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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, October 30, 2014

Managing Anxiety

 Using  Anxiety to  Bring out Your Best
 We all know, anxiety is present in dealing with today’s world. Sometimes, individuals experience so much anxiety that it affects their behavior very negatively. Take for example the word “choke.” When an athlete chokes, in competition, that actually means that the person performed badly. Chances are that the individual experienced too much anxiety. On the other hand, it’s commonly observed that low anxiety is often associated with being lazy or nonproductive. In fact, the individual may procrastinate without the right level or amount of anxiety.

So, a key to productive behavior is being able to control or manage the proper amount of anxiety (the anterior cingulate cortex is believed to be the center of anxiety) at any given time. Unfortunately, a diagnosis called anxiety disorder affects about 40 million American adults or 18% of the population in a given year. And perhaps, about a third of these individuals seek treatment. This means that anxiety (too much) gets the best of a great number of individuals. For some, anxiety can generate a stream of self-criticism, as well as being unable to sleep, or relax without alcohol or medication. Drinking glass a wine is not the key to relax.

Finding the right amount of anxiety for peak performance is a major challenge. For example too much anxiety can be equated with test anxiety, and can result in poor exam test results. There are some that use stimulants like caffeine and cigarettes to increase performance as the stimulants constrict blood vessels and raise heartbeat.

One proven way to deal with anxiety is to turn it into action, like the Nike slogan-“Just Do It.” So anxiety can be channeled into productive anxiety behaviorally. Another key is to incorporate relaxation techniques such as meditation or deep breathing to reduce the anxiety prior to performance. Just watch Madison Bumgardner as he goes into the stretch (exhales) and then throw one of his infamous pitches. So you see that superstar deal with his anxiety by relaxing just before he throws a 93 mile per hour fastball. Prior to pitching, while he’s in the dugout, he may be visualizing or rehearsing how he’s going to pitch to the next three batters that he will face. In other words, he’s managing his anxiety through the use of relaxation techniques.

So if you’re having trouble starting to exercise, you might think of all the negative consequences (to your body) and hopefully that will raise your level of anxiety and then you will  go out and do what you’re avoiding. If worse comes to worse, you could always drink a cup of coffee and see if that works for you.

Since, I run because that’s who I am, it’s easy for me. I am one when I am running on the trail.

Remember that by keeping moving, laughing, smiling, loving, bonding and appreciating you are warding off potential misery.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Why Do Good/Bad Things Happen?

Do Things Happen for a Reason?
In 2009, while riding on the trail I suffered a broken neck when I was thrown from my horse Gypsy. Some people would look for some reason to explain that incident. Perhaps, some people thought there was some explanation that could explain that terrible accident. Did it happen because it was God’s plan for me? Did it happen because I was bad and was being punished by God? Was it based on chaos theory? Was Richard Dawkins( October 19,The New York Times) correct when he stated, “precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference. “ What about Sigmund Freud who believed there were no accidents and that an accident could be explained psychologically.

Instead of explaining that particular accident, I’m going to tell a story. Prior, to that accident in 2009, I was spending my time and finding meaning in competing in ride and tie, endurance riding and in running events. I was focused in part on personal health and keeping my horses in great condition.
When the accident occurred, I found myself in a neck brace 24/7, and confined to my house. I wasn’t running or keeping my horses conditioned. So I asked myself, how do I   want to spend the next month or two? In a short amount of time I decided to write a book. I thought about writing about people who compete in ultra-extraneous sports. I knew many people that I could interview from ride and tie, endurance and running who fit the profile. So arbitrarily, I decided to focus on individuals that were 65 years of age and older who were still competing.

When I healed, I decided to give up competing with my equines and instead focused on running, being healthy, and writing about health and motivation. After, It Has Nothing to Do with Age was published, another idea emerged- mental toughness.

The idea of mental toughness and football was another good fit for me because of my experience and interest in that particular sport. And when I met Mike Keller, the idea was further refined when I wrote about the 1969 transformation of Michigan football in a book titled, Bo’s Warriors- Bo Schembechler and the Transformation of Michigan Football.

If I had not had that serious neck injury, in 2009, I likely would not have had two books published by 2014. I cannot say that I was happy to experience that particular injury nor was it some sort of divine intervention. But what I can say, is that my life changed. I now focus on physical health, running, writing and a number of other book related activities. Is the quality of my life better now than it was before? I would not say that its better, but what I would say is that it’s challenging, gratifying and different. In order to make things happen, I have to put in the effort.


Oh by the way, yesterday’s half marathon went well and Tony won his age division. In the meantime, keep moving, laughing, smiling, bonding, loving and appreciating.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Running a Half Marathon

Running a Half Marathon
Today, I plan to run a half marathon event In Cool. I simply want to start increasing my running mileage in order to get ready for my 50 K upcoming season. I have been running but not long distances since August.
During August, I chose to run shorter distances in part because of the weather, and in part because Tony was taken care of Debbie. Then, in September I was focusing on my book launch “Bo’s Warriors” and once again didn’t put in long distance runs. While we were in Michigan I simply ran to keep in condition which I did.
Shortly after getting back from Michigan, Linda had a knee replacement and I continued with my brief running distance and time away from Linda. This past week she suggested that I run the half marathon. With her “Okay,” I plan to increase my running mileage.
So today will be my first competitive run since July, when I did the” Eppies Great Race.” I will let you know how it went. Tony, Randall and Madhu will be there today.

Note, the keys from my prescription in “It Has Nothing to Do with Age” include numbers: 1, 2, 3 and 5. These prescriptions for a healthier lifestyle are related to-keep moving, laughing, smiling, loving, bonding and appreciating. And don’t forget it.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

How Depression Affects Accelerated Aging

How Depression Affects Accelerated Aging
For those of you that believe that depression affects only your mind, you are thoroughly mistaken. There are researchers that study this mental disorder and relate it to what is now classified as “accelerated aging.” Accelerated aging means developing or being at risk at a young age of conditions normally associated with older people like heart disease, arteriosclerosis, hypertension, stroke, dementia, osteoporosis, and type II diabetes. And depression is a major culprit.
For example, early research on the brain scans of older people with depression showed faster age-related loss of volume in the brain, compared with people without depression. Factors contributed to depression and accelerated aging appears include behaviors like smoking, diet, and lack of exercise.
Current research on telomere length (the protective coverings at the end of chromosomes-and related to aging) find that the shortened length of telomeres is related to an increased risk of disease and mortality. Further, research has also shown that telomeres length is associated with depression, childhood trauma and other conditions. Not only that, individuals that have more bouts with depression have shorter telomeres, which leads to the eventual stopping of cell division. When that happens, it’s all over.
Simply put, depression makes you sicker because it makes your cells age prematurely. So, I believe that lifestyle can help ward off depression. And if you ward off depression, you will likely not only live longer but better. For me, some of the key variables for better health include exercise. I run even though running is difficult. I must admit I like this form of aerobic exercise. I also incorporate goals. This means I’m looking forward to the future-it could be running with Tony, competing in a running event or even thinking about what trail to run. Exercise also provides meaning for me. It’s not the only thing that provides meaning, but it’s important.
I must admit that running, being healthy, being in good condition contributes to well-being and how I think about myself. So thinking, positive about self is a good mental exercise. All these factors (aerobic exercise, goals, looking to the future, having meaning in my life, eliminating irrational thoughts positive self-esteem) push away depression.
So when I say, keep moving, laughing, smiling, loving, bonding and appreciating, I walk the walk; if you know what I mean.

Article found in the Wall Street Journal April 10, 2012.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fun With the Reunion and Book Launch

Last month in September, Linda accompanied me on my Bo’s Warriors book tour. On 18th of September, we were in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where we met none other than, Thom Darden. Thom was an All-American and an all Pro with the Cleveland Browns. He is both their single season and career interception leader. In the Michigan, Ohio State game of 1971, Thom made an interception that ESPN called “one of the plays that signifies college football. Ohio State’s, Woody Hayes went nuts and received not one but two 15 yard penalties. He wanted to pass interference call and attempted to get referee Bill Quimby fired. Referee Quimby later officiated in the NFL as well. Thank goodness, Linda took a picture of Bill Quimby at that Barnes & Noble book signing. You can find a picture of Darden, making that interception in my book.

On September 22, Linda and I were in Ann Arbor. We met the Michigan alumni at Weber’s Inn in Ann Arbor. Coach Brady Hoke (in the white shirt) was the main speaker. Mike Keller (gray suit), Jim Betts (dark shirt) and I followed Brady Hoke at the podium. There are also pictures of Jim Brandstatter (voice of the Lions and the Wolverines in dark suit), me, Keller (64th draft pick by the Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl champions), and Jim Betts (drafted by the New York Jets), eating and signing books. Linda took six pictures at that event.


Frank,Mike Keller, Coach Brady Hoke & Jim Betts
Mike Keller,Jim Betts, Frank and Jim Brandstatter-M Club
On September 24, Linda and I attended the Jim Brandstatter (M shirt)-Brady Hoke radio show. After Brady Hoke spoke, Mike Keller (dark jacket) and I spoke. Jim Betts (white-striped shirt) accompanied us. There’s also a picture of Kathleen (radio producer), and the Little Brown Jug. All in all, there are five pictures.  
The M Den was the venue for 25th of September. Mike Keller (gray suit), Jim Brandstatter (white shirt), Thom Darden (white shirt), Jim Betts (light blue shirt) accompanied Linda and I for that book signing. Darden, Keller and Brandstatter were in the same sophomore class and were part of that 1969, upset against Ohio State. Jim Betts, was a junior that season. These players have so much fun together and for me it was one of the highlights. They laughed, joked, put each other down and told stories. The Duke (Brandstatter) did his impersonations and started off with a number of Motown hits from the 60s and 70s. That event was so much fun for me. There are five pictures.
Mike Keller,Frank& Jim talking to M Club
Thom Darden,Linda and Jim Betts at M Den in Ann arbor
There is one picture that was taken, in Charlevoix, Michigan, on September 20. I am talking to an employee in the bookstore with my sister Bev listening to our conversation. My sister lives in Connecticut and came in for one of our family, reunions. We have a number of cousins from the Detroit area. That weekend was a blast as well.

We are signing rapidly while Coach Hoke has the floor

Kathleen producer of Brandstatter-Hoke radio show-Little Brown jug
Jim Betts drafted by NY Jets
Betts,Brandstatter & Frank
Keller,64th pick by Dallas Cowboys,Thom Darden All Pro with Cleveland Browns,Brandstatter radio voice of Detroit Lions and the Wolverines
Betts,Keller, Darden ,Brandstatter & Frank at M Den
Brandstatter (Duke) and me
At Brandstatters radio show in Ann Arbor
Frank,Bev and sales person in Charlevoix book store

Jim Brandstatter,Frank, Mike Keller & Jim Betts at U of M Alumni function in Ann Arbor
Bill Quimby in Cedar rapids ,Iowa at B&N signing

Coach Brady Hoke U of M Club
Jim Betts,Mike Keller,Frank & Jim Brandstatter at U of M club luncheon
Mike Keller ,Jim Betts & Frank at Brandstatter-Hoke radio show
Remember to keep laughing, smiling, loving, bonding and appreciating because it’s good for you.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Bo's Warriors

To receive an autographed Bo’s Warriors (Bo Schembechler and the Transformation of Michigan Football) , please email me for Pay Pal information.

Medication Side Effects

Feeling Better
Once Linda stopped taking pain the medication for knee replacement, she began to feel better within the next 24 hours. Her nausea subsided, her hallucinations stopped and are thinking became more rational and coherent. That next day she was feeling more like herself. With the nausea being gone, she was able to do her exercises for her knee. Not only that, she walked more as she was less dizzy as well.;
;
The following day was even better as she was more like herself. She spent more time and at the bedroom, walked and exercise more often. With nausea gone, she was able to eat , and as a result, felt stronger with more energy. In other words, she could do more.

Linda was also fine with me leaving her to go running on the trail. I was also able to do the grocery shopping. It’s good to see her stronger and more like herself. In fact, she encouraged me to enter a half marathon next Saturday with my buddies.

Some of the keys for a better recovery include the following: icing, elevating her knee above her heart, walking, doing her  exercises and importantly, and being on the right medication. So far so good.


Like I’ve said all along, keep moving, laughing, smiling, bonding, loving and appreciating. That makes it all  good.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Being Your Own Advocate

Being Your Own Advocate
 My wife Linda had a knee replacement surgery on the 13th. Apparently the surgery went well. However, she had a problem with the pain medication prescribed. Some of the side effects that she experienced from the meds included: hallucinations, agitation, nausea, and at times, incoherence. There obviously was a mix-up as far as the medication and in the relationship with one of the doctors who assisted the main surgeon.
To say the least, Linda was happy with her main doctor and the hospital staff. She was not at all happy with the assisting doctor. Linda thought he was rude, narcissistic, talked too fast, and did not listen to her.
I’m sure you’ve heard the story, “the operation was successful, but the patient died.” Although Linda didn’t die, that hospital experience leaves a sour taste.
I will keep you posted on her progress. In the meantime, keep moving, laughing, smiling, bonding, loving and appreciating. Further, keep out of the hospital.
 PS

For those of you interested in purchasing a signed copy of my recent book Bo’s Warriors, please email me for details regarding PayPal.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Can We Reduce Disability?

 "All that is necessary to break the spell of inertia and frustration is this: Act as if it were impossible to fail."
– Dorothea Brande
Recently, I read that one researcher believed “as people live longer, we need to understand how to reduce disability, maximize functioning and enhance quality of life. “Another researcher stated “many people know what they need to do and want to do it, but are unable able to make the changes, if they start it can be very difficult to maintain.” These statements are related to the fact that there are rising levels of disability in those aged 55 to 65, and probably in part related to an increase in obesity.

First, let’s be honest, for some getting on disability is really about taking advantage of the system. I’m sure all of us know someone who fits that category-taking undeserved money. We all know that pain is in the eye of the beholder and that many people fake it. We also know that once somebody gets on disability, they can be on it for life. There is currently not a process that views or monitors the physical activity of those on disability, while they go on with their daily lives.

Second, I think we do know how to maximize functioning and enhance quality of life. I don’t think it’s a matter of how, I think it’s a matter of will. In other words, it’s about the personality and how to deal with and change the thinking of these individuals. In the 60s, there was a space race with the federal government leading the charge. It seems to me we require a “health race” that likely requires the federal government to lead the way to teach and assist people, in becoming more healthy and more happy.

Third, it is difficult for people to continue and maintain the necessary changes needed to make their lives better. Once again, it’s about the psychology, personality, and thinking that needs to be addressed. Again, this is part of and could be dealt with in a “health race” led by Uncle Sam. I’m proposing a massive program based on the psychological knowledge that we have today.

So, I think we have the tools to make these changes. However, we have to start with teaching and modeling with the young folks in preschool and those of elementary school age. It’s obvious to me that our priorities (federal government-legislators) with defense, military and homeland security get in the way of change that I’m thinking about.

More to be said later on. In the meantime, keep moving, smiling, laughing, bonding, loving and appreciating. Everyone knows how to move; everyone knows how to smile; everyone knows how to laugh-maybe, bonding, loving and appreciating are more difficult.

Source: Wall Street Journal, April 9, 2012.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Movement While Aging

 "If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading."
– Lao Tzu

It is been said that staying fit and maintaining a healthy weight is important for successful aging. It has also been said that there’s a lot of functional limitations associated with aging, especially with people in their 50s and 60s. One such study found that individuals 50-59, who suffer from conditions like arthritis, had difficulty climbing stairs and walking several blocks. This would suggest that if you’re in this age group and are experiencing pain and having difficulty with physical, functional limitations that there are still options. Perhaps, if you still have an exercise routine you might have to modify or adjust that instead of stopping altogether.

We know that sitting is detrimental to your health regardless of age. For instance, your body becomes stiff and uncomfortable with too much non-movement. Being sedentary also results in muscle fiber connected tissues contracting as the fibers become stiffer and less flexible. When this happens, the body produces less and less of its natural lubricating substances. When tissues ,muscles become dry ,short and flexible they are more likely to tear since the inactivity  lowers the blood supply to the bones and with lower blood supply the bone become brittle more fragile.

Perhaps, more walking and or being in a pool might be a better alternative. A few years ago I was in Kansas City performing a book signing for “It Has Nothing to Do with Age”. Ed Budde, who played for the Kansas City Chiefs for 14 years joined me in the signings. Ed   suffered numerous injuries associated with playing in the NFL. He was, for example, having difficulty with locomotion and I suggested that he find a pool in which to do aerobic exercise.

Just recently I was at Michigan, doing book signings for Bo’s Warriors with the men that I profiled. I must say, that I don’t have any difficulty, suggesting various forms of exercise for these former players either. I hope that I am a good model, and they know that I walk the walk.

I know it’s easy to give advice to others. And, I hate to use scare tactics of what happens to our body without exercise. However, the alternative is scary, dreadful and it also lowers life expectancy from chronic disease, etc. For me, I pride myself in being physically fit as that is my goal. Yesterday, Tony joined me as we hit the trail and it was good.


In ending, keep moving, laughing, smiling, loving, bonding and appreciating. Sources include: the Wall Street Journal April 9, 2012 and the British Medical Journal.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Is a Retirement Home the Best Option?

Last Sunday, Linda and I were in Northville, Michigan, where I was accompanied by Fritz Seyferth. Fritz and I were signing books “Bo’s Warriors” Bo Schembechler and the Transformation of Michigan Football at the local Barnes & Noble. We were joined by our friends Dave and Joyce who live near us in California. Dave’s mother, age 91 lives in Michigan.

Dave was talking to us about his mother who still is sharp as a tack. In the last year or so, she moved from her home to a retirement-care facility in order to prepare for her future. She was anticipating that she would require assistance down that road. However, after a year she realizes that she made a mistake. The idea of anticipating future assistance makes sense on one level. Dave’s mother did not anticipate that by moving into a new environment she lost the familiarity and the autonomy of living in her home. Not only that, she lost valuable human connections.

As you know, I propose, exercise, along with proper eating for good health. Not to be overlooked in any way are our relationships. Dave’s mother at age 91 would agree.

My mother lived by herself and was a couple of months short of age 93 when she passed. I remember talking to her about moving to a “facility” and she refused. I must admit that she was right and I was wrong. When you are cognitively sharp and mobile there is no reason to move into institutionalized living. We see a rise in home health care that can provide semi-nursing assistance. That seems to be a better model for many.


Do not forget to check out your options. In the meantime, keep moving, laughing, smiling, loving, bonding and appreciating.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Ray Rice Hysteria

Wow! What a week for Ray Rice and the NFL. Even though the” incident” occurred months ago. It wasn’t until the video was released (a video is worth 1000 words) that the eruption began. Many are outraged and couldn’t care less about Ray Rice, the person. This doesn’t mean that they don’t want his blood. I’m not condoning domestic violence. However, does it take a video to facilitate a reaction? Where have all these concerned humans been when they first learned about the incident? It seems to me that because Ray Rice is a celebrity, who earns millions of dollars, playing an aggressive sport that perhaps many get on this social media bandwagon of phony outrage. Of course, national media delights in having this type of so called news. They can get anyone to give one opinion and then find another person with an opposing opinion. More entertainment, not serious news reporting.
One university professor Mark Edmundson believes that he has a solution regarding the personality orientation of athletes with their aggression and destructiveness tendencies. The professor believes that the great classics (Greek) should be taught, especially to athletes. The thesis is that the body and mind are related. The professor goes on to talk about Homer and the Greek word Thumos. According to Homer and the professor, Homer has glorified Achilles. Homer talks about Achilles’ thumos the word that’s associated with his bravery, courage and the urge for glory. In fact, Achilles was brutal and has a necrophilia personality orientation that was illustrated when he killed Hector in the battle regarding Helen of Troy. Hector told Achilles that the victor should honor the dead, with a proper burial. Essentially, Achilles disregarded that idea as his values were very different. In essence, Homer glorified Achilles (disgraced the dead Hector) behavior.
On the other hand, Plato in the Republic counters, Homer and suggests that we should not be afraid of fear. Also, knowledge and reason should rule the drive for glory or destructive necrophilia behavior. And the professor believes that Homer and Plato should be taught to today’s athletes. In doing so, the individuals learn to control their impulses and domination to rule both on and off the field. Apparently, Aristotle thought that sports is an opportunity to rid the self of our dangerous emotions by venting them in a game such as sports. Could that be a solution for combating Isis?
I don’t think it would hurt to teach our athletes about Plato and Homer. However, I don’t think the public or the NFL, for that matter would punish Ray Rice by having him read the Greek classics.

Edmundson’s article was found in the New York Times, August 17, 2014.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Yoenis Cespedes

Are the Oakland Athletics dead? Leading up to the All-Star game played in Minnesota, they were leading their division and had the best record in all of baseball. Shortly after that game, and at the start of the second half of the season, they made this blockbuster of a trade. They traded Yoenis Cespedes and a minor league player to the Boston Red Sox for pitcher Jon Lester, an outfielder Johnny Gomes. The hype at the time suggested that that blockbuster trade would just about guarantee the A’s winning the World Series.
Jon Lester was an outstanding pitcher for the Red Sox and won numerous times in post division as well as in the World Series. He was their ace and would be the Oakland A’s ace as well. Unfortunately, Lester was to become a free agent at the end of the year and intended to re-sign with the Red Sox. This meant that the A’s would have him for the remaining 2014 season, which would be approximately 2 months.
Supposedly, Cespedas would become a free agent at the end of the 2015 season at which time the A’s likely would not have signed him as a story goes. However, Cespedes was a home run champ at the All-Star game for two consecutive seasons. Not only that, he provided many big-time game-winning hits and made the spectacular throws from the outfield, which eliminated runners attempting to achieve an additional base. The fans loved him. When asked the question about his ability to hit, he said “I see the ball, I hit the ball.”
More importantly, Cespedes was the glue that provided team cohesiveness for the A’s. They loved him and he loved them as well. The team was unified and he made players better around him. While with the team, the A’s were fun-loving, relaxed and enjoyed playing. And a number of other players like Norris, Doolittle, Moss and Donaldson made their very first All-Star game. And then there was the trade.
Since the blockbuster trade, the Oakland A’s have been a very different team. The A’s have lost their cohesiveness (their tough glue that held them together). The players are discouraged, have become less confident, and are more anxious (pressing), which has affected their play. Their ability to hit and drive in runs have been pathetic (One can argue that with Cespedes missing, the players got worse). Their pitching is still good, but now the starting pitcher can’t afford to make any errors (like giving up too many runs) since they are not likely to win the game at the end. This means that their won and loss record is nowhere near what it was before the trade. They no longer have the best record in baseball; are no longer on top in their division; and they look like they are not even going to make the playoffs. Further, Cespedes has a batting average (.297), since the trade, which is now higher than any of his former A’s teammates.

Billy Beane you blew it. 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Depression and your Brain


You are only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it."
– Robin Williams

A research study conducted by Kaiser Permanente, the National Institutes of Health, and the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation in Northern California took a look at depression and the aging brain. This article was found in the May 8, 2012 edition of the Wall Street Journal. This study was attempting to take a look at depression and determine whether it might cause dementia and Alzheimer’s disease or was it simply an early sign of memory loss and other problems associated with dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia; the second leading cause is impaired blood supply to the brain, resulting in what is known as vascular dementia. According to the investigators, depression, late in life can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s. The researcher added that there is a lot of debate as to whether depression is really a risk factor for dementia or if it just shows up. In this particular study, 13,535, 40 to 55-year-olds long-term Kaiser Permanente members were followed from 1964 to 1973. Their findings in this study suggested that there is evidence that late life depression is likely an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease and further chronic depression appears to raise or increase the risk of developing vascular dementia. They believe that an adequate treatment for depression in middle life could cut the risk of developing dementia.
Of course there are other factors that elevate the dementia risk and they include: 1. People with more belly fat in middle-age had higher rates of dementia when they reached old age 2. People who smoked in middle-age had an increased risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease later on, 3. People with high cholesterol in middle-age had an increased risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in old age.
First, from my experience, depression can be treated effectively with or without psychotropic medication. Cognitive behavioral therapy is one such method that helps an individual examine how one’s thinking might contribute significantly to a depressive mood. It is clear that many individuals get into trouble by some of the irrational notions they hold, as well as a defense mechanisms that they employ. Therapy can counter irrational notions as well as defense mechanisms. A few of the symptoms of depression include: 1. Poor appetite, or significant weight loss or increased appetite or significant weight gain. 2. Insomnia or hypersomnia. 3. Loss of interest in usual activities or decrease in sexual drive. 4. Loss of energy and fatigue. 5. Diminished ability to think or concentrate as well as indecisiveness.
Second, aside from psychotherapy, exercise as well as eating properly, can contribute to combating a depressed mood. For me, I waited or got serious with exercise at age 57. Almost 20 years later, I am pleased with my life. I cannot give all the credit to exercise. However, there are many advantages for exercise. Currently, I continue to run and work out daily (range from 1 ½ to 3 ½ hours). So I practice what I preach, and I walk the walk.

 And, I recommend to keep moving, laughing, smiling, loving, bonding and appreciating for a more fulfilling life. By the way, my new book, “Bo’s Warriors” published by Triumph Books can be pre-ordered at Barnes & Noble. This book profiles Michigan football, with Bo Schembechler as the Wolverines head coach. Check out my other blog “ Bo’s Warriors” regarding Michigan football.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Obesity and Autism

"To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle."
– George Orwell

I recently read an article that linked autism to obesity in mothers in the Wall Street Journal, dated April 9, 2012. Researchers in this one particular study concluded that mothers that were obese are significantly more likely to have a child, either with autism or another developmental abnormality. They also  pointed out that  half the risk of autism, which is a condition characterized by poor social skills and repetitive behaviors, is genetic; while the rest stems from factors that include: older parental age, premature birth-birth complications, fewer than 12 months between children or failure to take prenatal vitamins. Obviously, the link between obesity and development disorders is worrisome because obesity has become so prevalent in the United States. Statistically, about a third of United States women, of reproductive age are considered obese.
Another researcher pointed out that the brain is quintessentially susceptible to everything that happens inside the mother’s body and that no one factor is going to be responsible for one particular case. In other words, there are a number of contributing factors. And of course doctors, right away think of meds like insulin for help or as a solution in potentially combating this disease.
Let’s step back for a moment and think about this information. Do you think that simply communicating this finding to an obese female is going to cause her think about getting pregnant or not getting pregnant, dietary? I don’t believe that information alone is the answer. I believe there a number of other considerations.
For one, obesity is often related to making poor nutritional and eating choices. And these decisions around eating began years ago. We know that every choice or every decision has consequences to some degree. It is very likely that poor choices were made without thinking realistically about all the potential or negative consequences. So, perhaps we have a history of making poor choices and not considering the consequences as one particularly important component. And likely, when an obese female of child bearing years receives this information she will likely have passed the point of no return regarding dietary choices.
This means that we also have to take into account the mothers own parenting history and her psychological development during her important growth years. Simply put, her personality and/or character develops as a result of the mothering that she received. And, during her early years, likely developed a character structure that can be considered an orally receptive personality type. With an orally receptive personality type, it’s going to be very difficult to confront and change her behavior and attitude regarding eating.
In essence, I’m saying that character development, rational decision-making with its consequences has already taken place by the time that some receive this negative (autism-obesity relationship) information. And if that’s the case, we can’t expect much change to take place during a child rearing years for obese females. Psychologically, any such program to confront this obesity problem must begin  very early in the developmental cycle. Without an early-successful intervention, I doubt that meds are going to solve this medical-psychological  by itself.

Because of the unity of the mind and body, I suggest moving, laughing, smiling, loving, bonding and appreciating as good starters.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Narcissism and the Middle East

Last week I posted comments regarding the Middle East. For this post, I am going to discuss narcissism and its implication for peace or lack of peace between men. Hopefully this additional information will provide more insight and help to more fully explain the psychological-social issues that exist today. In doing so, I refer and rely on Sigmund Freud’s concept of narcissism. First, the term relates to the famous Greek legend in which the beautiful lad Narcissus rejected the love of the nymph Echo. In doing so, Nemesis (goddess of revenge) was angered because Echo died of a broken heart. So Nemesis’s punishment was to have Narcissus fall in love with his own image, by looking into the water of this lake. Because of Narcissus self-admiration, he stared, at his reflection, for a while into the lake, and as a result fell into the lake and thus died.

Freud believed that the development of narcissism begins in early infancy (being unable to differentiate self from others) and continues its development throughout one’s life. And under optimal conditions, the individual is able to have productive relationships and love with others. This can be referred to as benign narcissism. Or, under extreme conditions a malignant orientation is developed and the person develops too much “I” and not enough “we” or “us” and has impaired interpersonal relationships. Freud postulated that we all retain our narcissism throughout life and it’s also important and necessary for our survival. With a positive development of narcissism, we are able to love others, work and live productively to further mankind. In other words, if we are too preoccupied with self (degree of narcissism too strong) this can limit and affect our interest, involvement and behavior in the outside world- other people. Scarcities or impaired relationships, disrespecting other cultures or others different from ourselves, economic discrepancies or injustices (lack of opportunity) having feelings of inadequacy and unreality are part of the profile of a narcissistic orientation. With unhealthy narcissism, the narcissist can be sensitive to criticism and his self-image can be attached and related to things, people, or ideas that society has determined as deviant.

The development of unhealthy narcissism can affect capacity for objective thought, prudent reasoning, ability to love, as well as engaging in socially acceptable behaviors. However, with insecurities, feelings of hopelessness, inadequacy, and powerlessness along with other a distorted narcissistic view of self, a narcissist seeks unconsciously external mechanisms for strategies to become more secure in a frightful and dangerous world.

Many unhealthy narcissist’s unconsciously look for a powerful leader, cause or group in order to fuse, identify, or become part of in order to acquire the strength and safety that one is lacking. So with insecurities and low self-esteem there is an unconscious attempt to be compensated by something or someone outside of oneself. When a striving for submission or submissiveness occurs, this often results in the development of the individual entering into and either being a masochistic (victim) or exhibiting sadistic (persecutor) behavior patterns. And of course, a masochistic dependency can be rationalized, as looking for love and or being loyal. Or, the rationalization of being a sadist, is based on the belief that” I know what’s best for you.”

So in the Middle East, for example, a terrorist group becomes a focus for participation in order to protect oneself from being alone in the frightful world. And, individual narcissism becomes or is transformed into group narcissism. Participation in group narcissism can result in becoming part of a clan, nation, race, or religion. So membership in the group can be rationalized as being better, more just, more pious, more religious, and more pure, etc. than the other group. The other group could be (Christians, Jews, infidels or any others) and are perceived as being inferior, dangerous, dishonest, irresponsible, immoral, etc. and thus hate, killing and destruction is therefore justified. In other words, the fanatical religious group can speak or justify its behavior in the name of God, but unfortunately it sounds like that God is the God of evil or hate
.
In becoming part of the group, the member believes in their righteousness, their superiority of religion and their outlandish tactics. It’s necessary for them to have some form of achievement, such as sending rockets toward civilians, beheading, or even capturing an Israeli soldier. In other words, the survival of their group depends on some achievement along with their belief that the groups mandate is of greater importance than their even their own lives. So it’s not surprising that we see and read about suicide bombings.

It’s not unusual for the fanatical to have a distorted sense of reality along with a narcissistic impaired self-inflation coupled with the lack of objectivity and rational judgment. We could say there is a thinking disorder, employing defenses of denial, rationalization interjection, etc. With a narcissistic injury (like a defeat), it’s not uncommon to see this group disrespect a flag, place of worship or religious documents of the other.


Clearly, “love thy neighbor as thyself;” “or love of thine enemy” is missing, and not part of the psychology or moral teaching equation at present. With the rise of individual and group narcissism, social media, radio and TV biases, economic inequalities, moral deficiencies, values and attitudes, these components interfere with the development of man becoming a more complete “human” being. Remember we all inhabit one planet.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Tevis Cup 2014

Yesterday, Linda and I drove up to Robinson Flat to greet the 2014 Tevis Cup riders. Robinson Flat is roughly the first 36 miles of this one-day hundred mile equestrian event. There, we were happy to see my former mare Gypsy, whose mount was Jim Mather. For more on Jim, I refer you to our TV interview with him: http://youtu.be/t8t2Th0ArPkhttp://youtu.be/eBupmHVZkOE  . All in all were also happy to see Yam and Ilan Dvir ranchers from Israel. They were riding mounts provided by Michel Bloch. For more about Mr. Bloch, I refer you to his TV interview:    http://youtu.be/lvAYFu87amQ
 Among the front runners were Tom Johnson (see his TV interview    http://youtu.be/wFP0ff__zyY ).
 A little further back were Robert and Melissa Ribley and Kathie Perry.   There TV interviews are as follows: Kathie Perry  http://youtu.be/lQjC_2Q-g38  ;  Dr. Melissa Ribley  http://youtu.be/m_5UdeirPS4,
When it was all said and done, competitive, Tom Johnson came in third place minutes behind the winner Heather Bergantz Reynolds. And for the first time in the illustrious history of the Tevis, two buckles were awarded to the two Israelis.
Congratulations go to all 107 finishers of the 186 starters. This is an historic event and more information is provided in my book “It Has Nothing To Do With Age.”

All in all, keep moving, smiling, laughing, bonding, appreciating and loving as it’s all good for you.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Middle East Tragedy -Part2

Part two
 It is not surprising that there are many Palestinians who are victims. Also, it’s no surprise that Hamas has many willing supporters and doesn’t need to advertise for recruitment. Scarcity, economic and educational limitations, poverty and negative self-feelings provides a fertile breeding ground for developing a sense of hopelessness, hate, envy, aggression, death and destruction. Providing weapons and rockets with the illusion of open borders or killing infidels will not solve the problem psychologically. It will take more than a democracy or a free state to free the Palestinians from their emotional shackles.
Taking a look at the sadistic orientation of these individuals, we find at one extreme of the continuum members who join and become part of a terrorist group. These terrorists are also individuals that have what appears to have a want or a love of death and destruction. They seem to worship force and express a drive or wish to kill. We can call them necrophilia’s. We might even say their motto is something like “long-live death.” They are very different from the majority-those individuals who want to preserve life; who have a drive to survive, grow and become creative and productive. In other words, the majority want to build not to destroy or demolish.
Remember Freud talked about two instinctual drives in man-Eros (life living instinct) and Thanatos (death instinct). However, it’s safe to say that growing up with  scarcities in a social-economic environment along with interpreting religious teachings in a sadistic way, being around much death, illness and injury, with fright, and anxiety as usual occurrences also plays a significant part in the development of the personality and character types that thrive on death.
It seems that these terrorists have a drive or orientation towards necrophilia, which seems to dominate their personality and seems to be stronger than loving and embracing life. It seems that these individuals appear to be attracted and fascinated by all that is dead like corpses and decay. Not only that their thinking and talk centers on destruction, killing, building bombs, obsessively plotting and planning. For these, they seem to love force and power and have a great capacity to kill-it seems to be their way of life. They clearly despise those that lack power and pray on innocents, unsuspecting children, women and older adults. They shamefully cover their faces, they hide among others, they live underground, and they even shoot their weapons in the air as some symbolic demonstration at funerals as to say “look at me, aren’t I strong and powerful, look what I can do.”
These necrophilia’s would rather lose their life like in a suicide bombing and are willing to kill or die for what they rationalize as injustice, revenge, religious meaning and economic gain. In fact, killing others is made easier because they don’t actually perceive and kill people as people. Instead, they think of their victims as actually innate objects or things. There also without conscience, and unable to concern themselves about others.

Thank goodness necrophilia orientation doesn’t dominate mankind. That does not mean you ignore this kind. As we know, there is much misery in the world and with misery, we tend to find these dynamics. No one ever said it’s easy, since we have a lot of work to do to make things better for all.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Middle East Tragedy

The Palestinian people for quite some time have been a part of a socio- economic system that has been based on an agrarian as opposed to a highly mechanized industrialized society. Within their socio-economic system, there has been limited opportunities for personal advancement, abundance or psychological well-being. Educationally, there has been major issues in (what is being taught) and other significant deficiencies (limitations or limited levels of progressive ideas as well). I believe there exists roughly 50% of their working age youth that are unemployed, this coupled with a high birth rate results in massive poverty. The infrastructure is lacking, there is ineffective governing, along with a shortage of humanitarian agencies and programs. In other words, there is a major abundance of scarcities. And there’s a lot of human energy spent directed towards meeting basic needs (food and shelter) or exploiting others. There is an enormous population located in a small geographic area, which leads to a dire situation at best. Even having a larger geographic area-like a Palestinian state alone won’t solve the socioeconomic deficiencies.
As a result of these and others negative, social and economic factors, it is not surprising that many Palestinians likely feel inferior, insignificant and/or powerless in their lives. All a Palestinian has to do is to watch a television program or visit across the border, and they find a very different society that’s based on an industrial economic system, apparent wealth, universities of higher learning, a well running health system, a democratic form of government with many resources and individual opportunities for advancement with positive human growth and well-being. Everyone else seems to be living the good life. Psychologically, and unconsciously, it is understandable why many Palestinians have feelings of being inferior, not significant or irrelevant and week and powerless.
When an individual has emotionally vulnerable feelings of being (powerless, a non-entity  and low self-esteem), this results and can lead the person unknowingly in the direction of fusing one’s self (identifying) with someone or some terrorist group more powerful outside of oneself in order to compensate and acquire a feeling of strength. This identification is a poor substitute and certainly doesn’t provide individuation, nor well-being. Instead, unfortunately, this identification can lead to a psychological striving for submission which often leads to developing a masochistic character orientation. Further, masochistic strivings generally lead to the development of psychological dependency within the individual .The person then employs internalization and develops a thinking process and style and tends to believe that he loves and is loyal to that significant other/group. The experiencing of feelings of inferiority and rationalizing leads to further irrational thinking. He believes that his state or position is entirely due to unchangeable, conditions or circumstances not under his control. As a consequence, he is unable to take responsibility for his position or welfare in his life. Or, experiencing these emotional vulnerabilities (feeling insignificant, powerless and inferior) could also lead a person in developing a sadistic orientation or character.
It is with the development of a sadistic character that the person is likely to engage and become an active and devoted member of a “terrorist” group. The motto of a terrorist group is to kill and/or maim and to be killed.  It’s easy for this personality style person to rationalize their own death, like in a suicide bombing. They rationalize they are giving their life for a higher cause. These terrorists groups appeal to those that feel powerlessness, not important and are simply one of many insignificant or irrelevant individuals.
 It is clear that within terrorist groups, the leadership psychologically and behaviorally has to have others dependent on them,   have absolute control and unrestricted power over others-the ones that appear weak and needy. For the sadistic personality, it’s not enough to rule, but one has to be able to exploit, to suffocate, to control, to take advantage of, to squeeze and even to steal from those others. This psychology of the sadistic character in essence makes others suffer and is predicated on the wish for domination, as well as for power. It’s not unlike these leaders to convey ideas to their flock such as “I am in charge of you because I know what’s best for you; I have done so much for you and am entitled to take from you.” The sadist simply loves the masochistic because he can dominate him. In fact, sadism and masochism seem to go together. For every masochist, you will find a sadist and for every sadist there’s a masochist.

To be continued

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Hamas and the Palestinians

Some comments about the current Israeli-Hamas Palestinian conflict. In some ways, it appears that David (Hamas) is fighting Goliath (Israeli Defense Forces-IDF). It is well-known that Hamas stands for, and has a mission predicated on death (self or others), destruction, hate of Jews and infidels, along with advocating radical Islam. It seems that this gang does not have difficulty in taking money, arms or utilizing propaganda for their aims. And it doesn’t matter that the country they are attacking has a superior military. So, they wager an unorthodox or guerrilla warfare, to some extent. On the one hand, they fire advanced rockets and missiles and on the other hand they are like ants underground (wearing masks ),hide and come out of their holes (tunnels) looking for un-expecting prey. They do not have any difficulty attacking civilians nor do they follow the traditional or Geneva rules of warfare.
For this band of characters, their goals and aims are apparent based on their behavior. They do not seek peace, harmony, brotherhood or love toward others, but instead are motivated, by the dark side (aggressive and self-destructive) of human nature. Their thinking and their behavior seem consistent with the desire to kill or be killed regardless of the consequence or concern about others. It’s obvious that other peaceful (children, ill or elderly) Palestinians does not appear to concern them. The fact that a great number of casualties are mounting along with the massive destruction of infrastructure does not halt their military behavior, but instead motivates. It’s as if this Hamas group wants more death and destruction to come to themselves and/or other people, regardless.
Perhaps, Hamas justifies their behavior because of the victim portrayal by the Palestinians and they know they will receive huge sums of money and resources as a consequence. With more money and other resources they can continue in the future to pursue, act and rationalize their hateful ideology.
A word about the Palestinians-civilians in Gaza. On the one hand, these people are perceived as victims and innocent of the warfare. Yet, based on opinion polls and some form of election, Hamas was voted in, and these Palestinians support what Hamas is doing militarily. If you support by voting for and believe that your elected group is acting responsibly and in your interests, then there’s a question (are you really being a victim or are you employing irrational judgment?). By the way, according to  The American College Dictionary : military “of or pertaining to the Army, Armed Forces, affairs of war, or a state of war; having the characteristics of a soldier; solidarity.” Further, the definition of militarism, “military spirit or policy; the tendency to regard military efficiency as a supreme ideal of the state and to subordinate all other interests to those of the military.” And the definition of militarist “one skilled in the art of war.” As a contrast, civilian “one engaged in civil pursuits; one first in our studying the Roman or civil law.”
A civilian can be defined by behavior and belief. A supporter of Hamas doesn’t have to carry a gun on his shoulder or wear a uniform. If the Palestinians get word that an attack is coming; have a tunnel beneath their home; have rockets shooting toward Israel in their vicinity, and choose to stay in that location, then this suggests they are complicit in and are on the same page as Hamas, then they are not victims but accomplices. This is because  there are many in the Middle East, whose  personality and character development are  bent on following(submitting)  to so-called leaders that have a vicious ideology(some irrational political or religious interpretation) , even though this  results in a negative or harmful self-interest.

Belief and behavior are influenced by personality development within the social milieu. If one grows up hating others, then it is not surprising they turn to destructive, irrational and self-defeating behavior patterns. In our country and Israel for example, individuals have an opportunity to work, to love and to give or nurture others. Many Palestinians in Gaza have been on a self-defeating journey for quite some time. In order to change, much needs to happen. Taking personal responsibility for their lives might be possible if one can break through defenses of denial, rationalization and projection.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

2014 Tevis Cup

  "The power of imagination makes us infinite."
– John Muir

On October 9, 2014 will be the 59th Tevis Cup endurance race. This 100 mile international horse race takes place in the Sierra Nevada’s and is the granddaddy of endurance racing. This year, for the first time, Israel will be represented by two riders -a father and son. For some  Tevis Cup background , the  following was taken from Chapter 6 In “ It Has Nothing To Do With Age “  A short segment of that chapter reads as follows:
“The Tevis is a 100 mile one day endurance ride that begins at Robie Park near Truckee (north of Lake Tahoe) and ends at the fairgrounds in Auburn. The Tevis is rich in history and characters, and I’d like to share a bit of history about the ride in the man who started it. The following information is found in Bill G. Wilson’s book, “Challenging the Mountains: The Life and Times of Wendell T. Robie.”
In 1955, the Reno Gazette Journal in an article describing, “Some gentleman from Auburn are attempting a one day 100 mile ride out of Tahoe City.” Five riders; Nick Mansfield, William Patrick, Pat Sewell, Richard Highfield, and Wendell Robie said they could ride over 9000 feet of  summit, go through deep canyons, and follow a trail that no other horsemen had traveled on such a ride. This ride had a lot of unknowns. One major question was, could a horseback rider travel and cover 100 miles in a day?
Robie claims that organizing the event would bring new home and property orders to Auburn and give valuable publicity to the town (Robie was a businessman in Auburn-he was into lumber, real estate, and later started a bank). He quoted the Vermont organizers of a 100 mile Green Mountain trail ride, who claimed that people keep fit by riding horseback. He also quoted Winston Churchill’s famous phrase, “The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man.”
Robie was influenced by pioneer Bob Watson, who was the last constable of Tahoe City. One of Watson’s mission’s in life was to re-establish the original Emigrant Trail over the Sierra crest. Long lost to overgrowth and lack of use, the trail was used by Native Americans as part of their seasonal migratory route, as well as gold miners in the late 1840s and early 1850s that traverse this rugged trail in their search for instant riches. Later on in the 1850s, the trail was also used by those leaving California in search for silver in the Comstock Lode in Nevada. Watson’s quest to redefine the trail was a proud endeavor and he enlisted like-spirits in finding the trail, including Wendell Robie, and a group of Auburn man who belonged to the Native Sons of the Golden West. In one of their trail- marking journeys in 1935, they took along a movie camera and captured the adventures of their ride, including pack horses breaking loose and scattering their goods over mountain ridges. In addition to finding and marking the entire trail, when he was in his 70s, Bob Watson erected a shrine dedicated to all the pioneers who had traveled this trail. The edifice was later named Watson’s Monument; located at the top of Emigrant Pass, and topped with an American flag that all the runners and riders pass by during their events.”
Good luck to all the riders and their steeds.

For more about this illustrious event and other extraordinary events and the people that compete, I refer you to my book. In the meantime, keep moving, laughing, smiling, bonding, loving and appreciating because it’s good for you.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Using Envy Appropriately

“Ever tried, ever failed, try again, fail better.” -Samuel Beckett

There was an article that I read in the Wall Street Journal, dated April 26-27, 2014 that got my attention. In that particular article, there was a discussion about envy, resentment and motivation. It was pointed out that for example, in Facebook there are many posts about showing off, getting promotions, going to parties, having vacations in addition to many unaffordable activities. In a study last August, researchers from the University Michigan found that the more people used Facebook, the less satisfied they were with their lives. Not only that, in another Facebook study, researchers found that social media users exhibited more rampant envy.
Envy can be classified as either malicious or benign. An individual person can either be motivated by another person’s success and strive to emulate it or employ putting down that person’s success-perhaps a rationalization about the advantage person in some sort of distorted comparison. This suggests that envy can either be a personal motivator in a positive way, or hinder the individual in a negative and self-defeating way.
A 2011 study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, found that when the researchers triggered feelings of benign envy as opposed to malicious envy in their subjects, these university students were motivated to want to study more and perform better on a test measuring creativity and intelligence.
So perhaps instead of having negative thoughts, envy and a poor me attitude, it might be better to ask oneself “what’s holding me back? I can perform too.” Once again, this article implies that it is important to know oneself and instead of externalizing or rationalizing one is likely to be better off with self-reflection and then changing the negative thoughts or ideas. More than likely it is the individual that holds himself back as opposed to something external. I am clearly not putting down Facebook. I’m using Facebook to illustrate that if you’re having difficulty with envy, look inside.
Perhaps, in a later post, I might address the implications and dynamics of “a   showing off attitude used by many in social media.”

In the meantime, for your health keep moving, smiling, laughing, bonding, appreciating and loving.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Eppie's Great Race 2014

Our team, yesterday, competed in the world’s oldest triathlon. It was the 41st running of Eppie’s Great Race held in the Sacramento-Rancho Cordova area. I started the event by running approximately a 10K (less than an hour) along the American River, finishing at Sacramento State area. Then I met Tom Christofk and passed him the timing chip. He biked approximately a 20 K distance in less than 45 minutes. There, he handed the timing chip to Dennis Scott, who kayaked approximately 10K to the finish in less than an hour.
Dennis took the place of Tony Brickel who was home nursing his wife, Debbie from her horse mishap. For Tom and I, this was our first Eppie’s. For Dennis, this was his 35th or 36th Eppie’s. Our team did well in the 60 age division. We were all pleased. For me, running along the American River was a welcome change from trail running. I must admit that it is so much easier. Of course, running a short distance is another difference along with not worrying about tripping on rocks or roots.
For more about Tom, I refer you to our television interview: It Has Nothing to Do with Age or Gender: http://youtu.be/E7pVe44sqSA.    Further, Dennis has an interesting story as well and you can watch his TV interview: http://youtu.be/mHXJSzfZZnI .
In any event, keep moving, smiling, laughing, bonding, loving and appreciating.
PS

It was helpful to have my wife Linda, and Tom’s wife, Laura, as crew. Thank you, dears.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Jim Brandstatter- Bo's Warriors


In Bo’s Warriors, you’ll find this Foreword written by Jim Brandstatter.

When I first heard about this book, I learned that the focus was going to be about mental toughness. One of my University of Michigan football teammates suggested that I would be a good source for Frank to talk about the subject. I have no idea what medication, my teammate was taking at the time that made him so delirious as to suggest to me, but the cat was out of the bag, and Dr. Frank and I began our journey.
We talked about my life. We talked about football. We talked about things totally unrelated to mental toughness. We talked about my college coach, Bo Schembechler. We talked about my friends on the team.
As time passed, and I spoke to some of the other guys who Frank had been interviewing, I realized that their experiences had been similar to mine. Not only that, but Frank was working these guys as hard as he was working me. Based on the conversations I had with my friends to help Frank with the book, I knew this had to be more than a how-to manual on developing mental toughness. It was morphing into something else. It was becoming a story of young men developing into young adults
.
I have often been asked to speak about my time as a University Michigan football player and the lessons I learned from the game, and my coach, Bo Schembechler. Yet I have never felt that I have done a great job of it. It was such a powerful time in my life, but is difficult to impart to an audience the incredible impact it has on me to this day.

I believe “Bo’s Warriors” can accomplish what I have failed to do in my speeches. What I think you have in your hands is a snapshot of history. It is a look back at this country in the late 60s and early 70s, is viewed through the eyes of us 18-to 21-year-old jocks. We were in the middle of a very unpopular war, racial tension was boiling, the drug culture was taking over college campuses, student unions were being occupied by militants… there was Woodstock, free love, free Angela Davis, burning draft cards, and burning bras. Meanwhile, with all this tumult bombarding us, we had to play football for a tyrant named Schembechler. How in the world did we survive? How in the world did we win a game? And how in the world did we learn lasting life lessons amidst the confusion?

That’s the story you are about to read. When we saw the world crumbling around us, we had a pillar of strength to grab on to. When our life began to spin out of control, we had a safe haven. We had football. In football we knew where we stood. We had Schembechler. Sure, he was a conservative taskmaster. He did not like the counterculture, and the counterculture despised him. He did not suffer fools; it was his way or the highway.

But he demanded more from us. We delivered-sometimes grudgingly, but we delivered-and amidst the chaos came order, success, and growth. In that moment, the group, through fate or providence, came together and something really positive happened. The blueprints were college football, but the architect was Bo.
PS

Last Thursday’s guest on It Has Nothing to Do with Age or Gender was 100 K US champion, three-time Western States 100 winner, NCAA polo champion, etc. Tom Johnson. I think you’ll enjoy his interview.


In the meantime, keep moving, smiling, laughing, bonding, loving and appreciating. It’s good for you.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Bo's Warriors-Mike Keller



The following post is a Foreword from Bo’s Warriors written by Mike Keller.
Moving from a small Midwestern town to a huge university and premier institution of higher learning, and athletics, how could I realize what was in store for me? While excited for the challenge, I was quite certain that someone entrusted with offering me a full ride Grant-in-Aid scholarship had made an awful mistake. I did not feel that I belonged among the nationally recruited football players who would become my teammates. My thoughts on that were, “Well that’s not my problem, I will get a great education and set my path firmly in a positive direction for a career in…. who knows what?”
All of that changed in December of my freshman year. Our head coach, Bump Elliott was being “promoted” within the athletic department, and we were to meet our new head coach, Bo Schembechler. In that first meeting, among other things, we learned from Coach Schembechler that we were soft and undisciplined, with a national reputation as underachievers. “Well, boys,” he said, “that is all going to change!”
In hindsight, that first Schembechler team at Michigan set the tone for a new and continued level of excellence for Michigan football. When youngsters decide to play for Michigan today, they know they will play in the greatest stadium in college football, in front of the most loyal fans and alumni, will prepare to play at the finest facilities, and be taught by a great coaching staff.
I would not change anything from my four years in Ann Arbor. There were great victories as well as crushing defeats. As young man, we were taught to live with both-not only as football players. But as people, with an eye for what the world would hand us in the decades after we played. Our dedication to our Alma matter is unshakable-as are the bonds of friendship we developed in competition and the driving force that mold us: coach Schembechler and his inimitable staff.
Every day. I was thankful for the men who will always be my teammates. I’m thankful for my coaches, Gary Moeller, Jim Young, to whom I have not expressed my appreciation enough over the years. Most of all, I’m thankful for having a chance to play for Bo, who helped all of us learn how good we could be.

My life’s journey has not been one anchored in the college of LS&A or Michigan Law School, although Michigan, academics taught me how to think and organize. My career has been in professional sports-as a player, scout, and administrator, providing opportunities to hundreds of young men and women seeking the dream of working in sports. As my career winds down, it is altogether fitting to look back at those early days, in Ann Arbor. When I wondered, “What am I doing here?” Fortunately for me, there were those who believed in me. It’s always a good time to pass it on.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

2014 Western States Endurance Run

Congratulations to all the 2014 Western States finishers. Last year, 37-year-old Rob Krar finished second. This year he finished first and came close to breaking the course record in 14 hours 53 minutes and 22 seconds. The first overall woman was Stephanie Howe. Her time was 18 hours one minute and 42 seconds. Congratulations also go to Dan Barger, who finished in 20 hours 43 minutes 27 seconds and Meghan Arbogast, who finished in 21 hours 14 minutes and 48 seconds. No one older than Meghan finished in front of her. For more information about Dan and Meghan catch their interview on It Has Nothing to Do with Age or Gender.
This race could not be held without volunteers. Special thanks goes to the Auburn Lake Trails Aid station Captain Margaret Branick at mile 84, and all the other volunteers.

Remember to keep moving, because they do.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Dan Dierdorf, Bo Schembechler,Soren Kierkegaard and Sigmund Freud

Former University of Michigan coaching legend Bo Schembechler may or may not have been a student of  the existentialist Soren Kierkegaard, Sigmund Freud, or other great thinkers of human nature . In short, Kierkegaard  wrote about the anxiety of man, character, transcendence and the difficulty in becoming authentic. While Freud wrote about man’s personality development and character that essentially helps him develop strategies for dealing with his anxiety by employing defenses (denial, repression, reaction information, etc.) in order to distort reality. And, in the process, psychoanalysis helps man to understand his self-emotions, impulses, memories, capacities, potentialities, etc.
In December of 1968, Bo was hired to coach the University of Michigan football. So what did Bo do to begin his University of Michigan coaching in early 1969? In essence, he created additional stress and anxiety for his inherited (Bump Elliott’s recruits) but talented football athletes. He wanted to trim down the number of players coming out for practice. He wanted only the strongest mentally and physically.  He did that by creating and imposing unheard of conditioning drills that were physical and some would say disrespected the individual. These drills were intense and challenged not only one’s body, but one’s mind. I doubt that any of the players, at first, understood what some called his madness. They had no idea what he was doing, and in fact many of them quit the team.
In fact, he might’ve been concerned, about the number of players leaving the team, since he put up the sign “Those That Stay Will Be Champions.” And then, the Pru man added to the sign “Those That Leave Will Be Doctors and Lawyers and Captains of Industry.” Bo understood that he created a test, and that those who passed were his boys. The players that stayed were able to deal with the additional stress and anxiety by creating and developing their own personality. In fact, Frank Gusich thought, and/or rationalized, something to the effect that “these brutal practice conditions are so unique that our team will be in better condition in the fourth quarter than those other teams.” Bo created the “survival of his fittest”
Further, as a result of his military experience, Bo was aware that soldiers, in foxholes, in war conditions dealt with stress and death by bonding together. The term band of brothers fits here. So, I believe that Bo Schembechler knew he was creating a team and his coaching methods exemplified that. He reinforced that team concept over and over. If you don’t believe me, just ask his warriors.
“This is a unique look at the world of college football in the late 60s and early 70s as told by some of my teammates and coaches at the University of Michigan.
We were so fortunate to be a part of something special that happened over 40 years ago, but still resonates today. A good read!
                                Go Blue! Dan Dierdorf June 2014

Triumph Books is publishing Bo’s Warriors and is scheduled to be released this fall.