Since bursting on the scene as a young African American teen Serena Williams has done things her way. From having unconventional practice habits, to wearing new and different tennis outfits not to mention launching a fashion line, Williams has been nothing short of unique and is a true star.
Brash, outspoken and perhaps undisciplined at times Williams will go down with the all-time greats. And make no mistake about it she has a lot of highly competitive tennis left in her.
In a day and age where thirty years old is ancient in her sport she has overcome physical injuries, her racial heritage, the shadow of her sister and other barriers to be only the second woman to over the age of thirty to win Wimbledon. People all too often seek to define others perhaps in an attempt to categorize them– as being different is at times emotionally discomforting. Williams is not to be categorized or minimized.
It helps to have the sheer power and athleticism that Williams has, but part of what makes Williams so great is her mental toughness and just being who she is. At times appearing distracted and taciturn, one has to wonder if she would have been a better player if she had been more disciplined and conventional. However Williams has managed to put an indelible stamp on professional tennis and her record cannot be argued with.
Williams has changed the landscape of tennis spawning a new generation of bigger and faster players who have emerged to make women’s tennis dynamic and highly competitive.
I sit with people all the time who want to do it “their way” the problem is their way is most frequently not successful as they continue to persist in practices that do not achieve their goals. In William’s case she has achieved by doing it her way.
Recently Williams has espoused a new appreciation for being able to play professional tennis and achieved what she has as she has become more self-reflective as she has grown relatively older. But make no mistake about it, she has managed to have her cake and eat it too. Isn’t that something we all would love to have? Serena Williams is truly a player for the ages.
Many are wondering what the Jets were thinking when they picked up Tim Tebow however I can assure you that they were thinking and in their minds quite clearly. Who exactly made the decision does not even have to be clear or count. Rest assured that the person or group of individuals who decided to bring Tebow to the Jets had a vision for him, and that is all that matters.
While theories abound as to why the Jets took Tebow, several things were obvious to anyone paying attention that would lead one to see exactly why they obtained him. People are sitting in judgment of those reasons (which is what sports fans and people often do) but in the end it came down to what the Jets thought would be most helpful for their team.
Keep in mind that what sports fans and non- sports fans think are important, necessary, or logical criteria to them, is not always what others have in mind when they make their decisions.
I sit with people every day who think that their logic and thought processes should be how the world functions and it does not. It brings them great consternation when they find out that the world does not function the way that they think it should, much the way the fans who think the Jets dropped the ball here are feeling.
Let’s take a look at the obvious. The Jets wanted the publicity of signing Tebow and the ongoing Tebow-mania that is to follow. If you value media attention and Tebow’s signing has generated record levels of media attention, then you hit the jackpot.
Press conferences, Tebow sightings, social media frenzies such as blowing out Twitter, and the many off the field humane contributions he makes, are also going to bring the focus right back on the Jets organization. The horde of reporters having to make the trip to the Jet’s training camp is going to cause a gas crisis, balanced by the fact that the economy in upstate NY is going to get a necessary boost.
The Jets got a player that is a virtual money making printing press, a player whose jerseys, and memorabilia seem at the moment to have no limit to their value. Framed in these terms it makes great sense that a virtual novice quarterback when compared to Peyton Manning got equal billing on many NFL sale sites.
So in the end sans football ability and I am sure the Jets took into account what they thought Tebow could bring to their team on the playing field, it was these factors and perhaps more that they were sure to get, before Tebow the football player ever stepped on the playing field which influenced the Jets to obtain him. They are entirely objectively evident.
There were and are a number of theories and speculation on how other teams over looked and missed out on Jeremy Lin. Actually they may not have–and here is why.
As much as evaluating players has become a statistical and physiological process there is still a great deal of art involved on how players are assessed.
Players much like the rest of us get labeled with expectations, reputations and stereotypes that are often difficult to change. This is because some people may not be willing to accept the idea that they may be wrong in their perceptions.
Thus, there are many false positives (players who are playing on teams that should not) as there are many false negatives (players who are not on teams and should be).
Sometimes it takes players time to mature or find the right situation for them. Unfortunately in today’s world few are given that option as immediate production is demanded.
To me it was obvious that Jeremy Lin was/is not as good as he appeared to be when he went on his initial tear and that other teams were going to adjust. I think it fair to say (and fair to Lin) that he should be judged over a period of time. After all there is nothing like a proven track record to assess how good someone is.
Now we are going to see how Lin adjusts long term. On the surface he appears to be handling the intense attention and scrutiny rather well. Make no mistake about it Lin is under intense pressure despite what he says. Having a support group and his faith I am sure has been, and will continue to be helpful.
The media and the world had a great time with this story—and still are. Many cannot help but relate to someone who came from out of nowhere and showed them all! Being undervalued and misjudged is not uncommon. Add on the Asian pride factor and it is a real feel good story to me. And it sells papers, jerseys and tickets which is good for the economy. What could be bad?
Joel Sherman of the New York Post recently wrote a very good article about Alex Rodriquez and his training habits.
Sherman who is a well respected sports writer who I often read — although he rarely tells me anything I do not know about baseball is very informative about potential trades and team gossip. So I appreciate him.
In this article Sherman effectively wrote about the fact that our body parts work in sync with each other and how these interactions are now able to be quantified. He also mentioned which players are using this information to train.
In my opinion this should be nothing new in fact if I remember correctly they wrote a song about it many years ago. The hip bone is connected to the leg bone etc. and many of us sang it as children.
I have found that old habits and ideas are hard to give up especially if you have been successful in what you were doing. It is the more secure or perhaps driven person who is willing to take a look at what might make them improve their performance.
As new breakthroughs in science allow us to see and measure more we are gaining greater knowledge on exactly how the body parts are connected and how they exactly work together.
Alex Rodriquez should be given a lot of credit for searching for the latest techniques and information to help him do his job better. He also reportedly used plasma therapy as well. And as Sherman mentioned, more and more players are using science (stem cells, plasma therapy, diet, etc.) to help them have the potential to extend their careers.
Now if you buy into the mind-body connection and there is enormous research to support such—you have truly arrived. Look for more players to use what is available to improve their performance and extend their careers.
I have been an avid sports fan my whole life and still root for various players and teams. These days I am rooting for our politicians and government agencies. Maybe praying would be better?
Wow who would have thought that the situation we are facing in the sports world would mirror the situation our government is in? The parallels between our government’s issues and what is happening in the world of sport is striking.
What a mess we have gotten ourselves into, an economy in shambles and the prospect of disaster on the playing field.
The NFL and NBA are effectively closed down, and now our politicians are telling us that our government is in danger of shutting down, and we will be facing catastrophic consequences if this happens. How much worse can it get?
Our politicians are jockeying for position with the public just as the NFL and NBA owners and players are attempting to woo and convince us that they are in the right. Isn’t there some middle ground we can all agree on? Apparently not-principle appears to be taking precedent over what is best for the people.
The Tea Party and The White House won’t give in and players and owners won’t either. I thought that stuff was only for the school yard. Maybe that is where they got it from– probably not. These attitudes and the actions that stem from our politicians and sports figures are deeply rooted in our psyches.
I can understand how winning and losing in sports feels like life and death at times even though it is just entertainment. It is after all a great distraction from the real issues that affect our lives. Participation in sports on any level can bring about strong emotional responses including very competitive ones and the feeling that losing is intolerable and compromise is impossible. Sound familiar? Welcome to Washington the NFL and the NBA!
I see this scenario played out all the time in my office between parents and children who won’t give in to the detriment of both. It is reflective of a very regressive younger phase of emotional development that has not been adequately dealt with, so it gets played out in intransigent struggles in our everyday relationships.
As a child I had vicious arguments about who was the best baseball player in the league or on my block, flipped cards and played all games with a vengeance. No more. Perhaps it is just a passing phase or my stage of life, or maybe it is just my mature sensibilities although somehow I don’t think so.
As I grew up I somehow realized that life went on regardless of my athletic prowess, or who was the best baseball player, or which team won. Sure I was disappointed that I had to wait twenty plus years to see the football Giants win again, and I am still smarting from the Celtics playoff exit at the hands of the Heat, and these are but a few examples of what I have had to put up with! But somehow I survived it all.
We elect our officials and pay for our entertainment so we deserve the problems we are experiencing with them. Beyond all that they are after all just a reflection of us. And they are unable to find solutions to what appear to be very complex problems.
So when our politicians and government agencies perform poorly we all lose as they can make decisions that really affect us directly. Because what they are doing is not child’s play and the stakes are very real and high– maybe that is why when my teams lose it doesn’t’ seem to bother me as much as it used to.
Harvey Dorfman was obviously one of the greatest mental coaches sport has seen. When you have that many players attesting to his help—that says it all.
Conventional wisdom and training suggests that an in your face approach as both Mike Pelfry and Dan Wathren attested worked for them—is not what works with all players. And perhaps Dorfamn did not use this with all of his clients, but it certainly was effective with Pelfrey and Wathren and I bet a few others.
Treatment and helping others takes many forms. I am always searching to help people understand the meaning of their behaviors and try hard not to be judgmental of others.
I have people who come to me who have seen psychics and after they tell me wait for my response. I usually ask them if they found it helpful and often the response is yes. While I do not employ psychics to assist me, if others find it helpful then that is all that counts.
There remains a stigma both in sports and the general population that if you see therapist or psychologist, or mental coach as was the case with Dorfman, you have severe problems. That is far from the case as Pelfrey noted in the article posted below.
I am for what helps people and makes them feel better. If in fact Dorfman’s approach was helpful to his clients then his body of work stands for itself.
Well the deed has been done and the dust has not fully settled. Rarely does a player as good as Carmello Anthony come on the market and when he does you have to get him. He is a genuine superstar or at least one of the top ten players on the league. I guess that makes him a superstar. He certainly will be in New York.
It was interesting that Anthony did not want to test the free agent waters, and that is his choice. He did not want to roll the dice regarding a new collective bargaining agreement or perhaps experience free agency. He took the safest way out–many people do. He got what he wanted and earned it under the system in which he works. They don’t like him in Denver someone has to be the villain. What can you do? Anthony will survive.
The team was near 500 without Anthony, that is a long way from contention. The Knicks have to compete with Miami and Boston and they need to be able to get past those teams to even think about going up against the Lakers or some other Western Conference power.
If you embraced that perspective–you can see why they needed to do something. There will be more changes that is obvious. Mr. Walsh did a great job.
The fan base has been further invigorated as they are discussing and dissecting the deal, that is what fans do. I have had more conversations about this trade than I care to report but thay have been fun. Do I miss Wilson Chandler? Do you?
—I forgot to add to yesterday’s list that sales of Anthony’s jersey will help the economy. Good thing.
—On another note, I like Geoffrey Rush and Christian Bale with a nod to the latter for best supporting actor. Then again I thought Jeremy Renner was outstanding as well. What can I say? Go with Bale.
–Hey I like sports and the Oscars are going Las Vegas style, you can now log on and play to see how you do during the show. I figure they must bet on this stuff?
Ten things that are good about the Carmelo Anthony trade.
1-It gives us something to think and talk about without concrete consequence to us.
2-It provides the opportunity for excitement.
3-The trade will be discussed and dissected across the country but especially in New York which allows for critical thinking skills to be used.
4-We will argue and debate the trade hopefully without incident.
5-It gives the media material to write about. They will be happy.
6-It provides hope for those New York Knick fans who think it a good trade.
7-It provides the opportunity to be critical for those fans that do not think it a good trade.
8-It opens up the possibility of thinking about future moves the Knicks may make.
9-The Empire State Building may light up orange and blue—good colors.
10-It deflects and distracts from real problems people may have.
What could be bad?
Who will be the winner or loser? It seems that we might find out this weekend at, or during the conclusion of the NBA All-Star game. It is going to be Carmelo Anthony for sure and some lucky team after he gets over the stress of the process.
Carmelo Anthony says he is losing sleep over his decison about where he is going to work, and I can understand–it is a major life decision. While all the fans and sports pundicts discuss trade and contract scenarios Anthony is under a great deal of pressure. I am aware that others will say what pressure– as Anthony has million of dollar reasons to be happy and his stock at this point cannot be any higher. Moreover, when he woke up this morning his name was being bandied about on television and radio shows, and he is featured in the newspapers, and on internet sites. Come to think about it it this has been going on for quite sometime so what could be bad? Many wish they could be in his shoes.
However psychological stress is relative and Anthony is under a lot of stress. He has said so himself, loss of sleep is one major indicator of stress and I bet if asked, he would admit to other changes in his life. In Anthony’s case he does have a lot to be thankful for and hopefully it is those things that he will focus on which will allow for an ease of the stress he is under. However, moving, changing jobs, and all the expectations that come with these things are high stressors for all. He has many people to consider including his wife who reportedly will have a big say in where Anthony signs. Beyond signing any contract is complex–as is fraught with ntense public scrutiny.
Judging others is exactly what we do. So we make pronouncements about how other people should feel, act and respond. It is imperious and quite upsetting to those that have to hear it, even those that are as fortunate as Carmelo Anthony. Although he may be superhuman on the basketball court (by all accounts he is not the best player in the game) he is afterall just human.
After Anthony makes his decision it will be interesting to hear what he has to say in looking back at the process and what kind of emotional cost he paid. No amount of dollars can change that.