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

Fair Play?

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS April 10, 2017 #635 Up next…Fair Play?

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS April 10, 2017, # 635 Up Next… “Fair Play?”

After further review…The topic of fair play in the sports world continues to be front and center in every frame on your television screen. That screen, perhaps, reveals more than it was designed to do. Several recent televised sporting events have raised concerns by the purists of sport. This is about the fairness of how the rules govern sports.

One involves the female golfer, Lexi Thompson, playing in the LPGA’s ANA Inspiration Tournament at the Mission Hills Country Club, Diana Shore Course in Rancho Mirage, California. Thompson missed a birdie putt on the 17th hole on Saturday. Before tapping it in for her par, she stopped and marked her ball. When she reset her ball, she mistakenly replaced it in a slightly different spot. Not only did Thompson not know it, but neither did her partners nor the rules officials present. However, some knucklehead watching at home emailed that mistake to tournament officials. Trouble is, the officials were not notified until the next day. They then penalized Thompson four strokes for the misplacement as well as for turning in an incorrect scorecard. Thompson went from three ahead to one shot behind. But those are the rules.

Jack Nicklaus, who has won more Masters’ Tournaments (six) than anyone in history said, “Once the round is over, and the scorecard is signed, the day is over; penalties shouldn’t be assessed after a round is completed.” As renowned as the “Golden Bear” is, changing golf rules may be beyond his influence.

A day earlier (Friday) and moving from Rancho Mirage to Dallas, Texas, we find yet another strange rule occurring in the semi-final NCAA women’s basketball tournament between Mississippi State University and the University of Connecticut. In the final two minutes of the game, with the score within a point or two, contact occurred between an MSU player and her opponent. No foul was called on the court, but replays showed that the Connecticut player was hit in the throat by the MSU player – it didn’t look intentional.
MSU took the ball downcourt to their basket and called timeout. Replays of that contact shown on the arena screen appeared that it could be ruled as a flagrant foul. The officiating crew, by rule, did review the play on video and ruled the contact a “Flagrant 1” foul awarding Connecticut two free throws and the ball out of bounds. Again, a ruling by video replay, not called by the on-court officials. Connecticut missed one free throw and MSU won the game!

Will you log-in your opinion on rulings of this type is any sport?

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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

Trust…Have We Lost It?

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On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS April 3, 2017, # 634 Up Next… “Trust – Have We Lost It?”

After further review…Merriam Webster defines the word trust as “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.” Trust is a big word in parent-child relationships, as it is in virtually all relationships. For me, that assured reliance became a top priority in my relationship with my mother and father. I never wanted to lose their trust. It’s a value that I hope to have transferred to my children, as well as the students I have been privileged to teach. It was also a value that I carried over to my officiating life.

I trusted players and coaches to live by the rules, and if they didn’t, it was my responsibility to see that they did. It often required throwing the flag, literally and figuratively. But it was much more than just penalizing a T*E*A*M for a foul or violation. It became my responsibility to ensure not only that the game was played by the rules, but that the spirit of the rules was understood by all. Further, it was my task to see that all violations were judged fairly. Did I make mistakes? Of course, I did.

As the nature of the game progressed, so did the job of officiating. As technology became available to players, coaches, and fans, every error took on added significance because of its increased visibility, and the demand for video review to achieve perfection took precedence over live judgment. Many, including game officials, were skeptical. I took the position that if video replay would correct an officiating error, then let’s move forward with it. No official wants an error to occur that would be detrimental to a player or team. I was supportive if the on-field official’s decision would continue to be involved.

For the 2017 season, the NFL has decided that the final decision of a video review will be determined by the NFL’s command center in New York. While the on-field crew referee will still review a given play (now from a tablet rather than the sideline video booth), the final decision will be at the discretion of the command center personnel. This procedure is detrimental to the state of trust long invested in the on-field officials. In effect, it can now be argued that the on-field officials can be challenged by a coach whose appeal to unseen arbiters says to the on-field official “I will go over your head to a higher authority to prove you are not important to this game.” Trust will be lost!

Will you log-in with your thoughts on video replay placed in the hands of NFL command center?

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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 NFL, Tunney Side of Sports Columns | Leave a comment