increase one’s skills through practice, drill and more drill). Achievement goals are also related to ego involvement with the goal to demonstrate superior ability or out achieving-outperforming others. And that these high achievers will gain such things as approval and acclaim within the group. In other words, he knew that mastery within the sport and high-performance was paramount for team success. Bo was a master social psychologist, teacher/sage/ mentor to this collection of physically and mentally exceptionally gifted young men.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Bo's Warriors Chapter 1 Go Blue Go

                                           Bo's Warriors           Chapter 1 Go Blue Go  
Part 3 Continued



Certainly, having the Ohio State playing date written in red letters on the blackboard was an incentive and was a clear group goal. No one had to say or even verbalize the importance of that Ohio State game. It was simply understood. The expectation was great and the consequences were clear and the outcome could only be provided by this group of young men/ the team.

Bo understood this concept of group/team cohesiveness. Bo himself had great teachers and he learned from the best like Woody. Bo also surrounded himself with smart coaching minds and valued their input. Serving in the U.S. military no doubt contributed to his understanding of the dynamics of groups. Some people compare psychologically a football team’s cohesiveness to being in a foxhole with a buddy, within your company during battle with the enemy. Woody was a great field general and understood historical battles and taught his protégé Bo well.

Bo also knew about human learning, human development, group dynamics and motivation. He realized that external and situational factors play a part and create motivations which otherwise might not exist. He knew about focusing. He knew about expectations and probability of reward/ reinforcement. Bo also was cognizant of the fact that reinforcement (feedback) didn’t always have to be positive. In fact he knew when to talk disparagingly to his young troops. He was smart enough to realize that negative or critical feedback also works and influences behavior. He knew who could take it and who couldn’t. Some like Brandstatter heard comments, from the coaches, such as “you’re the worst tackle in the history of intercollegiate sports; “and “We wasted a scholarship on you;”   Bo called Gusich “a candy ass.”   By the way, candy ass co-captain Gusich was called by his teammates “the toughest dude on the team. “ When Bo told Keller “cut your hair.” Keller responded “baldness runs in my family and I am keeping my hair as long as possible.”   Bo also said, according to Seyferth something to the effect that, “I have the 10 worst players in college football.”

 

 Coach Schembechler’s assistant coaches realized (on their own) that these young man required positive interactive reinforcement. The assistant coaches knew that Bo was going to break the men down (mental toughness), so that he could rebuild them to excel at the highest level.  Within this situation, of being in a highly competitive big time Division 1 program, football players were obedient and eagerly followed directions( of an authoritarian, no- nonsense disciplinarian, tough- love father figure), the head coach during that era . In spite of Bo being, on the field, critical, these assistant coaches also knew that Bo was gentler with his young players, one-on-one, behind closed doors. The assistant coaches also knew that Bo (warm and fuzzy as an assistant under Woody) somewhat imitated Woody, when Bo became the man and ran his program.

It was okay with Bo that the assistant coaches would be the good guys, gentle, personable, friendly warm, who made football fun with their creative drills. Gary Moeller, for one, had his defensive men doing  end zone drills, laughing-having a good time while Bo’s offense were doing their not so fun  drills.  According to Frank Gusich, Dick Hunter was a good guy, and even fed Hunter’s kids lunch during his junior and senior seasons. During a practice/scrimmage session, Fritz Seyferth was discouraged by Bo’s criticism. However, assistant coach Jerry Hanlon would come by and pat him on the back and say “you are doing this right.” Did that ever sooth the wound.

To Be Continued



Monday, March 3, 2014

Bo's Warriors Chapter 1 Go Blue Go



Part 2       Continued               Go Blue Go

And with team bonding, team unity also influences positively the kind/type of personality each player was is developing. These players became less self-centered, and more caring and giving. These young men became less full of themselves. They cared a lot about each other.  Membership in the group was paramount for security, achievement, competitiveness   and status. As” the team” became more and more of a positive attraction, it became more cohesive and turned toward a collective “we.” Forget about “I” or “me.” Even when Fritz Seyferth, a starting fullback (had a Rose Bowl scoring touchdown) began sharing duties with a sophomore, he didn’t complain or say “poor me.” Fritz worked hard for the team.  Reggie McKenzie told the story about Preston Henry during one spring practice. During that particular practice, Henry, a running back, had to practice offensive maneuvers for both the first and second string offense for some 130 plays or so. After practice, everyone ran sprints, even Preston Henry.” We all felt sorry for him. “Absolutely no one on the team would have been upset if Preston Henry was excused from running wind sprints.” It’s highly unusual (unheard of) for one player to run that many plays in one practice or scrimmage session.

With cohesiveness, this team was able to mobilize its energies in their support of the group goals, which were to prepare self physically (even if doing exhausting, unintelligible exercises i.e. .slap and stomp), so that on the field performance (a win) would be second to none. Solidarity was important and expressed by the final core players that didn’t quit or leave the team. There was a sign, on the wall, that attempted to reduce the number of players from quitting and keeping only the toughest. It read   “those that stay will become champions.” A player (Pru man) who left the team added “those that leave will become captains of industry, lawyers and doctors.” Roughly, 75 or so players stayed with the team. They may have complained about some of the tactics employed by Bo, but stayed. In fact, a player or two would be talked out of quitting the team-Reggie McKenzie for one. Reggie went through a spell thinking that Bo was unfairly on his back. He was told” McKenzie men do not quit.” From that point on, Reggie showed Bo his character. His self-talk was something like” I’m not going to let Bo beat me. “

These young men became strongly motivated to contribute to the team’s welfare and advance its objectives versus me / my individual goals. As a team they became more cohesive; the more the individual players wanted to become part of the team, the more they liked/bonded with each other. They roomed/lived  together, took the same classes , socialized , partied,  got fixed up on dates by teammates, worked  at the same off season jobs   ,pledged the same fraternities , boycotted the same classes  and became inspired together.  They had common interests and belonging was important as they identified with something much bigger/larger than themselves (University of Michigan’s gridiron history).  Bo told them during the racial unrest on the campus that, according to Brandstatter, “we are one race-Michigan football; you guys are not about race; no one from the outside is going to get between us; race is not an issue. “ Keller remembered “son of a bitch you’re not red, you’re not white, you’re not blue-you’re Michigan.” Even Bo supported the Mellow Men’s (seven black football players) stand on boycotting (shutting it down) the Economics building during a campus demonstration.

As desirability of membership and being part of the team Increased, the greater the value of expectations or outcomes became apparent. It was significant that their need state for achievement, affiliation, competitiveness, recognition and security were being realized through team membership.
To be continued

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bo's Warriors - Chapter 1 Go Blue Go


                                                                       Bo’s Warriors

     

 

 Chapter 1 Go Blue Go

 

This read, is about the young men who played the game of football. The vehicle, in this case, is” the game “and its consequence. Some, might view this book as a defense for football in spite of the recent legitimate criticisms made about the game. The impact (scientifically measurable) of football and one game, in particular, is the focus here.  The explosion has likely touched millions. In fact, what happened in the fall, between gridiron rivals the University of Michigan and Ohio State University in 1969, still has tremors.

On a Saturday, the 22nd in November, the University of Michigan hosted the Ohio State University Buckeyes in Ann Arbor in front of 103,588 fans. At the time, Woody Hayes coached the nation’s unbeaten (22 games), defending national champions and number one college football team. This team was called the greatest of all time and compared to none other than the Minnesota Vikings. This Buckeye juggernaut was the” Goliath “   and the Wolverines the “David.” Woody Hayes believed this team was one of his best, if not his best. You know what happened between David and Goliath.

Even though playing at home, the Wolverines were 17 point underdogs to the monsters of Ohio.  Michigan had two early season losses, but were on a roll and entered the game with a 7-2 record. This Michigan team were led by a young, first-year coach named Bo Schembechler. Coach Schembechler told his team that if they couldn’t remember Schembechler, just call me “Bo.” Prior, Coach Schembechler was a head coach of Miami of Ohio, referred to, and had the reputation of the “cradle of coaches.” He brought with him young, talented, energetic and intelligent football minds. Gary Moeller, Jim Young, Chuck Stabart, Jerry Hanlon, Rick Hunter were some examples. These coaches were also at one time high school head coaches which some believe contributed to their understanding of how to better communicate, teach and motivate athletically gifted young men. And in fact, most became college head coaches.

Bo, was called, by many, a psychological genius for his ability to understand, teach, motivate, and to create the importance of” team.” He employed” brain washing” and drilled the concept of team which resulted in forming and creating “team cohesiveness.” It was about the team, the team, and the team. These young men became psychologically part of a group to which they belonged (bonded teammates). For example, Mike Taylor, a defensive All American specialist, got on Reggie McKenzie an offensive All American stalwart for dogging it/not blocking him hard during practice drills. He said to Reggie “come on, their watching you; don’t go through the motions.”

  Within their team practices/drills, the teammates began to identify with each other, and developed unity; their goals became interdependent, and in the process they formed aspirations/ expectations which became rewarding. However, as the teammates began to identify highly with the group and its goals;   they gained camaraderie and satisfaction with the attainment of a goal (not making a mental mistake) or for that matter dissatisfaction with failure (making a mental mistake) to reach the goal. But even under certain circumstances, failure to meet a group goal increased group bonding (like an early-season loss to arch rival Michigan State). When the teammates easily accepted a common goal (i.e. executing and minimizing mistakes of the” I” formation) and supported the actions required to reach it (practice, practice, practice, drill, drill, drill), teammates felt great and thrilled about the contributions of their teammates (a solid block, a hard hit tackle, or a key interception) toward the meeting and completion of the many and various goals.
To be continued

Monday, February 24, 2014

Bo's Warriors -Introduction Part 5


Bo’s Warriors -   Introduction continued   (5)

 

In 1935, in Ann Arbor, the Big Ten championship in track and field was hosted by Michigan. Within 45 minutes(of competition), Jesse Owens tied the 100 yard world record; and set world records in the long jump, 220 yard sprint and the low hurdles. In the Summer Olympics of 1936, held in Berlin, Germany with all the Nazi propaganda, in front about of Adolph Hitler, Jesse Owens won gold medals in the 100 and 200 m dash, the long jump and the 4 x 100 relay. Do not forget that there was racial segregation and discrimination at that time, even for this celebrated Olympian.

In basketball, Bobby Knight played on the 1960 NCAA championship winning Buckeye squad. As a head coach, he led his NCAA Division I teams to 902 victories which is currently third on this prestigious list of basketball coaches. Coach Knight also was victorious in three NCAA championship games and won 11 Big Ten titles. Bobby coached the 1984, men’s Olympic basketball team to gold as well. Currently he is a media basketball analyst.

Jack William Nicholas was born in Columbus, Ohio, on January 21, 1940. I’m sure that “the Golden Bear” remembered that 1969 Ohio State game with Michigan. This golfing legend has won 18 career major championships and has a total of 73 PGA tour victories during the process. On a side note, Tiger is chasing him as far as career majors go. Even if the Golden bear falls to number two, that doesn’t take away anything from his contribution to the golfing world.

On the gridiron, some All-Americans from the Buckeyes defeat in Ann Arbor in 1969 include Jack Tatum(1968, 1970), also known as “the assassin”; Rex Kern, quarterback(twice finished in the top 5 for Heisman voting); Jim Otis, fullback(scored four touchdowns in that 1968 blowout against Michigan); safety Mike Sensibaugh 1970, defensive back who has the most career interceptions; middle guard Jim Stillwagon 1969, 1970, two-time All-American defensive lineman, who won both the Outland and the Lombardi trophy; Tim Anderson defensive back 1970; John Brockington, fullback, 1970; Jan White tight end, 1970.

Two other OSU football-All-American and Heisman winners include two time winner running back Archie Griffin 1974, 1975 and running back Eddie George, 1995. NFL Hall of Fame greats include: Howard “Hopalong” Cassidy, half back 1954-1955; Jim Parker, 1955-1956; wide receiver Cris Carter, 1986; Chris Spielman, 1986-1987 to name just a few from their impressive list.

Back to the Buckeyes and the Wolverines on the gridiron. These two colleges have played 108 football games between themselves. Michigan has been the overall winner 58 times with 6 ties. Ohio State University has 44 victories in the series. Michigan has attained 42 Big Ten championships compared to Ohio State’s 34. As far as national championships go, Michigan holds title 11-7. The Wolverines overall record is 903 wins, 315 losses and 36 ties for a .734 winning percentage. Ohio State University has 837 victories for a .716 winning percentage in their illustrious history. The Buckeyes have 7 Heisman Trophy winners and the Wolverines 3. The Buckeyes have 42 bowl appearances, while the Wolverines have 41. Yes, Michigan’s “Big House” seats over 111,000 compared to OSU’s “The Shoe” which seats over 102,000. And in 2010, the Wolverines averaged 111,823 in attendance, an NCAA record and has the largest crowd of 113,823 also an NCAA record. The regional and national rivalry between these two great universities is simply legendary.

Philanthropy

On a lighter side, the Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) chapters at Michigan and Ohio State came up with a creative way to give back during “the rivalry.” This rivalry has been called the greatest in North American sports and the fraternity takes advantage in a positive way.

The Ohio State chapter has adopted the Stephanie Spielman (all American Chris’s wife) fund for breast cancer research, while the Michigan chapter donates to the American Cancer Society. They decided to run a relay. One chapter (visiting team) carries an official game ball from their football Stadium, to the home team Stadium. In essence, both chapters meet in Findlay, Ohio, and pass (visitors) the ball to the other (home team) chapter to carry and arrive before Saturday’s kickoff. The distance covered, between the two stadiums, is roughly 187 miles and takes the students over 30 hours to go from one Stadium to the other. Way to go fellow Greeks. As an alumni of Sigma Alpha Mu, I applaud your spirit and you’re giving back to society.

And now the story.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Bo's Warriors-Part 4


                                            Introduction of “Bo’s Warriors” to be continued (4)

Michael Fred Phelps11, collected 22 Olympic medals, of which 18 are gold. He was a world record holder in the 100 m butterfly; 200 m butterfly and 400 m individual medley. Michael has attained more Olympic medals than anyone else, and has doubled the number of the individual second place record holder. He has also attained 71 international long course competition medals as well. There is still some mystery as to whether he will compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics. From 1900-2012, Michigan athletes have attained 149 Olympic medals, of which 72 are gold.

If you are a basketball junkie, you might remember Cazzie Russell’s exploits and his team’s battle with John Wooden’s UCLA Bruins in the NCAA championship game in 1965. In 1966, Russell was the college basketball player of the year and Michigan’s Crisler arena was referred to as “The House that Cazzie Built.” Mr. Russell was also the number one pick in the NBA draft.

Another Michigan All-American, 1970, Rudy Tomjanovich (Jersey was retired by Michigan) both played and coached in the NBA. This five time NBA All-Star coached the Houston Rocket’s to two consecutive NBA titles. He was also the head coach for the USA men’s gold medal basketball team in the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Michigan great Glenn Rice (Michigan’s leading career and single-season scorer) led the Wolverines to a national title in 1989. He won an NBA title in 2000 with the Los Angeles Lakers. In the NCAA tournament, Glenn was selected and received the tournament’s most outstanding player award. He was a fourth player selected in the NBA draft, and recently had his Jersey retired from the University Michigan.

More recently, in the 1990s, “The Fab Five” (Chris Webber, Juan Howard, Jalen Rose, Ray Jackson and Jimmy King) led the Wolverines to two consecutive NCAA championship games. Webber, Rose and Howard were All-Americans and these three had tremendous NBA careers. Currently, Webber and Rose are NBA TV analysts. In 2012-2013 Trey Burke (NCAA player of the year) and Tim Hardaway Jr. led the Wolverines to the championship game against Louisville. Both were drafted in the first round and play in the NBA.

When Wolverine football began in 1879, Rutherford B Hayes, was the 19th Pres. of the United States. Pres. Hayes served one term. He was born in Delaware, Ohio; was a Congressman and a two-term Gov. of Ohio as well. He assumed the presidency, even though we lost the popular vote, with 20 contested electoral college votes. Several the issues of the day related to the end of reconstruction; the great railroad strike; the coinage of silver as it relates to gold; and the Monroe doctrine In reference to the Panama Canal. And, Michigan is playing football?

In 1925, 26, 27, Michigan’s Benny Oosterbaan was an All-American during those three years and also had his Jersey retired. Tom Harmon was an All-American halfback in 1939, and a Heisman winner in 1940. His Michigan number was also retired. Ron Kramer, was an All-American end in 1955 and 56, and also had his number retired. Our 38th president, Gerald Ford played center and was an All-American too.

More recently, other Michigan All-Americans, NFL greats, and Super Bowl champions include Ty Law(1994) of the New England Patriots; Desmond Howard(1991) of the Green Bay Packers; Charles Woodson(1996, 1997) of the Green Bay Packers and Oakland Raiders and Jim Harbaugh(1986) who coached the San Francisco 49ers in the 2013 Super Bowl. And last but not least, Tom Brady three time winner(New England Patriots) of the Super Bowl.

The Ohio State University Buckeyes aren’t too shabby either. This great University, located in Columbus, Ohio, was founded in 1870 and currently ranked 56 among national universities in this country. The Scarlet and Gray has a third-largest University campus in the United States and the 18th largest University research library in North America.
Ohio State is one of four universities(the others-University of Michigan, Stanford and University of California-Berkeley) to have won national championships in men’s basketball, men’s baseball and football. Not only that, Ohio State is one of two, the other being, Florida to win national championships in the same calendar year in men’s football and basketball

Monday, February 17, 2014

Bo's Warriors- Introduction


 

                                                              Introduction to be continued   Part 3

 

I am settled on a title for my manuscript - Bo’s Warriors. Today’s post continues the introduction to my upcoming soon-to-be published book.

Was Don Canham that smart or should it be apparent to anyone about Bo’s potential to teach and motivate young men in this macho sport of American football?

For those of you that do not know the story, Bo became the winning est coach in Michigan football history with a 194-48-5 record from 1969 through 1985, and at the time, retired as the winning est football head coach in the nation. Bo was also voted Big Ten coach of the year and national coach of the year by both the Football Coaches Association and the Football Writers Association. Bo was now elite and a football legend.

What about and what do we know about the football coaching genius Wayne Woodrow “Woody” Hayes?” Woody started his coaching career at Miami of Ohio. Other notables that started their career at this University included Paul Brown, Pro Football Hall Of Fame; Ara Parseghian, national college football champion Notre Dame 1966 in 1973 and College Football Hall of Fame 1980; Weeb Ewbank, Pro Football Hall of Fame 1978; Bill Mallory, Indiana Hall of Fame 1993 and Sid Gillman, Pro Football Hall of Fame 1983 and was ranked by ESPN, as one of the 20 greatest NFL coaches.

Woody, the legendary genius, was the head coach at Ohio State University from 1951 through 1978. During that time, Lieutenant Navy Commander Hayes won five national championships in 1954, 1957, 1961, 1968, and 1970. Woody’s teams won 13 Big Ten conference titles and he compiled a 205-61-10 coaching record.

According to Buckeye co-captain Gary Moeller, “Woody, hated the media.” He told us players “if anyone comes up to you and tells you how good you are blah blah blah punch them in the nose, unless it’s your parents.” The blemish on Woody’s resume was his interaction, with Clemson’s Charlie Bauman. Charlie intercepted an Ohio State pass (thrown by quarterback art Schlichter) sealing Ohio State’s loss. A physical altercation quickly followed when Woody assaulted this Clemson middle guard, in 1978, Gator Bowl. Woody Hayes, the legend was quickly dismissed, lost his coaching position, and never coached again. I don’t believe that coach Hayes ever apologized to Clemson’s Bauman. However, I wouldn’t expect that he would. Would you?

During the 10 year rivalry (war) between Ohio State and Michigan, either Bo Schembechler or Woody Hayes, either won or shared the Big Ten conference title between themselves. No other Big Ten school would win the conference title during their decade of battle. Not only that, both Michigan and Ohio State placed in national rankings every year during this rivalry. Clearly, the battles between Bo and Woody and Michigan and Ohio State reached national significance. Their battles became legendary, their teams dominated and their players became media and household names.

A number of you might be thinking what is so special about the University of Michigan? And why should we care about the game of football? And, more specifically, what difference does it make as to the final score on the football field between the Buckeyes and Wolverines? These are just a few the questions that you might be thinking at this time.

Did you know, the University of Michigan was founded in 1817? Doing the math, I come up with 197 years as of 2014. That makes my University older than Ohio State’s. Since its founding, the University of Michigan is considered one of the top universities of the world. It’s not only a multi ethnic public institution of higher learning, it also has reached unequaled achievement in research.

As far as sports are concerned at the University of Michigan, intercollegiate competition began in 1865-1866. Historically, this means going back to Abraham Lincoln, the civil war, and the freeing of African-Americans. For some reason, intercollegiate sports, and fighting for equal rights and economic interests between the North and South do not seem to be correlated. In reference to the recent movie “Lincoln,” I’m picturing rugged living, political shenanigans, manipulation, young men dying and the death of a great American. Sports do not come to mind, let alone football.

Michigan has more NCAA Division I national titles in both hockey, in men’s swimming and diving than any other University of Division I status. Their prize swimmer was Michael Phelps.
To be continued

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Players Mental Toughness with Bo Schembechler-Part 2


                                                                 Introduction Continued

Don Canham  has an illustrious Michigan athletic and coaching history as well. Don obviously felt confident that he could weather out the storm he initiated. To ease some feathers, he offered Bump a position in the athletic department as Assistant Athletic Director.

Don Canham lettered in track at the University of Michigan from 1939-1941. In 1940, he held the NCAA title in high jump and was an All-American. From 1949-68, he was the track and field coach for the Wolverines. He led them to 12 Big Ten Conference Championships, of which seven(7) were indoor and five(5) were outdoor. His Michigan track team also set world records in both the 4 mile relay and the distance medley relay. Yes, he too was impressive as an athlete and as a track and field coach .

From 1968-88,Athletic Director Canham rebuilt and solidified Michigan’s dominance as a sports powerhouse. In fact, under his stewardship, Michigan’s Wolverines teams amassed 72 Big Ten championships. Behind his marketing and promotional leadership, the attendance for Michigan football reached unheard of heights. Since 1975, the average attendance for 186 home football games averaged more than 100,000. And from 1973 through 2004, Michigan, led the nation, in football attendance 30 out of 31 times. Throughout the land, the Michigan Stadium is known as the “Big House.” Canham, used his business skills as a marketer, promoter and fundraiser talents wisely. In fact, he was a first-ever to incorporate a direct mail advertising program to solicit attendees for football and other sports at the University Michigan. This genius won many awards as an athletic director; his counsel with sought by many; and his model was imitated throughout NCAA sports. This icon set the bar very high and redefined the position of athletic director.

Who was this 39-year-old man from Ohio named Bo? What did Don Canham, realize, at the time, that others did not? Was Don really a genius or was he just lucky? Maybe the planets were aligned since this was the Age of Aquarius. Well, Bo was born in Barberton, Ohio. Was there  significance in where he was born? Maybe, just maybe, being from a rural farmland area suggests that Bo knew about the world of hard, physical work first hand. What about the fact that he played football, tackle position, in high school and achieved all-state honors? Okay, he was a very good high school football player and played in one powerful football milieu within our country. Terrific football and other sports are played, at exceptional levels, in this state. So far we have a combination of a young man knowing about hard work, playing a team sport and excelling in the sport of football. Further, we know, that he attended college at Miami of Ohio, played offensive tackle in football and lettered in 1949 and 1950. Now we know, that he can learn, he can follow direction, he likes game of football, he is teachable, and he made a significant contribution to his teams.

Bo Schembechler was forming and curing the foundation for what was  to follow. This might interest you as the dots start to be connected. You might ask, and/or might be curious as to who coached, Bo in college? If you’re football fan, you certainly know the name Sid Gilman. Mr. Gilman was considered a football man ahead of his time as far as offense was concerned, and some will say, was the architect of today’s West Coast offense. You might be surprised to find out that his other coach was the one and only Woody Hayes. Really, you might say, this young man was playing for, and learning from the best of the best and he didn’t have to travel very far from home to do it. I’ll wager that Bo learned a lot from both of those men and his impressionable young mind was being shaped and sharpened, especially offensive football philosophy.

After college, Bo went into the service and learned more about discipline, giving direction, following direction, order, group cohesion and working together for a common cause. This young military man also coached as he was serving his country. Bo was developing even more insight into the social psychology of human behavior and group dynamics: thank you.

Bo, after service, enrolled at Ohio State to get a Masters degree  in education and became a graduate assistant under head football coach Woody Hayes. Bo, being intelligent, reconnected with his mentor. Bo spent the next five years with Woody learning more under this master coach. Bo Schembechler was paying his dues. In fact, while being a line position coach, he coached a young man named Gary Moeller who was a team Captain  on Woody’s undefeated 1963 team. Co-captain Gary later became Coach Gary Moeller.

Bo coached at a number of other colleges(Presbyterian, Bowling Green, and Northwestern) before becoming the head coach at Miami of Ohio. At Miami of Ohio University, he compiled a 40-17-3 record from 1963-1968. During his  coaching career as an assistant , coach Schembechler learned from and with another football legend by the name of Ara Parseghian. Mr. Parseghian reached fame and legendary status as the head coach at Notre Dame. By now, it must be clear, to you, that Bo was being trained by not only the best minds in football, he’s been given the opportunity to implement what he has learned. Up to this point, he’s moving rapidly up the coaching ladder with determined motivation. Can you predict at this point, how high he will climb and what he will become?

 

                                                              Introduction to be continued  

Monday, February 10, 2014

Players Mental Toughness with Bo Schembechler


The following few posts are from my next book “  Players Mental Toughness with  Bo Schembechler.”

 

                                                                               Introduction

 

Was it a tidal wave, a giant tsunami, a nuclear explosion or earthquake when announced, in 1968, by the media, that Glenn Edward “Bo” Schembechler was named as the head football coach at the University of Michigan by first year athletic director Don Canham. And that Chalmers W. “Bump” was not expelled from the University but was being transferred (booted) from head football coach to assistant athletic director. Was it true? I can’t believe what I just heard; it obviously must be a mistake. How could this have happened to the beloved Bump Elliott? This couldn’t possibly set well with Bump. I’ll wager that his team, his recruits and his Michigan friends were not happy or thrilled with this news.

And, all this was going on within the tumultuous uprisings of the 1960s. There was the pill; Detroit and Watts race riots; the Vietnam War; the Black Panthers; gay and lesbian rights; ban the bomb; and political assassinations  etc. going on campuses throughout the United States and especially at the University of Michigan. That infamous announcement in late December 1968, still resonates and has implications even today (Michigan football continues to set NCAA attendance records).

For those of you not cognizant, the well-respected Bump Elliot was a Michigan football legend. Bump first lettered in football, baseball and basketball at Big Ten rival Purdue University. He left Purdue, before graduating, to serve (called up in 1944) his country. Bump became a Marine Lieut.(saw duty in China) and after his service; instead of going back to Purdue to finish his studies, he enrolled at the University of Michigan, and joined his brother Pete in the Michigan football backfield. He was coached by Mr. Fritz Crisler. Only this time, this handsome Marine became nationally known as one of the “Mad Magicians” in the Wolverine backfield. He was a spark plug that propelled the Wolverines to a big nine title in 1947, and also to a Rose Bowl victory, January 1, 1948, over the USC Trojans 49-0. On top of that, he received individual honors as he was named All-American (1947) By the American Football Coaches Association. This Marine Lieut. excelled on the gridiron, just ask the Trojans.

11 years later, after initially coaching football at other colleges, coach Elliott was named the Wolverine football head coach in 1959 by athletic director, Fritz Crisler, his former head coach another Michigan football legend. And in 1964, the Mad Magician coached his Wolverine squad to a Big Ten title and to a Rose Bowl victory over Oregon University on January 1, 1965. His overall head coaching record (wins-losses-ties) at the University of Michigan was 51-42-3 for a .547 winning percentage. Do not lose sight of the fact or for that matter forget that Bump recruited such players as Jim Mandich, All-American end in 1969; Tom Curtis, All-American defensive back in 1969; Henry Hill, All-American guard 1970; Dan Dierdorf, All-American tackle 1970; Billy Taylor, All-American halfback, 1971; Reggie McKenzie, All-American guard 1971; Thom Darden, All-American defensive back 1971; Mike Taylor, All-American linebacker 1971; Mike Keller, All-American linebacker 1971; Jim Brandstatter, all Big Ten tackle 1971; Jim Betts, defensive back 1970; Frank  Gusich, defensive back 1971; Bruce Elliott, academic All-American and defensive back 1971 and numerous other notables.

 

 

After the 1968 football season, Coach Elliott was removed by A.D. Don Canham, in spite of  leading his  Wolverines to an 8- 2 record. However, in that final game of his last Michigan coaching assignment, 43 year old (born 1/30/25 in Detroit), Bump’s Wolverines were pitted against none other than Woody Hayes’ Ohio State Buckeyes. In that game, the halftime score was 14-14 with the outcome in doubt. However, at the games end, the final score left no suspense, as the numbers were Ohio State 50-Michigan 14. Before you ask, how did that happen, there’s more to the story? To make that embarrassment worse or to rub Michigan’s face in the mud, Coach Woody Hayes went for a two-point conversion on Ohio State’s last touchdown in the closing minutes of the game. When sportswriters wondered and asked “Woody, why did you go for two points on your last touchdown?” Woody’s reply was direct, clear and to the point, “because I couldn’t go for three.” That reply tells you and suggests all you need to know about head coach Woody Hayes’ competitive nature. Aside from Woody’s competitiveness spirit, someone said “Woody just poured gasoline on that rivalry.” And the match was lit and the flame became hotter and hotter.

During Coach Elliott’s reign, Michigan’s football attendance was poor by Michigan standards. In fact, their average attendance was roughly 67,000 which was substandard due to the size of their Stadium. Did Bump deserve to be fired by first year A.D. Don Canham? You be the judge. Just ask, how long or how much time could pass before Coach Elliott, who viewed his removal as a slap in the face, work under/or in concert with Don Canham? Well, how about from 1969-70, when Bump left being assistant A.D. after one year to become the athletic director at another Big Ten school, the University of Iowa, of course a Michigan rival.

Not only did A.D. Don Canham, not hesitate to remove All-American Bump  Elliott, as football coach, he made a second decision quickly and hired a young, fiery and spirited Bo Schembechler (an Ohioan, no less) to replace the Mad Magician. This quick decision, the story goes, that it took Canham just a 15 minute conversation between him and Bo Schembechler at a restaurant no less, to offer Bo the prestigious Michigan head coach position. You might not be surprised that it took Bo less than 15 minutes to accept the offer. Just how much can you eat (if not in an eating contest) and/or to discuss the business of the day within just 15 minutes? A fly on the wall could tell who did the majority of the talking. Who do you think did the majority of the talking? What exactly was Mr. Canham seeking from this unknown young man? How did Canham envision Michigan football?

 

To be continued.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Jed Smith 50 Km Orcas Island 50 K and Mental Toughness


"Great minds have purposes, little minds have wishes."
– Washington Irving


On Saturday, February 1, I ran the Jed Smith, 50 km race. My goal was to run it faster than last year. Chris Turney accompanied me and ran with me for the first two laps. At the end of the first two laps, I was on pace to break the US 50 Km race record for my age group. I felt good and was running strong. Then, starting the third loop, I was joined by Susan Smyth, who was running the 30 K. I started to feel a little tired and ran a slower third loop. My fourth loop was a little slower and I was more tired, starting loop five. Chris joined me again at that point.

As I was tiring, I began to think about shorter-term goals and re framing. For instance, I thought about the distance to be completed and said I “ only” have about 10 more miles; I “only” have about five more miles to go. The keyword here is “ only “ as I wanted to minimize, in my mind, that distance. Running with a friend (affiliative), also helped as we had a chance to talk about many different things. I also paid attention to my body(mindfulness) to determine  discomfort as well as to my breathing and running form.

Having a goal, employing mindfulness, re framing and meeting affiliative needs is very important and assisted me in running this 31 mile event faster this year than I did last. These concepts are significant parts of my definition of mental toughness that I incorporate when needed. My second book will apply my mental toughness  concept to those 1969 University of Michigan football players that beat the Ohio State Buckeyes on that memorable November.

This Jed Smith race was sponsored by  the Buffalo Chips running club. Chris introduced me to some of his  compatriots  that I invited to be guests on “It Has Nothing to Do with Age or Gender”  TV show. Look for these runners down the road.

Tony called from Washington State after he completed his very difficult 50 Km trail run. He said he ran the first 21 miles well and then tired, climbing the mountain. He finished and predicted his time accurately. I’m sure I’ll hear more of his story this week. Well done Tony. I told him that Chris and I went to Baskin-Robbins for our reward  and he told me that he was going for ice cream too.


From Tony: I decided to do something more adventures and went to Orcas Island to do a 50 K. Had to be the toughest 50 K I have ever done. All I can say is I finished and had a great time. Rain Shadow Running puts on a great party and great run to go with it.
For inspiration here is a report from one of the other runners Edward Lychik I think you will find his story quite remarkable.
http://edwardlychik.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/orcas-island-50k-grizzley-bears-great-people/



On Sunday. Linda and I hosted another Super Bowl party and watched the Seattle Seahawks blowout.


 Remember to keep moving, smiling, laughing, deep breathing and appreciating while you can.