Inattentional Blindness


On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS November 7, 2016 #618 Up next… Inattentional blindness!

After further review…”Inattentional blindness.” Huh? What’s that, and what’s it got to do with sports? Inattentional blindness is what magicians use to successfully perform their illusions. It’s as old as Houdini himself. (I was going to say “as old as Giovanni Livera,” the best magician/speaker I know, but Gio’s not that old.) Inattentional blindness makes us miss what our eyes can plainly see, if our attention is focused elsewhere; the brain filters out visual information it considers secondary to its current analysis of the sensory world. Have you ever sat close enough and watched intently as magic was performed “right before your very eyes?” Your eyes never wavered, but you still couldn’t figure out how the magician accomplished his feat. There was something you missed. When I once asked Gio “How’d you do that?” he responded “Very well”—his pledge to secrecy.

Some may refer to magicians’ tricks as “misdirection.” Maybe so, but inattentional blindness is not the same. Misdirection causes you to look at a new subject. Inattentional blindness is a phenomenon that explains how one can fail to perceive what one is looking directly at. So, what’s the sports connection?

You may recall a Monday Night Football game between Green Bay and Seattle on September 24, 2012. That game yielded the infamous “Fail Mary” pass made by Russell Wilson of the Seahawks on the game’s final play. Just prior to the “simultaneous catch” in the end zone that gave the victory to Seattle, there was an obvious offensive pass interference committed by the Seattle receiver. Now, I’m certain that the replacement official whose responsibility it was to call that OPI foul knew what offensive pass interference was, and probably had called it many times. He was looking right at it, but didn’t see it. Several thousand viewers saw it. So, why couldn’t the official? Inattentional blindness. He was focused on the reception he expected to see, not what led up to it. And so the shove didn’t register. The missed call hastened the return of regular officials from their lockout, and illustrated the difficulty that can complicate even the plainest calls in hindsight.

A lingering question is how do we, in our daily lives, avoid inattentional blindness? In this age of constant, rapid delivery of information, we are tempted to think that “multi-tasking” is the way to go. But in fact, our brains don’t work that way. They focus on one thing at a time, and prevent potentially distracting information from entering our conscious awareness. So, for example, talking on cell phones or texting while driving can “hog” attention away from other vital signals, and the dangers of that are well known. Magicians exploit this phenomenon for our entertainment. We can train ourselves to minimize it to avoid the pitfalls of ‘tunnel vision.’

Will you continue to shift your attention in order to see all of the important things that are right in front of you?

To contact Jim, go to or email

Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports

Be sure to get Jim’s book ‘Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports’ by clicking this link or using the email above to contact Jim directly.

These TunneySides take issues from real-life situations and relate them as inspiration for the betterment of others.

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Sports can bring hope and optimism!

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS October 31, 2016 #617 Up next… Sports can bring hope and optimism!


After further review…It has been often said, “I always read the sport pages first, before I turn to the front page of my morning paper, since sporting events can give me an optimistic view of life and hope for the future.” That sounds understandable considering war-torn countries, continuous act of terrorism, widespread murder and violence, extreme poverty, homelessness, uncivil behavior—should I go on?

Unfortunately, some of the news that greets us in the sports pages these days concerns sports stars (as opposed to athletes—the distinction to follow) involved in drug use, domestic violence, and other egregious charges. Many such stars (and fans alike) tend to excuse this sort of behavior, claiming that social media magnifies allegations way out of proportion. It is the belief here that we must hold our sports stars to a higher standard. And here I draw the distinction: a sports “star” may possess special physical prowess, but an “athlete,” in addition to competitive skill, also embraces exemplary integrity, citizenship, sportsmanship, and character!

As another Major League Baseball season ends, we may wonder whatever happened to the ethos personified by “Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance,” the famous Chicago Cubs double play combo that Franklin Pierce Adams wrote so eloquently about over 100 years ago. Kids for generation after generation admired their athletic play, and their respectful approach to their opponents and the game itself. Too ancient for you? Has athletic style and grace gone “out of play?” The contention here is that it still exists, if you can get beyond all the media nonsense! In true athletic competition, you don’t hear opponents putting each other down, but more likely voicing their own T*E*A*M’s intention to win!

Moving to our political arena, present day candidates unfortunately are more likely to tell you (rightly or wrongly) how terrible or unqualified their opponents are, than they are to assure you what they can do for you. You don’t hear that from the sports world. More often than not you will hear athletes broadcast the qualities and abilities that their teams possess, and why you should “root” for them.

Will we ever get candidates vying for a position with the mindset of proclaiming their qualities in place of demeaning their opponents? Of course, it is Halloween, and amongst all of the ghouls and demons running loose perhaps there are a few with good character. Athletic character!

Will you put forth your best effort to adopt a positive view of the future?

To contact Jim, go to or email

Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports

Be sure to get Jim’s book ‘Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports’ by clicking this link or using the email above to contact Jim directly.

These TunneySides take issues from real-life situations and relate them as inspiration for the betterment of others.

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Helping others!

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS October 24, 2016 #616 Up Next…Helping others!

After further review…A longtime friend and former LSU basketball coach, Dale Brown, sent me this story: When Cpl. Kirk Keffer of the Bencia (CA.) Police Department spotted a lone, lanky black teenager walking on Industrial Way sometime after 11 p.m., he wondered what the young man was doing out there by himself. Industrial Way in Benicia is not known for being pedestrian-friendly. So he stopped his patrol car and called out to 18-year-old Jourdan Duncan, who was equally startled. Jourdan became nervous, but said to himself, “I haven’t done anything wrong, but… is he gonna cuff me?”

told Cpl. Keffer that he had just gotten off his packaging-line job at Pro-Form Labs in Benicia and was walking to his home in Vallejo. “That’s seven miles away,” Keffer said. Duncan said he had just graduated from Bethel High School, his car had broken down, so he was walking to save money, and didn’t want to burden others for rides. Duncan had figured it out to be a two-and-a-half hour walk; but with his headphones on, he said he could just power-walk it!
Officer Keffer was impressed with Duncan’s determination and drove him home, a 15- minute ride. “At age 18,” Keffer said to Duncan, “that’s a good work ethic to have, just keep doing what you’re doing.” When Keffer returned to the police station, he wondered how he could help Duncan and, perhaps, eliminate the stress of that five mile walk. Keffer set his project in action.

Polling the Bencia Police Officers’ Association, he convinced the board to buy Duncan a bicycle, but not just any bike considering the steep hills Duncan had to navigate. Through the help of shop owner, Greg Andrade, they came up with a $500 Giant-brand bike complete with a lighting system, brake light, and helmet.

Shortly thereafter at Pro-Form Labs, Duncan’s boss told him to go outside since “some policemen want to see you.” Again, Duncan’s heart was in his throat! Keffer and other officers were waiting; Keffer said, “We would like to acknowledge your hard work and dedication,” and then presented Duncan with the bike. Duncan’s expression of gratitude included, “The walk isn’t hard. It’s like a challenge – a challenge to see if I was willing to do whatever it takes.”

The TunneySide steps aside from its usual presentation of stories dealing with sports, to relate the impressiveness of Duncan’s challenge, coupled with police officers who help others every day. Yet when they do, these acts of kindness are so often overlooked. This story is dedicated to those men and women in our police force who go beyond to help others.
Will you be willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done?

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Be sure to get Jim’s book “Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports. Please use email above. These TunneySides take issues from real-life situations and relate them as inspiration for the betterment of others.

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