Thursday, August 2, 2012

Choking: A hazard among athletes

Good Morning! There is a great deal to do, so I have to keep this one short. Hope all is well....

The Olympics remain on the 'telly' as I have been addicted to the games. I had a Starbucks scone (very dry) for breakfast. Is that British enough? By the way, they are looking for barristas at my Starbucks. Too late for me to apply. I have to start classes at the end of this month.

Yesterday, I watched a tennis match in which the losing player double faulted the match point. Not only did I groan for him but I screamed at the guy. I hope that he heard me thousands of miles away. Was I angry with him? No! I felt his pain. Here he is in a tie break 12-11 and he hit two serves out and was eliminated. Poor guy. I consider this a major choke.

You know what a choke is a slang term for when an athlete makes an unforced error due to anxiety or a mental letdown. I can only imagine that his coach had to talk him off the ledge last night. Buddy was standing next to me at the time and I told him that the double fault was like walking in the winning run in the World Series. This is not the way it is supposed to go. The opponent is supposed to dominate or win with talent. The loser is not supposed to fold and fall apart like a cheap suit.

Ok, here it comes.....for example....I was playing a tennis match at a higher level in which I am rated against clearly better players (on paper). We lost the first set easily and made adjustments during the second set and won it. Then we took a quick break and lost our momentum. As the opposing team won the match, we shook hands. One of the opposing players said to me: "I must have fallen asleep in the second set." My reply was: "Or something like that...." In other words, she was saying that there was no way that we should have gone into three sets and rather than thinking that we were worthy opponents, she was saying that she should not have relaxed. She did not acknowledge that we made adjustments and that the set win was a fluke. Now, talk about ego....

What about ego? Well, in competition, you gotta have it. Without an ego, then there would be no reason to get out there and lay it out on the court or field. A healthy ego can give a person the confidence to face competition. Just ask anyone who plays a sport. Sure, they love their game or exercise, but a person absolutely needs to understand that he or she can win the game at any time.

Buddy has a major ego. He needs it to get him through the rough and pressure-filled times. In fact, his ego is as big as Montana. This is a good thing. Only a person with complete confidence in their abilities has the courage to take the mound and fire fast balls over a tiny plate. He needs to understand that he can dominate. And he does. But it only comes with hard work.

Therefore, my parting words for the day are: "There is nothing beyond the reach of determination and hard work."


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