Don’t give up on others too soon!

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS May 1, 2017 #638 Up next..Don’t give up on others too soon!On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS May 1, 2017, #638 Next… “Don’t give up on others too soon!”

After further review…May is here and major league baseball is in full swing. Coaches are thinking about their Little League summer schedule. A friend sent me this coaching story:

“When I stepped in as interim coach for my son’s Little League T*E*A*M, I met Harry. He is every coach’s dream. He shows up for practice early, stays late and is enthusiastic.  However, he is also every coach’s nightmare, as he has neither the instinct nor the physical talent for the game. He was a thin and awkward kid with his best throw about five feet and terrified when batting.

When Harry tried batting, he would close his eyes each time the pitch approached. So, as we prepared to play a team that beat us 22-1 previously, I went to the dugout and got a different bat for him, and said, ‘I want you to use this bat. It’s a magic bat. All you have to do is swing and it will hit the ball.’ Harry was skeptical but said he would try.

Beating this overpowering team would be a challenge, but our kids were doing their best. When lo and behold, we came to bat in the bottom of the final inning with runners on first, second and third, bases loaded, and you-know-who was next at the plate That’s right – it was Harry. Our opponents had already seen Harry at the plate and expected an easy out. How easy you ask? Well, all the infielders were in close (from their usual positions), the left fielder was lying on the grass, and the right fielder was chasing butterflies (oh, you’ve seen Little League games).

The pitcher was confident, having faced Harry earlier. First pitch, strike one. Harry didn’t swing, but he kept his eyes open. Second pitch, he swung with his eyes open but missed. Strike two. Coaching from first base, I yelled, ‘Good swing, Harry. You can do it.’ Harry looked worried. The opposing coach yelled to his pitcher, ‘Fire it past him and let’s end this thing.’ The pitcher threw a fastball and Harry swung. The magic bat did its trick. It found the ball, which sailed over the shortstop’s head.

Harry stood in wonderment as I yelled, ‘Harry run, run Harry.’ As Harry ran toward first base, our entire T*E*A*M was cheering him on. Our three base runners were waiting at home plate when Harry, who had never run this far, finally crossed the plate. A Grand Slam! Tears were streaming down my face as I hugged Harry, who looked at me and excitedly said, ‘Coach, the bat – the bat did it!’ I said, ‘No, Harry, it was you who hit the ball, not the bat.’”

Will you not lose faith in others who may appear less capable, until…?

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To contact Jim, go to JimTunney.com or email Jim@JimTunney.com.

Jim’s books are full of inspiration and interesting stories. Please visit his online store to learn more.

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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Tanking!

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS April 24, 2017 #637 Up next…Tanking!

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS April 24, 2017, # 637 Up Next… “Tanking!”

After further review…Tanking, often defined as “the intentional losing of games,” has been associated over the years with professional tennis. Players who tanked were paid by gamblers. It is also a term used in the NBA (National Basketball Association) in more than one way. First, teams, who appear not to have a chance to win their division, either don’t play their star players or the players on the court commit unforced errors allowing their opponents to win. Thus, the tanking team finishes low in their division, thereby allowing it to be higher in the draft order. The NBA powers-that-be maintain this is strictly verboten. Hmmm.

Another version of tanking is occurring in this NBA season as head coaches are “sitting” their star players in games that are not important to win, i.e., that team has already qualified for the playoffs and is resting its stars. Often, when playing an inferior team, their bench players can play and beat a weaker team. Today’s fans are screaming loudly that they are paying top dollar for seats and demanding their favorite star players be on the court.

Coaches, who sit their star player(s), claim that the NBA is a long season and they need to rest those players so they will be fresh for the playoffs. Is that fair to the paying fans? Ok, so what if the coach does play his star player(s) in those meaningless games, and then because they are worn-out, the team is not successful in the playoffs. Is that what the fans want? The coach as well as the players on the team, want to win the division, the conference, and of course, the championship. Can you blame them?

A former NFL coach, who had a long and successful tenure with a Super Bowl victory, told me “You don’t get paid to coach, you get paid to win.” That same coach left coaching for several years because he said he “was burned out.”

Is it unethical for a coach to withhold a star player for him to be in his best shape for the playoffs? Do coaches today intend to lose a game near the end of the season because they have already qualified for the playoffs?

Herm Edwards was coaching in the NFL he said, “You play to win the game.” Is that still valued?

Will you log-in your opinion about tanking?

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To contact Jim, go to JimTunney.com or email Jim@JimTunney.com.

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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Monkey On Your Back?

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On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS April 17, 2017, # 636 Up Next… “Monkey on your back?”

After further review…We’ve all heard that expression about an athlete who “hasn’t won the big one.” It was applied to PGA golfer Sergio Garcia, until he won the 81st Masters tournament on April 9, 2017. That same expression was hung on Phil Mickelson until he won the Masters in 2004, after being on the PGA tour and qualifying 11 times before winning. “Lefty” has won the Masters twice since, 2006 and 2010. Is monkey on your back real?

What does that expression mean? Where did it come from? History tells us, it was applied to Sinbad the Sailor encountering the Old Man of the Sea (we’ll let you research that). It was often applied to someone addicted to drugs and unable to get rid of that disease. Years ago some said it applied to those who had to carry (on their shoulders) a heavy house mortgage. Hmm, maybe it wasn’t that long ago. Is it metaphorical? If you have ever played golf, you know it is real! In golf, an expression called the “yips” plagues a golfer and often seems like it will never go away! The movie “Tin Cup” starring Kevin Costner as Roy McAvoy, an amateur playing in the U.S. Open, experienced the yips and tried every trick to get rid of it.

Monkey on your back and the “yips” are similar since they both contain an unknown characteristic not necessarily caused by any action taken by the athlete. The monkey label is most often applied by the media or outside influences. You could also make a case for someone experiencing the yips. In both cases, it is not something the athlete did on purpose or even accidentally. When outside influences override one’s mindset, more likely it is that person has lost confidence.

In our book “It’s the Will, Not the Skill” Herm Edwards, former NFL player as well as head coach and now ESPN analyst. makes a strong case for: “You can lose your momentum, but never lose your confidence.” That loss of momentum could well have taken place in Garcia and/or Mickelson, but when they did shrug off outside rhetoric, they maintained the confidence that got them where they are now.

Will you log-in your thoughts on how either of these characteristics can be overcome?

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To contact Jim, go to JimTunney.com or email Jim@JimTunney.com.

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.

Posted in Sports, Tunney Side of Sports Columns | 1 Comment