Subscribe to It Has Nothing to Do with Age by Email Follow Tusk95664 on Twitter It Has Nothing to Do with Age
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.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Tragedy in Paris

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Relevance of the 10 Commandments Part 2

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

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

In spite of religion, or spiritual teachings, it’s no wonder that the development of conscience has suffered. Religion may say, “Thou shall not kill” and yet the government says our biggest budget expense is the military-industrial complex. Lying and giving mixed messages seems to be more universal as well. And it does not seem to matter, even if on TV. In fact, there’s even “fact checks” after the so-called presidential debates. These presidential individuals model inconsistencies in their version of telling the truth. And these are potentially our leaders. If they can distort the truth, without any consequences, that’s a pretty clear negative anti- 10 Commandment message.
It’s no wonder that our conscience has been weakened and that’s likely a big reason and explains in part man’s destructive behavior toward fellow man. Man’s instinctual nature and need structure hasn’t undergone major changes; man’s intelligence and understanding has leaped ahead, but his interpersonal and humane treatment has suffered. We see and hear far too much death and destruction that it seems commonplace. Yes, we are becoming numbing to that reality. Perhaps, the pursuit of happiness is an illusion and not attainable for the masses.

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

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Relevance of the 10 Commandments

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

We have developed powerful machines from steam, internal combustion engine, electric cars, solar heating and cooling to nuclear energy within the last 250 years. We are now better equipped to combat with the terrifying forces of nature than ever before. Although, it’s true, that global climate change issue stands before us. And thanks to Silicon Valley and other pioneers, we now have superfast computers and a whole host of wonderful handheld gadgets that simplifies lifestyles.
Are we now happier since the forming of our US Constitution? Thomas Jefferson referenced the pursuit of happiness, in that terrific document. Intellectually, there have been leaps and bounds of what man in the year 2015 knows, compared to primitive man   6000 years ago. Let’s go back around 6000 years and we find early man, much more fearful and helpless in dealing and coping with the natural world. Death and disease was prevalent and  the average lifespan was about, give or take 50 years less than it is today in our country.

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

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

To  be continued

Friday, November 6, 2015

Insight into Bo's Warriors

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

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

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

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

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

Go Blue!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Wolverines on the Rebound Part 2

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

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

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

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

Go Blue!

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Wolverines on the Rebound

My book launch was scheduled to coincide with the University of Michigan and Minnesota Gophers battle for the Little Brown Jug. The players and I were hoping for lightning to strike twice. Lightning first struck in 1969, during Bo Schembechler’s inaugural season. The Wolverines record going into the Minnesota game was 3-2 with losses against nationally ranked Missouri and Michigan State University. Bo’s team was not yet functioning as a team. In fact, the Michigan team was behind at the half during that battle. Coach Schembechler simply told his warriors in essence you are the better team and don’t waste this opportunity. His Wolverines didn’t allow the Gophers another point, in dominating the second half.

Schembechler’s Wolverines went on a roll and for the next three games simply tore the opposition apart. In fact, that young team couldn’t wait to play the nationally ranked Buckeyes in Ann Arbor for its final season game. If Michigan won that game, they would play in the Rose Bowl. History was made in that Saturday game, in Ann Arbor. Bo’s legacy began and he is now, the legend.
Can lightning strike twice? With new rock star head coach Jim Harbaugh, the Wolverines this Saturday, play, the Golden Gophers in Minneapolis. Going into this game, Harbaugh’s team has a 5-2 record with losses to nationally ranked Utah and to nationally ranked Michigan State University. Will the Wolverines whip the Golden Gophers and again go on to defeat number 1 ranked Ohio State University in its last regular season game? The Wolverines will likely not play in the Rose Bowl because of the new playoff bowl system.

Last year was a disaster. The former players and I talked about the possibility of Michigan beating the Gophers and turn their disastrous season around. In that game ,to make things worse, newly installed quarterback Shane Morris received a concussion and was not taken out of the game immediately. We were in the stands and from our vantage point, the play happened before our eyes. Coach Brady Hoke was criticized and, there began a snowball effect to fire coach Hoke. Athletic director Dave Brandon did subsequently fire coach Hoke and then resigned himself.

 To be continued

Monday, October 26, 2015

Thoughts about Aggression Part 3

What we learn from our family within society affects the development of a conscience. According to Freud, our conscience is designed to inhibit or weaken man’s aggressive impulses. Briefly, he viewed a state of tension between the ego and the superego. And the tension within the superego is experienced as guilt and a need for some form of punishment. He viewed guilt as a loss of love, or a threatened fear of loss of love resulting from bad- sinful behavior or even the intention to perform the deed. This loss of love is likely from another person- parent upon whom the individual was protected from a variety of dangers. The punishment –loss of love or some restriction etc. could be from an important person, such as parent or even from a family member, friend or society.

Let’s say that an individual child grows up in an environment in which the parents and other family members are involved in maiming or killing an infidel, which is the perceived enemy. And further, these family members are not in any way punished by anyone within their milieu. Not only that, their religious beliefs or Supreme Being- Bible interpretation does not in any way consider killing the enemy a bad, wrong or a  sin. In fact, they are told that their God loves them for this despicable, hateful antihuman behavior. In other words, these individuals are reared without a fear of either an internal or external loss of love from- family, or God. Within this model, these individuals have a distorted view of right and wrong. As a result, a necrophilia’s aggressive or destructive impulses are not in any appropriate way able to be controlled.

Without a built-in internal mental framework or lack of conscience, these terrorists are out of control and continue these anti-life behaviors. Not only that, they model or teach this form of behavior to the young. Over and over again, we view young masked individuals discharging rifles in the air, or throwing rocks, bottles or bombs at the uniformed opposition. Behavior gets repeated without punishment or loss of love, but instead these behaviors are reinforced and admired by their peer group and elders. It’s difficult to expect change in behavior, in the young, if their wishes are taken over or internalized by the significant persons in their lives that have destructive and hateful personal standards of their own. It would be like being reared by an Osama bin Laden and thereby internalizing, and learning his values with his so called conscience. The saying that an apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree fits.

I am glad that my bleeding eventually stopped and I accept my injury as a consequence of trail running. My impulses and conscience are in check and I have no plan to physically hurt another. However, I did run on the trail with Tony and Chris. As it turned out, Chris and I ran a shorter distance than Tony. Despite that, Tony wanted to beat us, regardless which means that he was going to push, punish or even inflict pain upon himself. Chris and I met a friend about a quarter mile or so from the finish, and we were walking leisurely. Tony saw us ahead of him, and did his best to catch up, regardless of the personal cost. Out of breath, Tony caught up to us. After joking, laughing after our run, we sat on the deck drinking refreshments. Tony got up and begin walking and limping like a very old man. We all laughed. Tony knows about masochism as well as sadism. He had to catch us, irrespective of the consequences. He did.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Thoughts about Aggression Part 2

We understand that adaptive aggression serves us well and is necessary for life. However, if we view malignant aggression as a character flaw, and that man can be driven by impulses to kill, torture and feels just doing so, then we have a major problem. This malignant aspect sets man apart from animal as the human animal is the only one that both kills and destroys his own species. Individuals whose character structure have developed the potential for killing and destroying life under pretense of God’s will, or some other distortion are to be feared. These individuals are not worthy of being loved as they can be characterized as loving death, destruction and are driven to exploit and to control others. Not only are they deviants who hate life as opposed to loving life, they have a necrophilia orientation and worship violence and destruction. The use force  ,  torture, to humiliate and kill their possessions as their victims are not seen as individual people .These necrophilia’s  are not capable of loving others with  mutual respect,  equal sharing in a non-possessiveness, non-dominating atmosphere. This means that the hope for rehabilitation for these individuals is extremely limited and that improving their socioeconomic, educational conditions is not the answer.

Another characteristic of individuals that have developed an anti-life philosophy and behavior relates to their engaging in some terrorist bombing, killing- kidnapping episode. What is often the case, is that a homicide mission becomes a suicide mission as well. This is perfect example of sadomasochism behavior. The end result is in their humiliation, capture, death, or prison. They have no future here on earth.

To Be Continued

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Thoughts about Aggression Part 1

Konrad Lorenz hypothesized that aggression is built on a hydraulic model.  It’s not a reaction to outside stimuli, but built-in inner excitation that seeks release and will find expression, regardless of how adequate the outer stimulus is. In other words, it’s the spontaneity of the instinct that makes it so dangerous. In essence, it’s the idea that aggression also has a preservative function related to the idea of the survival of the species. Others, such as Erich Fromm and Henry Murray have a different view as to the origin of aggression or destructiveness. For them, aggression can be the effect or end result of behavior, influenced by child rearing, and other social, political, economic, and environmental factors and can be found in the personality or character development of the individual.

Aggressive and destructive behavior at times seems to dominate the news cycle. It can be related to the behavior of football players, either on or off the field of play. Ray Rice was in the news for knocking out his fiancée in an elevator while Adrian Peterson was reprimanded for spanking his child with a switch. More recently, Michigan’s Blake O’Neill received death threats for his inability to scoop up the football on the last play of the Michigan-Michigan State game. Thinking back, reminded me of Jack Tatum’s violent hit that paralyzed the Patriots wide receiver Daryl Stingley. Incidentally, the Raiders Tatum was called the “Assassin.” Don’t forget the numerous significant injuries resulting in practice or games along with the severity of concussions.

Not to be forgotten is our war against the Middle East terrorists. Our government has a Department of Defense and what’s called the best military in the world. We know how best to kill with all the multitude of weapons at our disposal. To defend and kill against someone shooting at you makes perfect sense. Aggression is also needed when there are threats to political, economic or family protection. Less-than-perfect sense for defensive aggression exists when our country tells us that it’s in our countries best interest or national security to send troops. Maybe they know more than they are telling or maybe the person in charge doesn’t have accurate information?

To Be Continued   

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Tell Me It Didn't Happen

After viewing the game, I thought about the number of parallels between the 1969 Michigan Wolverines with new coach Bo Schembechler and currently the 2015, Michigan Wolverines with new coach Jim Harbaugh. Bo Schembechler inherited a team recruited by Bump Elliott, while Jim Harbaugh inherited team recruited by Brady Hoke. Schembechler inherited a team that had an 8-2 record the year before. While Harbaugh’s inherited team had a 5-7 record with a pretty good defense. Schembechler’s 1969 team lost to a ranked Missouri team and lost to the Michigan State Spartans, but finished the season with a terrific upset victory over number one ranked Ohio State. Schembechler’s team finished with an 8-2 record. So far, Harbaugh’s team has lost to a ranked Utah team and to Michigan State University. The Wolverines have the opportunity to upset number one ranked Ohio State on November 28 in Ann Arbor.   
Back to the present, I wondered what Bo Schembechler might’ve done with his 1969 Wolverines in a similar situation. So I contacted Thom Darden, Schembechler’s first Wolman, All-American and All-Pro; Fritz Seyferth a fullback who scored four touchdowns against the University of Minnesota, played professional football and was an assistant athletic director for Bo; Mike Keller a three-year starter at defensive end, played for the world champion Dallas Cowboys and became the youngest NFL scout; and Jim Betts, played quarterback, and defensive back, drafted by the New York Jets and currently president of Michigan  Football Athletic Network [MFAN] a group of all former Michigan football players for their opinion of what their coach would’ve done. Their full-length profiles can be found in Bo’s Warriors-Bo Schembechler and the Transformation of Michigan Football.

It is true that some can argue it’s all after the fact. It’s also true that these players had outstanding careers along with tremendous admiration and deference for Coach Bo Schembechler. It’s also true that these players personally know, fellow Wolverine head coach Jim Harbaugh. The following were their responses: 1. I would like to believe that Bo would have kept his offense in and have the quarterback run out of the end zone for a safety. Give them the two points, free punt to them and hopefully the game would be over. There is always a risk to snap the ball to a person so far back. In a situation like that with anxiety at a height just take the ball from under center and run out of the end zone! 2. First of all it never would have happened with Bo. He probably would never have kicked. He would put our quickest ball carrier or WR to take the snap and run the clock out. The Spartans never would have gotten their hands on the ball.
There was only 10 seconds left and MSU had no time outs left.3. Bo would have run on 4th down…and made it!  4. Men, you played hard and we came up short, but this is one game and this one play cannot and will not define you or this team. Go home and let's get ready for next opponent. We win as team, we lose as a team.

There you have it, input from these four men who were responsible in large part for Bo Schembechler’s beginning success. These players set the tone and started the avalanche like a snowball, running down becoming larger and larger gaining momentum along the way. It is also true, that these men loved and respected their former coach. They told me they would’ve run through walls for this man, and they did without question.

Go Blue!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Bo Schembechler, Jim Harbaugh Smiling, Part 2

Coach Harbaugh also learned from Bo that players have to be able to accept injury, blame, and even criticism; and especially admit to error on the practice or playing field. Jim has no difficulty communicating mistakes to his young players. Jim even admitted his mistake during one early-season game regarding a penalty flag thrown against his team. He forgot that the NFL rules are different than the collegiate rules and admitted so on his Monday evening radio show in Ann Arbor.  Jim can be seen on the sidelines coaching and demonstrating to his players as they come off the field-especially quarterback Jake Rudock. Currently, coach Harbaugh hopes that defensive end- linebacker  Mario Ojemudia   after suffering an Achilles injury will be able to return as a fifth year starter.

With Bo, players became solidified and close. Former All-American Mike Keller called it “a band of brothers” acknowledging it was like in some ways, like being in a foxhole with your buddies. You look out for yourself, do your assignment, and be willing to sacrifice your own personal glory for the sake of your team. Players don’t have to subvert all of their personality. However, they know that if the team is successful, the individual players are also going to be successful. Since football as a team game, it is imperative that you rely on that teammate next to you. Pay attention to your assignment, be part of the team.   Do your defensive responsibility first. Once you do your responsibility, then go to the ball like your hair is on fire. It’s always about the team, the team and the team. Respect the team, learn the playbook and don’t get into trouble on or off the field.

In 1969, after three and two record and behind at halftime, Bo’s players began playing as a team, and then became unstoppable. Jim’s team has a five and one record with three consecutive shutouts. As with Bo’s teams, the defense dominates, but Jim’s players are beginning to function in unison.  Michigan, this Saturday, the 17th battles archrival Michigan State University -Spartans. The winner in this game will more than likely challenge Ohio State for the Big Ten title. Jim have your team kick Sparty in the ass so we can see, Bo’s smile from here.

Go Blue!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Bo Schembechler, Jim Harbaugh and Smiling Part 1

Being in agony, was more than likely the result of Michigan football being in a state of disarray and decline. Sure, the University of Michigan was a national champion in 1997 with Brian Griese at quarterback, and All-American, and Heisman winner Charles Woodson intercepting passes, catching passes, running back kicks for touchdowns etc. etc. etc. Yes, Michigan won the Rose Bowl beating the University of Washington and yes, Charles Woodson intercepted a Ryan Leaf pass in Michigan’s end zone. All seemed great as recruits were still flocking to play in the Big House. Michigan had a load of talent and yet they came up short against archrival Ohio State University. How did that happen? It certainly didn’t happen, when Bo was coaching. In fact, Bo died the night before, Michigan was to play the Buckeyes in Ann Arbor. The press referred to this game as “The Game of the Century” as these two teams were ranked number one and number two in the polls. Unfortunately, Bo’s death in 2006 did not propel or motivate the mighty Wolverines enough on that day. With Bo’s death, the Michigan Wolverines began a state of atrophy as things never got better for the Wolverines as they simply got worse. Bo’s death was demarcation point.

Head coach Lloyd Carr retired and Michigan experimented by hiring a spread offensive genius named Rich Rodriguez. Rich Rod worked miracles at other universities with this relatively new twist with an athletic running and passing quarterback. This was quite a departure from the 3 yards and a cloud of dust and the Pro style fundamental philosophy of Bo. Generally speaking, Bo’s quarterbacks primarily passed the ball and his fullback blocked and ran with the ball as well. For Bo, it was control the ball, control time on the clock and have a superb defense.

Rich Rod didn’t last too long before he was replaced by Coach Brady Hoke. Although Coach Brady Hoke returned somewhat to old-school Michigan football, he was not successful either. Bo was terribly unhappy with the state of Michigan football. For Bo, there were two main rivals-Michigan State University, and Ohio State University. Success was defined as whipping both on the field of play. The Wolverines record was pitiful against both of these archrivals. Bo was in mourning, looking down from the pearly gates as Michigan football declined significantly for far too long.

Then, when all seemed lost during the disastrous 2014 season. Coach Brady Hoke was fired, and athletic director Dave Brandon resigned. Interim athletic director, Jim Hackett somehow managed to snag 49er head coach Jim Harbaugh after he parted ways with the San Francisco 49ers. The timing was perfect. Harbaugh did not have a job, even though he had a multitude of opportunities and Jim Hackett was looking for a new coach. Bo’s eyes started to open as a smile came to his face, looking down at all that was taking place here on earth. There were rumors about Jim Harbaugh and all the money Michigan was going to pay him, making him one of the highest-paid coaches at the collegiate level. Bo Schembechler knew from the start about his protégé, Jim Harbaugh.

To be continued

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Magic of Jim Harbaugh Part 2

Coach Jim Harbaugh is a stickler for fundamentals. Fundamentals mean learning how to correctly block, tackle, run and pass the football. There many illustrations of Harbaugh demonstrating proper techniques to his players especially the quarterback. Make no mistake about it, current quarterback Rudock is learning to be fundamentally sound at that quarterback position. Proper blocking and tackling is the foundation for good football and something Harbaughs learned early on from Bo Schembechler’s football staff. With Schembechler, he learned the importance of practicing and practicing or in other words, running the play correctly. He also learned from Bo, that one plays how one has practiced during the week. That means practices are competitive with hard hitting, utilizing fundamentals. The importance of competitiveness cannot be overstated and is one of the hallmarks of a well-coached Michigan football team. Harbaugh like Schembechler even has his players running that weekly competitive mile under the coach’s watchful eye.

Coach Harbaugh learned from Bo Schembechler about the importance of being part of the team. In essence, football is the ultimate team sport. One player does not win or lose the game. With Schembechler, it was about the team, and only the team. In changing the culture, coach Harbaugh’s quarterback was a transfer from the University of Iowa. Rudock beat out Shane Morris last year’s backup quarterback. Even with early struggles, Harbaugh said that Rudock was hands-down the best quarterback, and now we know that Shane Morris is being redshirted. Harbaugh is making sure that individual egos are not getting in the way of playing for his team. No one is bigger than the team as that would interfere with developing team cohesiveness. Harbaugh is creating a band of brothers, so that each player is taking care of his own position, his assignment and being part of the team. Each player has to respect the team and respect the coaching staff’s decision for certain alignments. Jabrill Peppers, for one, is learning about the dangers of freelancing versus playing his position.

We know the physical part of the game is very important. But perhaps more important, is the mental aspect or the mental toughness component. In part, mental toughness is also about expectations. Coach Harbaugh brings positive energy based on his dynamic personality. Harbaugh has succeeded at every level, and I mean every level. He knows success and he knows about hard work. Success is important because it leads to more success. And there’s a relationship between success and ego- goal achievement or attainment. We all have expectations and expectations can only appropriately rise based on previous successes. Winning at your position means beating or dominating your opponent. Developing that confidence builds more confidence with higher expectations. Research shows that expectations is a personal and powerful motivator. The Michigan Wolverines have a very different expectation level this year than they did during last year’s football season.

Jim Harbaugh has learned and Incorporated many ideas [teaching fundamentals, creating cohesiveness, and mental toughness with expectations of success] over his lifetime. Having a father for a coach; an older brother as a coach; and having a brother-in-law as a coach, has been great modeling for this 50-year-old man. Also important was learning from one of the best that being legend Bo Schembechler. Being intelligent, Harbaugh knows about learning from others, and about playing the game at the highest level possible. Quarterbacks are known as being smart, and Jim Harbaugh is as smart as they become. Currently he has surrounded himself with terrific coaches and already has changed the “I CAN” thinking mentality of his Wolverines. They are his Wolverines. I know that coach Harbaugh is not totally satisfied. He stresses improvement, improvement and improvement. He is off to a tremendous start.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Magic of Jim Harbaugh

The University of Michigan’s 2014 season record was disastrous 5-7. Coach Brady Hoke was fired by athletic director Dave Brandon, who then resigned. According to former Michigan head coach Gary Moeller, the players practiced hard in preparation for their games. Yet, things didn’t go well on game day Saturday as they lost more games than they had won. Interim athletic director, Jim Hackett began searching for a new football coach. With much speculation former Michigan player Jim Harbaugh was hired at the end of the year, making him the 20th head coach in Michigan’s illustrious history.

Previously, coach Harbaugh arrived in Ann Arbor, Michigan with his parents and siblings in 1973. Jim’s father Jack was hired as a secondary coach by Michigan coach Bo Schembechler, and young Jim at 10 years of age had the opportunity of being surrounded by the legendary coach Bo Schembechler, his staff and his dominating football team.

Coach Harbaugh enrolled at the University of Michigan, played quarterback, was cocaptain along with Andy Moeller, earned All-American honors and was third in the Heisman voting in his senior year in 1986. Harbaugh went on to play some 14 years in the NFL [Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore Ravens, San Diego Chargers, and Carolina Panthers] and then retired. After retiring as a player, Jim Harbaugh was a quarterback coach for the Oakland Raiders in 2002 and in 2003.

Jim Harbaugh became head coach at the University of San Diego and Stanford at the college level. In both places, he turned their programs around, leaving them very sound. He left Stanford to become head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. There he had winning seasons and took his NFL team to the Super Bowl, in which he lost the close game to his brother John’s Baltimore Ravens. After leaving the Niners at the end of the 2014 season, he was in hot demand by the Oakland Raiders, as well as other NFL teams; however, he returned to his alma mater among much fanfare by the press, former players, alumni, and national kudu’s from the nations sports writers and others.

Coach Harbaugh quickly assembled a coaching staff that included: DJ Durkin; Tim Drevno; Kevin Tolbert; Greg Mattison; Greg Jackson; John Baxter; Jed Fisch; Tyrone Wheatley; Jay Harbaugh and Michael Zordich. Some of these individuals are new hires; Greg Mattison was retained; and a number have been with coach Harbaugh previously. This outstanding coaching staff has previous college and NFL playing as well as coaching experience. Coach Harbaugh knew what he was doing as he assembled a high-level of football IQ along with the ability to relate to his current players and potential players to come to his program.

Prior to the 2015 season, many pundits were predicting that Michigan would do well and likely take coach Harbaugh time to turn this program around to its former glory. Remember, it’s the winningest football team in college history. During 2014, the offensive of team played inconsistently, but was kept in some of the losing games because of its defense. The defense was expected to be coach Harbaugh’s strong point and the quarterback position was questionable, to say the least.

At present, Michigan has four victories against one defeat. His defensive team has been dominant. His offensive team led by quarterback Jake Rudock has been solid, although Jake has more turnovers than expected. However, the line play, running backs De’Von Smith, Ty Isaac, Drake Johnson and receivers Amara Darboh,Jehu Chesson, and tight end Jake Butt have at times been exceptional. Wolverines are currently ranked 18 and expect to be tested by undefeated Northwestern this coming Saturday. Although the season has not ended, it is obvious at this point that Harbaugh’s Wolverines have exceeded expectations so far. It is safe to say, there are many reasons for this turnaround

More to 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Are These Good Values? Part 2

 Our country continues to fund the largest military in the world. We spend more for defense on our budget than many countries combined. We have been at war for over 10 years in the Middle East. If you pay attention to the media, you know that we are about to be attacked, blown up or be killed by the dangerous world of terrorists. We build and have more of the biggest weapons of mass destruction than any other country. On the home front, individuals in this country under the guise of the Second Amendment, have more guns and ammunition than any other part of the world. And the great amount of guns purchased are not used for hunting, but for self-protection, hurting or killing somebody else. Yes, we have home grown terrorists too.

Moreover, a young man can join the Marines to be one of the “few and proud” to wear that prestigious uniform. One can also expect to come back from any number of combat missions physically and/or emotionally injured or even in a body bag. Yes, military combat veterans have a high unemployment, and suicide rate too. One could also enter law enforcement and be subjected to social criticism, dangerous confrontations and even death on the job. Yes, law enforcement veterans have a high suicide rate too. One could enter high school sports and expect the coach to yell, belittle, criticize, or even demote, because of play at practice or during game time. Of course, at the college or professional level one becomes injured more often than not, as well as receiving significant head injuries or concussions. And we all know that the NFL means “not for long.” Just think of the number of sporting venues available like Cross Fit, judo, or other martial arts forums, soccer, rugby, etc. where an individual can easily experience one way or the other physical and/or emotional injury.

Just watch any TV reality show and view, in front of all, “being fired,” eliminated from the show by “a judge,” or by not receiving enough of the secret votes made by the public. These popular shows, for the most part, do not express vicious verbal attacks to their victims. But make no mistake about it, there’s criticism and belittling. The messages is that you’re not good enough. It seems that we have more and more reality shows where individuals surrender, resigned to take the punishment, and accepting the shows negative in full view consequences. Underneath the demure of many, one can find psychological pain and feelings of hurt. And the sadistic viewing public cannot seem to get enough viewing or watching individuals being rejected in some cases humiliated or being kicked off or eliminated from these programs. Plus, there are no shortage of individuals wanting to take part in this public display of self-abasement.

There many other examples or illustrations of individuals experiencing pain in unhealthy situations. There are numerous companies that employ sadistic supervisors along with stressful working conditions. A recent article illustrated problems of Amazon employees with their difficulty in adapting to this competitive cutthroat work environment. These employees experienced physical as well as emotional illnesses that they attributed to the work situation. Amazon is only one such example of this phenomena as there are many more.

Many family situations are illustrative of emotional and physical pain. It might be physical or sexual abuse and/or juvenile delinquency behaviors being expressed by those unfortunate. It might be drugs or alcohol as part of the family and/or environmental culture. Certainly, the divorce rate is high in our country as many such individuals, partner up for the wrong reasons. Mental cruelty has been used in many a divorce case. Just ask a divorce attorney about reasons for divorce and you find mental cruelty being used indiscriminately.

We can expect to be abused, criticized, blamed, punished, put down and subject to misfortune at home, at work, and even at play by someone. Even President Obama got criticized and, in fact, was called a liar by one uncouth and disrespectful so-called lawmaker during a presidential talk to Congress during his first term. He also gets death threats and other unpleasant, derogatory messages. The unregulated social media is abound with hostile, angry, insecure individuals spreading their hate and vile messages. There have been some victims that have even committed suicide as related to vicious social media bullying. It is perfectly clear that the Golden Rule was intended to mean treat others in a positive way as you would expect them to treat you and not treat others negatively because they’re treating you negatively. Treating people civilly is a great idea, but certainly lacking. We have an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth mentality.

 This is my view of our contemporary society.  And the word value is very appropriate for our discussion. In fact, The American College Dictionary defines value as: the things of social life toward which the people of the group have an affective regard; and values may be positive or negative.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Are These Good Values?-Part 1

Let’s take a look at the recent Supreme Court Citizens United ruling-corporations are people allowing great sums of money into the political campaign process. We have super PACs and billionaire donors, contributing to those that seek political office. However, TV reality show celebrity Donald Trump touts about his billions and brags that he does not need to be beholden to any other billionaires out there. Once again, money is king, especially in politics.  Unfortunately, money has a tremendous influence on those that get elected and stay elected.

Even political comedian Bill Maher talked about donating $1 million in a recent political camp.  Good luck, as far as taking money or special interests out of politics. We know that many of our politicians, after being kicked out of office, become special lobbyists for our food, drug, healthcare, manufacturing, etc. industries. Lobbyists get the ear of our politicians by the money they can contribute to their campaigns. So, money is a reality in our capitalistic economic culture. As the saying goes, “follow the money.”

The level or height of the Dow; the size of one’s portfolio; the ZIP code of your house or homes; your private jet; are just some of the things that our social media espouses. In fact, the Internet had an article about a $341,000 shack that one could purchase in San Francisco. The Silicon Valley tech industry hotshots have flocked to San Francisco, making home purchases unavailable to many. Other cities like New York and Los Angeles have inflated home values. One can look in the New York Times and find a townhouse and other real estate dwellings advertised with multimillion dollar purchase figures. It seems the pursuit of money or wealth is paramount for many, even though it does not buy happiness. Instead, it buys power and influence. Many rationalize by saying something to the effect that more money is better and It is better to be rich than poor. Wealth is valued while being poor is not.

As far as the search for female beauty, just take a look at many of the popular TV series with hot looking women actresses. In fact, one called Royal Pain, featured numerous terrific looking pretty women with outstanding figures. It’s not necessarily about the storyline or the acting, but about the many beautiful women on the show. Not to be left out, there are more good-looking women on news and sports broadcasts compared to 25 years ago. Female Hollywood stars are also beautiful with slim figures. Just watch a diet commercial, such as Nutrisystem and see the women in their before and after bikinis. Not to be outdone, the Sports Illustrated swimsuit magazine is already featuring a list of women likely be found in their 2016 edition. The swim suit edition is their most popular selling magazine each and every year. Further, Playboy magazine has been marketing pictures of beautiful women since inception of the magazine In the 1960s. Hugh Hefner has capitalized on this value for a long time. And, there is a plethora of facial, exercise, clothing, and etc. products to make women more beautiful. And feminine women for the most part, take effort and put in the time at improving their beauty or good looks.

More to follow

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

In Ann Arbor with Jim Harbaugh

I had a few moments to talk to Jim after the show. I confessed to him that I didn’t clap for him while he was coaching the San Francisco 49ers, because my favorite team was the Oakland Raiders. I added that I was happy that he was the quarterback position coach with the Raiders in 2002 -2003. He then said to me “what’s your second favorite team?” I responded that the Detroit Lions were my second favorite team. Afterwards, I thought more about the question. My favorite baseball team is the Oakland A’s followed by the Detroit Tigers. When it comes to college football, my favorite team is the University of Michigan, followed by Michigan State University. I remember during spring training 2015 that coach Harbaugh visited the Athletics manager Bob Melvin in Arizona, and was part of that celebrity coaching staff.

One main theme expressed by coach Harbaugh was about expecting his players and team to improve.  It is believed that improvement in practice results in better team game performance. The cliché is” one plays how one practices. “So it’s always about the individual player improving. This fits nicely with the idea of the ego ideal, which is the unconscious drive to continually improve -psychologically, physically, emotionally, etc. When coach Harbaugh talks about improving, that corresponds nicely within each player’s psyche. Unconsciously, we all want to improve and remove our deficits.  When the head coach expressed the idea of everyday improvement, that is in consonance and congruent as everyone wants to improve and get better.

Self-improvement for a football player means greater on the field achievement. Murray’s “n “or need for Achievement fits well with athletes. Murray defined n Achievement as accomplishing something difficult; to master; to overcome obstacles and attain a high standard; to excel; to rival and surpass others and to increase self-regard, or esteem. Throwing a football with accuracy with a plus or minus 250 pound opposing player running at you, and wanting to throw you forcibly to the ground, I would say is a difficult on the field situation. Some quarterbacks have mastered the ability to stay in the pocket even when surrounded knowingly they’re likely going to receive a tremendous physical blow to their head, body, or both. Certain quarterbacks have the reputation of “happy feet”, meaning they leave the pocket too quickly, and likely throw an incomplete pass or interception. So despite potential achievement for success, the football player has to physically and mentally defeat his opponent in order to be successful on every play. In so doing, Murray’s n Abasement is also in play. This need is about accepting injury, blame, and punishment; to admit wrongdoing or error; to blame one self and to seek and enjoy pain or punishment in the process.

In other words, every football player has both n Achievement and n Abasement in his psychological makeup and these needs are expressed over and over in practice, and during game day. In a recent discussion with running back Fritz Seyferth, he told me about that the hardest football hits [tackled] he received were from teammate Mike Taylor. Fritz scored four touchdowns in one game against the University of Minnesota; was drafted by the New York Giants, and played for the Calgary Stampeders until an injury forced his retirement from professional football. Middle linebacker Mike Taylor was a consensus first-team All-American; and selected as one of the 100 greatest Michigan football players of all-time. Taylor was a first round selection by the New York Jets and started five games for this team as a linebacker. He later signed a multiyear contract with the Detroit Wheels of the World Football League. Head Coach Dan Boisture said, after the signing, that Taylor would be the focal point of our defense. Fritz said he can still feel the hits by Taylor.

Mike Keller, a defensive end-linebacker, an All-American; third pick by the world Champion Dallas Cowboys; and player, scout said that going up against offensive guard Reggie McKenzie in practice was no picnic. Reggie was an All-American; first pick by the Buffalo Bills; was the head of the electric company [it turned on the  Juice] and primarily and instrumental in OJ Simpson’s setting, the NFL rushing record of over 2000 yards in  a single season. Both Fritz and Mike demonstrated the Need for Achievement, and Abasement during their University of Michigan and pro football careers.

Is true that coach Harbaugh’s father Jack coached at the University Michigan. It’s also true that Jim Harbaugh was an All-American quarterback at the University of Michigan playing for Coach Bo Schembechler. According to Fritz and Mike, coach Schembechler at times single-minded mission was to run the same play over and over again. Success was when play was run without error. In fact, Reggie McKenzie repeated to me, one of Bo’s infamous sayings “do it right, the first time, every time, and all the time.” Every member of Bo’s teams got it. And, Jim Harbaugh is instilling that dynamic with his University of Michigan Wolverine football team. It is no surprise that coach Harbaugh focuses on improvement. As with coach Schembechler, coach Harbaugh believes in constant improvement and is never satisfied with the status quo.

More about these individuals, can be found in Bo’s Warriors-Bo Schembechler and the Transformation of Michigan Football.

Go Blue!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Warriors of Bo Schembechler Part 4

And then Schembechler became his coach. Jim said that Schembechler prepared his players to be mentally tough and for Jim, mental toughness was “never giving in.” He stated that mental toughness is an attitude, it’s not quitting. He also learned to form good habits and to develop a winning attitude, regardless of the physical and mental obstacles or punishment. He realized that failure was possible because there was always somebody on the field, who was better than him. He worked on fundamentals over and over again, because he didn’t want to let down his teammates. He remembered that he did drills and more drills and had plenty of physical contact with pads during practices. He thought the practice intensity was high, almost like game intensity as the drills were very physical. Because he weighed more than 250 pounds, he had to run what was called a penalty mile and remembered, that distance running, being very tough on him. Another brutal strengthening drill was pushing a blocking sled with both arms extended, which he practiced over and over again. He didn’t want to miss any blocking assignments, because then he knew he would let his teammates down.

Coach Schembechler and staff treated Jim harshly. For instance, his coach said things like “we wasted a scholarship on you;” and” you’re the worst tackle in the history of intercollegiate football.” Jim told himself that the coaches were doing this so that he would get better. They were verbally and physically pushing him and pushing him and then he said “Bo knew I could take it and I could.” In the end psychologically, it was Jim’s ability, his unconscious rebelliousness, defiance, and likely obstinacy and arrogance “to take it” from Bo. This allowed Jim to be the master of his own fate and destiny, thereby succeeding in front of his peers, and actually gaining the much needed respect.
Schembechler’s Wolverines had a punt blocked in one of their season games. So during the next week of practice, the coach told the players he would give money to any defensive player that blocked the punt. Lo and behold, during one punting drill, the ball was snapped, Jim made his block and ran downfield for the tackle. However, the ball was blocked. Schembechler was furious and ran down the field after Brandstatter thinking he missed his block, which resulted in the blocked kick. Upon reaching his player, coach Schembechler spitting, yelling, ranting, raving was angrily giving it to Jim berating him unmercifully. Jerry Hanlon, line coach to the rescue, ran after Bo and said to him “Jim made his block.” Stopping the beating, the frustrated Bo said something to the effect that” he needed it anyway.” More than once, and numerous times the young athletically talented Brandstatter submitted passively to the mighty and external force of his coach. He accepted criticism, he surrendered, he had to go along with this blame, and punishment. One can argue that he didn’t enjoy the pain, or was it a noble sign of macho, courage, mental and physical toughness? No one physically forced him to go out on that brutal playing field over and over again. Did he seek and enjoy it, certainly? Psychologically, it was expected just his father, brother and teammates endured. He was driven. His father was a Brigadier General; his older brother played on the big stage; he was the youngest; and he attended a parochial school. Yes, Jim knew very well about yielding and self-humiliation. His strong will allowed him, even at the risk of humiliation, to continue and thereby succeeding.

Murray and the Freudians had it right. Human behavior is highly influenced by need structure, or a hypothetical state of tension within the organism. These needs are based on goal directed behavior, with the many psychological and physical barriers in their path. No one ever said that the n Achievement was easy to accomplish. However, we do go after difficulties and, with achievement goal attainment we increased positive feelings about self. Achievement of significant goals feels good for a number of reasons. Further, n Abasement or sadomasochism gets expressed over and over again. Playing football is just one example of this expression of need. One has to remember, that seeking and enjoying pain or punishment is not always at the conscious level. Not only that, there are other reasons or motives that explain the drive to succeed. Perhaps, at times the n Achievement factors in goal driven behavior can be one such factor. The important goal is relentlessly pursued regardless of the impairments or barriers in its way.

For example, my last recent competitive 20 mile trail run was in the Sierra Nevada’s. That meant plenty of elevation gain during my run. Temperature reaching triple digits, added to my physical pain as I was punishing my 75-year-old body. I continued and finished the run and was very happy when it was over. Sure, I came in first place at my age group. Did I punish my body during the run, sure thing? Will I do it again, sure? How can I argue that I didn’t seek the pain? I rationalize that as long as I can, I’ll do it. For me, the “I can” is a very important component of my personality.

Don’t forget to join us at Sesi Motors in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on September 17 from 6 to 8 PM for a book signing of Bo’s Warriors -Bo Schembechler and the Transformation of Michigan Football and to interact with Thom Darden, Jim Brandstatter, Mike Keller, Fritz  Seyferth, Jim Betts, and others in my book. Congratulations to our host and newly elected President of Michigan Football Athletic Network [MFAN] Jim Betts. Wine and hors d’oeuvres are on the menu.

Looking forward to it: Go Blue!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Warriors of Bo Schembechler- Part 3

Jim experienced a lot of pressure to succeed, and was expected to be like all the other Brandstatters. As a young boy, he remembered fondly being around older brother Art when he brought his fellow Spartan teammates to the family home. As a sophomore, Jim, on the Junior varsity, was quickly promoted to his high school varsity team, and lettered. This high achieving athlete received honors and lettered in baseball as an all-city first baseman one year and an all-city catcher the following year. He even lettered in basketball and was a co-captain in the last game of his high school’s postseason basketball tourney.

Although Jim was expected to attend and play football for Michigan State like his father and older brother, he was still recruited by Coach Bump Elliott from the University Michigan and MSU’s arch rival, no less. He caused quite the stir in the community and family when he elected to play football in Ann Arbor. Playing for the University of Michigan, he received all Big Ten honors in his senior year.

While in school, Jim gave up the dream of becoming an architect and instead fell in love with all the radio and TV classes. In fact his first position after graduating from Michigan was for WEYI -TV in the Saginaw, Bay City and Flint area. Initially, he was a one-man show, and worked himself up the ranks. In doing so, Jim mastered the art of TV and radio, and quickly made it to the big time with Channel 4 in Detroit as their sports producer.

One accomplishment led to another as this industrious TV and radio star, created a half-hour talk show called Michigan Replay with Coach Schembechler. Since that initial show, Jim has interviewed all the Michigan head coaches, such as Gary Moeller, Lloyd Carr, Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke that followed, the legend Schembechler. Last year, Mike Keller and I were on the Brady Hoke-Jim Brandstatter radio show. This year, Mike and I will be featured on the Jim Harbaugh-Jim Brandstatter radio show.  Incidentally, Jim also does play-by-play, on the radio with former Michigan teammate Dan Dierdorf. Oh by the way, Jim is also the voice of the Detroit Lions. Masterful Jim has been elected President of the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association twice; Sportscaster of the year in Michigan; has written two best-selling books; and was recently inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame. This man still achieves at the highest levels.

More to follow regarding Jim Brandstatter

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Warriors of Bo Schembechler Part 2

It is very clear at this point that n Achievement in sports, complements n Abasement, especially in the brutal game of football. There is no one that discounts the brutality in this so-called sport. Thursday on ESPN, Hall of Fame, quarterback Steve Young said something to the effect that football is not natural as you have people running full speed at each other colliding with each other. We’re also going to see huge compensatory concussion settlements in the NFL.

Returning to Mike Keller’s story illustrates, insecurity, along with the sadomasochism [Another term related to n Abasement] experienced during his playing days at the University of Michigan and for the Dallas Cowboys of the NFL. Keller played high school football in Grand Rapids. He rated that competition at the fourth tier regarding football in the state of Michigan behind the Detroit, Bay City-Midland, and Lansing area high schools. He knew he was a big fish in a little pond and that he was going to become a little fish in a big pond, in Ann Arbor. He wondered why he was offered a football scholarship, and hoped to make the traveling squad before he graduated. He rationalized that at least he would receive a terrific education even in the event that he didn’t play.

 Physically, he was injured while playing at Michigan. He didn’t dare miss practices or not being able to play in a game, out of fear of the demotion to second string or below. He even warned opposing players. In practice, to take it easy or otherwise, there would be a battle of consequences. He thought that playing on Saturdays was a relief from the physical brutality and punishment during the hard-fought Wolverine practices. In 1969, after the Ohio State game, Mike said he was aware of his game day exhaustion, especially on the last play of that momentous game. On the field for the last play, his legs buckled. He was fearful that he was going to be trampled on by the joyous students as they rushed on the field in celebration. Mike remembered that instead of being trampled, they lifted him and carried him halfway up the tunnel out of harm’s way to welcomed safety.

Playing for the Cowboys, Mike’s insecurity and brittleness surfaced again when he admitted to himself “these guys are good; how can I make first string; is this really what I want to do; how long am I going to be here; I do not like being a backup; it’s not much fun.” In his second season, Mike suffered a shoulder injury that required surgery [The same shoulder he had injured at Michigan]. He was eventually placed on injured reserve and he knew that psychologically that was a kiss of death. He frequently got twinges and pains like a needle or knife entering his body. He said the pain was constant, and frequently returned especially, when playing. He knew that after any major surgery, that no one really comes back from these career ending injuries. Basically, he had a gradual tearing of the tendon in his shoulder. In his most recent x-ray, it was revealed that his tendon was gone. He had a supraspinatus muscle tendon issue. Today, this mountain of a man, is unable to hold a 20 pound dumbbell outstretched with his right arm.

Mike talked about mental toughness as a player. A football bruiser had to differentiate, between pain and injury. It was important for the player to know his body. It’s also important to rely on information given by the team trainers. He said it’s possible to play with pain, especially when your body was taped along with cortisone and other painkiller injections prior to the game. Professional football players undergo many extraordinary treatments, partly because of the belief that they are needed to be on the field at all times. It’s considered important to be on the field regardless of how you’re feeling. And of course is difficult to think clearly when adrenaline is cursing through your veins. Mike’s playing days ended with the Cowboys as a result of his football injury. We talked about mental toughness and the fact that players are expected to play with pain. Most of the players have a high pain tolerance because daily pain is a major component or part of the game. He said it’s hard to think of professional football as just a game-it is a job. One can have pain and still have torn ligaments. However, a player can still play and should play. He added that despite the pain killers, this game is always about current performance, not what the player did yesterday.

A football brawler accepts injury, blame, criticism, and punishment. It’s not a secret that injuries are part of the game. Nor, is it a secret that NFL means not for long as three and half years is the average playing time. Players are criticized by the media and the press. The punishment is being fired, or cut from the team and that happens frequently. Of course there are exceptions.

The n Achievement and n Abasement of Jim Brandstatter to follow.

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Warriors of Bo Schembechler

The first of Murrays “need” which we will refer to is “n Achievement.” Murray’s brief definition follows: To accomplish something difficult. To master, manipulate, organize physical objects, human beings, or ideas. To do this as rapidly and as independently as possible. To overcome obstacles and attain a high standard. To excel oneself. To rival and surpass others. To increase self-regard by the successful exercise of talent.

 Mike Keller provides us with an illustration. Mike was originally recruited by Bump Elliott and was one of Schembechler’s talented sophomores in 1969. Keller, highly competitive begin achieving prior to school age. At the age of four, he was racing his highly competitive achieving mother in foot races. He excelled in football at an early age, and played during halftime with his Peewee football team at Tiger Stadium in front of a Detroit Lions crowd. By the time he reached junior high, Mike was about 6 feet tall and weighed about 160 pounds as an eighth grader. His football coach at the time allowed him only to practice [He was disallowed from playing competitive football because of the size] during football season. He claimed he made most of the tackles, but made sure he did not attempt to hurt anybody.

Mike played and excelled in a number of team sports at Catholic Central High School in Grand Rapids. By graduation time, he had may be 30 or so universities recruiting him to play big-time college football. He chose the University of Michigan. This exceptionally talented athlete was fast and competitive. As a freshman, he made sure to give his best effort all the time. And as a sophomore, he attained first string status. His achievement did not diminish during those three years under coach Schembechler. Bo, as the coach installed a rating system [Might’ve been intercepting a pass] for each game. Mike received Victors Club Honors for his high grades in 38 out of 40 games played. On top of that, Mike was permitted to wear a special Jersey during that week of practice, illustrating his game played achievement. At the end of the season, the player who had the most Victor Club jerseys received a trophy at the end of the season. Mike Keller earned 3, one for each year played.

Because of his terrific achievements, accomplishments, high standards, excelling, high self-regard and exercising talent, Mike Keller, All-American, was selected to play in the college All-Star game against the world champion Dallas Cowboys. He was selected by the Dallas Cowboys as the 64th player taken in the NFL draft. Mike Keller illustrated Henry A. Murray’s existence of a need for achievement. It was the result of his particular mode of behavior, his satisfaction, his emotions while playing sports, and especially excelling in the so-called game of football.

The n Abasement, another of Dr.  Murray’s needs to follow regarding Mike Keller.