It Has Nothing To Do With Age provides self-help principles. The inspirational stories give concrete illustrations of overcoming many of life's challenges. Difficulties pertaining to depression, grief, divorce, and death are presented and worked through by the participants. Physical impairments, injuries, overcoming issues with weight, alcohol, and nicotine are also dealt with and resolved by the athletes.
This book provides a model on how to overcome some of the difficulties that confront all of us . Further, this read sheds a beacon of light on preventive measures for good physical and mental health. Research demonstrates that exercise is an important component in treating such ailments and debilitating illness such as depression, stroke, heart disease, brain or cognitive malfunction,and Alzheimer's disease.
I suggest that proper exercise can be used as a preventive measure for psychological, cognitive, and physical health as well. Follow my prescription and lead a better, more fulfilling, and healthier life.
This book provides a model on how to overcome some of the difficulties that confront all of us . Further, this read sheds a beacon of light on preventive measures for good physical and mental health. Research demonstrates that exercise is an important component in treating such ailments and debilitating illness such as depression, stroke, heart disease, brain or cognitive malfunction,and Alzheimer's disease.
I suggest that proper exercise can be used as a preventive measure for psychological, cognitive, and physical health as well. Follow my prescription and lead a better, more fulfilling, and healthier life.
Sunday, September 14, 2014
Wow! What a week for Ray Rice and the NFL. Even though the” incident” occurred months ago. It wasn’t until the video was released (a video is worth 1000 words) that the eruption began. Many are outraged and couldn’t care less about Ray Rice, the person. This doesn’t mean that they don’t want his blood. I’m not condoning domestic violence. However, does it take a video to facilitate a reaction? Where have all these concerned humans been when they first learned about the incident? It seems to me that because Ray Rice is a celebrity, who earns millions of dollars, playing an aggressive sport that perhaps many get on this social media bandwagon of phony outrage. Of course, national media delights in having this type of so called news. They can get anyone to give one opinion and then find another person with an opposing opinion. More entertainment, not serious news reporting.
One university professor Mark Edmundson believes that he has a solution regarding the personality orientation of athletes with their aggression and destructiveness tendencies. The professor believes that the great classics (Greek) should be taught, especially to athletes. The thesis is that the body and mind are related. The professor goes on to talk about Homer and the Greek word Thumos. According to Homer and the professor, Homer has glorified Achilles. Homer talks about Achilles’ thumos the word that’s associated with his bravery, courage and the urge for glory. In fact, Achilles was brutal and has a necrophilia personality orientation that was illustrated when he killed Hector in the battle regarding Helen of Troy. Hector told Achilles that the victor should honor the dead, with a proper burial. Essentially, Achilles disregarded that idea as his values were very different. In essence, Homer glorified Achilles (disgraced the dead Hector) behavior.
On the other hand, Plato in the Republic counters, Homer and suggests that we should not be afraid of fear. Also, knowledge and reason should rule the drive for glory or destructive necrophilia behavior. And the professor believes that Homer and Plato should be taught to today’s athletes. In doing so, the individuals learn to control their impulses and domination to rule both on and off the field. Apparently, Aristotle thought that sports is an opportunity to rid the self of our dangerous emotions by venting them in a game such as sports. Could that be a solution for combating Isis?
I don’t think it would hurt to teach our athletes about Plato and Homer. However, I don’t think the public or the NFL, for that matter would punish Ray Rice by having him read the Greek classics.
Edmundson’s article was found in the New York Times, August 17, 2014.
Posted by Frank at 6:55 AM
Sunday, September 7, 2014
Are the Oakland Athletics dead? Leading up to the All-Star game played in Minnesota, they were leading their division and had the best record in all of baseball. Shortly after that game, and at the start of the second half of the season, they made this blockbuster of a trade. They traded Yoenis Cespedes and a minor league player to the Boston Red Sox for pitcher Jon Lester, an outfielder Johnny Gomes. The hype at the time suggested that that blockbuster trade would just about guarantee the A’s winning the World Series.
Jon Lester was an outstanding pitcher for the Red Sox and won numerous times in post division as well as in the World Series. He was their ace and would be the Oakland A’s ace as well. Unfortunately, Lester was to become a free agent at the end of the year and intended to re-sign with the Red Sox. This meant that the A’s would have him for the remaining 2014 season, which would be approximately 2 months.
Supposedly, Cespedas would become a free agent at the end of the 2015 season at which time the A’s likely would not have signed him as a story goes. However, Cespedes was a home run champ at the All-Star game for two consecutive seasons. Not only that, he provided many big-time game-winning hits and made the spectacular throws from the outfield, which eliminated runners attempting to achieve an additional base. The fans loved him. When asked the question about his ability to hit, he said “I see the ball, I hit the ball.”
More importantly, Cespedes was the glue that provided team cohesiveness for the A’s. They loved him and he loved them as well. The team was unified and he made players better around him. While with the team, the A’s were fun-loving, relaxed and enjoyed playing. And a number of other players like Norris, Doolittle, Moss and Donaldson made their very first All-Star game. And then there was the trade.
Since the blockbuster trade, the Oakland A’s have been a very different team. The A’s have lost their cohesiveness (their tough glue that held them together). The players are discouraged, have become less confident, and are more anxious (pressing), which has affected their play. Their ability to hit and drive in runs have been pathetic (One can argue that with Cespedes missing, the players got worse). Their pitching is still good, but now the starting pitcher can’t afford to make any errors (like giving up too many runs) since they are not likely to win the game at the end. This means that their won and loss record is nowhere near what it was before the trade. They no longer have the best record in baseball; are no longer on top in their division; and they look like they are not even going to make the playoffs. Further, Cespedes has a batting average (.297), since the trade, which is now higher than any of his former A’s teammates.
Billy Beane you blew it.
Posted by Frank at 7:26 AM
Sunday, August 31, 2014
You are only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it."
– Robin Williams
A research study conducted by Kaiser Permanente, the National Institutes of Health, and the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation in Northern California took a look at depression and the aging brain. This article was found in the May 8, 2012 edition of the Wall Street Journal. This study was attempting to take a look at depression and determine whether it might cause dementia and Alzheimer’s disease or was it simply an early sign of memory loss and other problems associated with dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia; the second leading cause is impaired blood supply to the brain, resulting in what is known as vascular dementia. According to the investigators, depression, late in life can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s. The researcher added that there is a lot of debate as to whether depression is really a risk factor for dementia or if it just shows up. In this particular study, 13,535, 40 to 55-year-olds long-term Kaiser Permanente members were followed from 1964 to 1973. Their findings in this study suggested that there is evidence that late life depression is likely an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease and further chronic depression appears to raise or increase the risk of developing vascular dementia. They believe that an adequate treatment for depression in middle life could cut the risk of developing dementia.
Of course there are other factors that elevate the dementia risk and they include: 1. People with more belly fat in middle-age had higher rates of dementia when they reached old age 2. People who smoked in middle-age had an increased risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease later on, 3. People with high cholesterol in middle-age had an increased risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in old age.
First, from my experience, depression can be treated effectively with or without psychotropic medication. Cognitive behavioral therapy is one such method that helps an individual examine how one’s thinking might contribute significantly to a depressive mood. It is clear that many individuals get into trouble by some of the irrational notions they hold, as well as a defense mechanisms that they employ. Therapy can counter irrational notions as well as defense mechanisms. A few of the symptoms of depression include: 1. Poor appetite, or significant weight loss or increased appetite or significant weight gain. 2. Insomnia or hypersomnia. 3. Loss of interest in usual activities or decrease in sexual drive. 4. Loss of energy and fatigue. 5. Diminished ability to think or concentrate as well as indecisiveness.
Second, aside from psychotherapy, exercise as well as eating properly, can contribute to combating a depressed mood. For me, I waited or got serious with exercise at age 57. Almost 20 years later, I am pleased with my life. I cannot give all the credit to exercise. However, there are many advantages for exercise. Currently, I continue to run and work out daily (range from 1 ½ to 3 ½ hours). So I practice what I preach, and I walk the walk.
And, I recommend to keep moving, laughing, smiling, loving, bonding and appreciating for a more fulfilling life. By the way, my new book, “Bo’s Warriors” published by Triumph Books can be pre-ordered at Barnes & Noble. This book profiles Michigan football, with Bo Schembechler as the Wolverines head coach. Check out my other blog “ Bo’s Warriors” regarding Michigan football.
Posted by Frank at 7:39 AM
Saturday, August 30, 2014
Sunday, August 24, 2014
"To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle."
– George Orwell
– George Orwell
I recently read an article that linked autism to obesity in mothers in the Wall Street Journal, dated April 9, 2012. Researchers in this one particular study concluded that mothers that were obese are significantly more likely to have a child, either with autism or another developmental abnormality. They also pointed out that half the risk of autism, which is a condition characterized by poor social skills and repetitive behaviors, is genetic; while the rest stems from factors that include: older parental age, premature birth-birth complications, fewer than 12 months between children or failure to take prenatal vitamins. Obviously, the link between obesity and development disorders is worrisome because obesity has become so prevalent in the United States. Statistically, about a third of United States women, of reproductive age are considered obese.
Another researcher pointed out that the brain is quintessentially susceptible to everything that happens inside the mother’s body and that no one factor is going to be responsible for one particular case. In other words, there are a number of contributing factors. And of course doctors, right away think of meds like insulin for help or as a solution in potentially combating this disease.
Let’s step back for a moment and think about this information. Do you think that simply communicating this finding to an obese female is going to cause her think about getting pregnant or not getting pregnant, dietary? I don’t believe that information alone is the answer. I believe there a number of other considerations.
For one, obesity is often related to making poor nutritional and eating choices. And these decisions around eating began years ago. We know that every choice or every decision has consequences to some degree. It is very likely that poor choices were made without thinking realistically about all the potential or negative consequences. So, perhaps we have a history of making poor choices and not considering the consequences as one particularly important component. And likely, when an obese female of child bearing years receives this information she will likely have passed the point of no return regarding dietary choices.
This means that we also have to take into account the mothers own parenting history and her psychological development during her important growth years. Simply put, her personality and/or character develops as a result of the mothering that she received. And, during her early years, likely developed a character structure that can be considered an orally receptive personality type. With an orally receptive personality type, it’s going to be very difficult to confront and change her behavior and attitude regarding eating.
In essence, I’m saying that character development, rational decision-making with its consequences has already taken place by the time that some receive this negative (autism-obesity relationship) information. And if that’s the case, we can’t expect much change to take place during a child rearing years for obese females. Psychologically, any such program to confront this obesity problem must begin very early in the developmental cycle. Without an early-successful intervention, I doubt that meds are going to solve this medical-psychological by itself.
Because of the unity of the mind and body, I suggest moving, laughing, smiling, loving, bonding and appreciating as good starters.
Posted by Frank at 6:46 AM
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Sunday, August 17, 2014
Last week I posted comments regarding the Middle East. For this post, I am going to discuss narcissism and its implication for peace or lack of peace between men. Hopefully this additional information will provide more insight and help to more fully explain the psychological-social issues that exist today. In doing so, I refer and rely on Sigmund Freud’s concept of narcissism. First, the term relates to the famous Greek legend in which the beautiful lad Narcissus rejected the love of the nymph Echo. In doing so, Nemesis (goddess of revenge) was angered because Echo died of a broken heart. So Nemesis’s punishment was to have Narcissus fall in love with his own image, by looking into the water of this lake. Because of Narcissus self-admiration, he stared, at his reflection, for a while into the lake, and as a result fell into the lake and thus died.
Freud believed that the development of narcissism begins in early infancy (being unable to differentiate self from others) and continues its development throughout one’s life. And under optimal conditions, the individual is able to have productive relationships and love with others. This can be referred to as benign narcissism. Or, under extreme conditions a malignant orientation is developed and the person develops too much “I” and not enough “we” or “us” and has impaired interpersonal relationships. Freud postulated that we all retain our narcissism throughout life and it’s also important and necessary for our survival. With a positive development of narcissism, we are able to love others, work and live productively to further mankind. In other words, if we are too preoccupied with self (degree of narcissism too strong) this can limit and affect our interest, involvement and behavior in the outside world- other people. Scarcities or impaired relationships, disrespecting other cultures or others different from ourselves, economic discrepancies or injustices (lack of opportunity) having feelings of inadequacy and unreality are part of the profile of a narcissistic orientation. With unhealthy narcissism, the narcissist can be sensitive to criticism and his self-image can be attached and related to things, people, or ideas that society has determined as deviant.
The development of unhealthy narcissism can affect capacity for objective thought, prudent reasoning, ability to love, as well as engaging in socially acceptable behaviors. However, with insecurities, feelings of hopelessness, inadequacy, and powerlessness along with other a distorted narcissistic view of self, a narcissist seeks unconsciously external mechanisms for strategies to become more secure in a frightful and dangerous world.
Many unhealthy narcissist’s unconsciously look for a powerful leader, cause or group in order to fuse, identify, or become part of in order to acquire the strength and safety that one is lacking. So with insecurities and low self-esteem there is an unconscious attempt to be compensated by something or someone outside of oneself. When a striving for submission or submissiveness occurs, this often results in the development of the individual entering into and either being a masochistic (victim) or exhibiting sadistic (persecutor) behavior patterns. And of course, a masochistic dependency can be rationalized, as looking for love and or being loyal. Or, the rationalization of being a sadist, is based on the belief that” I know what’s best for you.”
So in the Middle East, for example, a terrorist group becomes a focus for participation in order to protect oneself from being alone in the frightful world. And, individual narcissism becomes or is transformed into group narcissism. Participation in group narcissism can result in becoming part of a clan, nation, race, or religion. So membership in the group can be rationalized as being better, more just, more pious, more religious, and more pure, etc. than the other group. The other group could be (Christians, Jews, infidels or any others) and are perceived as being inferior, dangerous, dishonest, irresponsible, immoral, etc. and thus hate, killing and destruction is therefore justified. In other words, the fanatical religious group can speak or justify its behavior in the name of God, but unfortunately it sounds like that God is the God of evil or hate
In becoming part of the group, the member believes in their righteousness, their superiority of religion and their outlandish tactics. It’s necessary for them to have some form of achievement, such as sending rockets toward civilians, beheading, or even capturing an Israeli soldier. In other words, the survival of their group depends on some achievement along with their belief that the groups mandate is of greater importance than their even their own lives. So it’s not surprising that we see and read about suicide bombings.
It’s not unusual for the fanatical to have a distorted sense of reality along with a narcissistic impaired self-inflation coupled with the lack of objectivity and rational judgment. We could say there is a thinking disorder, employing defenses of denial, rationalization interjection, etc. With a narcissistic injury (like a defeat), it’s not uncommon to see this group disrespect a flag, place of worship or religious documents of the other.
Clearly, “love thy neighbor as thyself;” “or love of thine enemy” is missing, and not part of the psychology or moral teaching equation at present. With the rise of individual and group narcissism, social media, radio and TV biases, economic inequalities, moral deficiencies, values and attitudes, these components interfere with the development of man becoming a more complete “human” being. Remember we all inhabit one planet.
Sunday, August 10, 2014
Yesterday, Linda and I drove up to Robinson Flat to greet the 2014 Tevis Cup riders. Robinson Flat is roughly the first 36 miles of this one-day hundred mile equestrian event. There, we were happy to see my former mare Gypsy, whose mount was Jim Mather. For more on Jim, I refer you to our TV interview with him: http://youtu.be/t8t2Th0ArPkhttp://youtu.be/eBupmHVZkOE . All in all were also happy to see Yam and Ilan Dvir ranchers from Israel. They were riding mounts provided by Michel Bloch. For more about Mr. Bloch, I refer you to his TV interview: http://youtu.be/lvAYFu87amQ
Among the front runners were Tom Johnson (see his TV interview http://youtu.be/wFP0ff__zyY ).
A little further back were Robert and Melissa Ribley and Kathie Perry. There TV interviews are as follows: Kathie Perry http://youtu.be/lQjC_2Q-g38 ; Dr. Melissa Ribley http://youtu.be/m_5UdeirPS4
When it was all said and done, competitive, Tom Johnson came in third place minutes behind the winner Heather Bergantz Reynolds. And for the first time in the illustrious history of the Tevis, two buckles were awarded to the two Israelis.
Congratulations go to all 107 finishers of the 186 starters. This is an historic event and more information is provided in my book “It Has Nothing To Do With Age.”
All in all, keep moving, smiling, laughing, bonding, appreciating and loving as it’s all good for you.
Posted by Frank at 12:38 PM
Friday, August 8, 2014
It is not surprising that there are many Palestinians who are victims. Also, it’s no surprise that Hamas has many willing supporters and doesn’t need to advertise for recruitment. Scarcity, economic and educational limitations, poverty and negative self-feelings provides a fertile breeding ground for developing a sense of hopelessness, hate, envy, aggression, death and destruction. Providing weapons and rockets with the illusion of open borders or killing infidels will not solve the problem psychologically. It will take more than a democracy or a free state to free the Palestinians from their emotional shackles.
Taking a look at the sadistic orientation of these individuals, we find at one extreme of the continuum members who join and become part of a terrorist group. These terrorists are also individuals that have what appears to have a want or a love of death and destruction. They seem to worship force and express a drive or wish to kill. We can call them necrophilia’s. We might even say their motto is something like “long-live death.” They are very different from the majority-those individuals who want to preserve life; who have a drive to survive, grow and become creative and productive. In other words, the majority want to build not to destroy or demolish.
Remember Freud talked about two instinctual drives in man-Eros (life living instinct) and Thanatos (death instinct). However, it’s safe to say that growing up with scarcities in a social-economic environment along with interpreting religious teachings in a sadistic way, being around much death, illness and injury, with fright, and anxiety as usual occurrences also plays a significant part in the development of the personality and character types that thrive on death.
It seems that these terrorists have a drive or orientation towards necrophilia, which seems to dominate their personality and seems to be stronger than loving and embracing life. It seems that these individuals appear to be attracted and fascinated by all that is dead like corpses and decay. Not only that their thinking and talk centers on destruction, killing, building bombs, obsessively plotting and planning. For these, they seem to love force and power and have a great capacity to kill-it seems to be their way of life. They clearly despise those that lack power and pray on innocents, unsuspecting children, women and older adults. They shamefully cover their faces, they hide among others, they live underground, and they even shoot their weapons in the air as some symbolic demonstration at funerals as to say “look at me, aren’t I strong and powerful, look what I can do.”
These necrophilia’s would rather lose their life like in a suicide bombing and are willing to kill or die for what they rationalize as injustice, revenge, religious meaning and economic gain. In fact, killing others is made easier because they don’t actually perceive and kill people as people. Instead, they think of their victims as actually innate objects or things. There also without conscience, and unable to concern themselves about others.
Thank goodness necrophilia orientation doesn’t dominate mankind. That does not mean you ignore this kind. As we know, there is much misery in the world and with misery, we tend to find these dynamics. No one ever said it’s easy, since we have a lot of work to do to make things better for all.
Posted by Frank at 9:53 AM
Thursday, August 7, 2014
The Palestinian people for quite some time have been a part of a socio- economic system that has been based on an agrarian as opposed to a highly mechanized industrialized society. Within their socio-economic system, there has been limited opportunities for personal advancement, abundance or psychological well-being. Educationally, there has been major issues in (what is being taught) and other significant deficiencies (limitations or limited levels of progressive ideas as well). I believe there exists roughly 50% of their working age youth that are unemployed, this coupled with a high birth rate results in massive poverty. The infrastructure is lacking, there is ineffective governing, along with a shortage of humanitarian agencies and programs. In other words, there is a major abundance of scarcities. And there’s a lot of human energy spent directed towards meeting basic needs (food and shelter) or exploiting others. There is an enormous population located in a small geographic area, which leads to a dire situation at best. Even having a larger geographic area-like a Palestinian state alone won’t solve the socioeconomic deficiencies.
As a result of these and others negative, social and economic factors, it is not surprising that many Palestinians likely feel inferior, insignificant and/or powerless in their lives. All a Palestinian has to do is to watch a television program or visit across the border, and they find a very different society that’s based on an industrial economic system, apparent wealth, universities of higher learning, a well running health system, a democratic form of government with many resources and individual opportunities for advancement with positive human growth and well-being. Everyone else seems to be living the good life. Psychologically, and unconsciously, it is understandable why many Palestinians have feelings of being inferior, not significant or irrelevant and week and powerless.
When an individual has emotionally vulnerable feelings of being (powerless, a non-entity and low self-esteem), this results and can lead the person unknowingly in the direction of fusing one’s self (identifying) with someone or some terrorist group more powerful outside of oneself in order to compensate and acquire a feeling of strength. This identification is a poor substitute and certainly doesn’t provide individuation, nor well-being. Instead, unfortunately, this identification can lead to a psychological striving for submission which often leads to developing a masochistic character orientation. Further, masochistic strivings generally lead to the development of psychological dependency within the individual .The person then employs internalization and develops a thinking process and style and tends to believe that he loves and is loyal to that significant other/group. The experiencing of feelings of inferiority and rationalizing leads to further irrational thinking. He believes that his state or position is entirely due to unchangeable, conditions or circumstances not under his control. As a consequence, he is unable to take responsibility for his position or welfare in his life. Or, experiencing these emotional vulnerabilities (feeling insignificant, powerless and inferior) could also lead a person in developing a sadistic orientation or character.
It is with the development of a sadistic character that the person is likely to engage and become an active and devoted member of a “terrorist” group. The motto of a terrorist group is to kill and/or maim and to be killed. It’s easy for this personality style person to rationalize their own death, like in a suicide bombing. They rationalize they are giving their life for a higher cause. These terrorists groups appeal to those that feel powerlessness, not important and are simply one of many insignificant or irrelevant individuals.
It is clear that within terrorist groups, the leadership psychologically and behaviorally has to have others dependent on them, have absolute control and unrestricted power over others-the ones that appear weak and needy. For the sadistic personality, it’s not enough to rule, but one has to be able to exploit, to suffocate, to control, to take advantage of, to squeeze and even to steal from those others. This psychology of the sadistic character in essence makes others suffer and is predicated on the wish for domination, as well as for power. It’s not unlike these leaders to convey ideas to their flock such as “I am in charge of you because I know what’s best for you; I have done so much for you and am entitled to take from you.” The sadist simply loves the masochistic because he can dominate him. In fact, sadism and masochism seem to go together. For every masochist, you will find a sadist and for every sadist there’s a masochist.
To be continued
Posted by Frank at 6:56 AM
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Some comments about the current Israeli-Hamas Palestinian conflict. In some ways, it appears that David (Hamas) is fighting Goliath (Israeli Defense Forces-IDF). It is well-known that Hamas stands for, and has a mission predicated on death (self or others), destruction, hate of Jews and infidels, along with advocating radical Islam. It seems that this gang does not have difficulty in taking money, arms or utilizing propaganda for their aims. And it doesn’t matter that the country they are attacking has a superior military. So, they wager an unorthodox or guerrilla warfare, to some extent. On the one hand, they fire advanced rockets and missiles and on the other hand they are like ants underground (wearing masks ),hide and come out of their holes (tunnels) looking for un-expecting prey. They do not have any difficulty attacking civilians nor do they follow the traditional or Geneva rules of warfare.
For this band of characters, their goals and aims are apparent based on their behavior. They do not seek peace, harmony, brotherhood or love toward others, but instead are motivated, by the dark side (aggressive and self-destructive) of human nature. Their thinking and their behavior seem consistent with the desire to kill or be killed regardless of the consequence or concern about others. It’s obvious that other peaceful (children, ill or elderly) Palestinians does not appear to concern them. The fact that a great number of casualties are mounting along with the massive destruction of infrastructure does not halt their military behavior, but instead motivates. It’s as if this Hamas group wants more death and destruction to come to themselves and/or other people, regardless.
Perhaps, Hamas justifies their behavior because of the victim portrayal by the Palestinians and they know they will receive huge sums of money and resources as a consequence. With more money and other resources they can continue in the future to pursue, act and rationalize their hateful ideology.
A word about the Palestinians-civilians in Gaza. On the one hand, these people are perceived as victims and innocent of the warfare. Yet, based on opinion polls and some form of election, Hamas was voted in, and these Palestinians support what Hamas is doing militarily. If you support by voting for and believe that your elected group is acting responsibly and in your interests, then there’s a question (are you really being a victim or are you employing irrational judgment?). By the way, according to The American College Dictionary : military “of or pertaining to the Army, Armed Forces, affairs of war, or a state of war; having the characteristics of a soldier; solidarity.” Further, the definition of militarism, “military spirit or policy; the tendency to regard military efficiency as a supreme ideal of the state and to subordinate all other interests to those of the military.” And the definition of militarist “one skilled in the art of war.” As a contrast, civilian “one engaged in civil pursuits; one first in our studying the Roman or civil law.”
A civilian can be defined by behavior and belief. A supporter of Hamas doesn’t have to carry a gun on his shoulder or wear a uniform. If the Palestinians get word that an attack is coming; have a tunnel beneath their home; have rockets shooting toward Israel in their vicinity, and choose to stay in that location, then this suggests they are complicit in and are on the same page as Hamas, then they are not victims but accomplices. This is because there are many in the Middle East, whose personality and character development are bent on following(submitting) to so-called leaders that have a vicious ideology(some irrational political or religious interpretation) , even though this results in a negative or harmful self-interest.
Belief and behavior are influenced by personality development within the social milieu. If one grows up hating others, then it is not surprising they turn to destructive, irrational and self-defeating behavior patterns. In our country and Israel for example, individuals have an opportunity to work, to love and to give or nurture others. Many Palestinians in Gaza have been on a self-defeating journey for quite some time. In order to change, much needs to happen. Taking personal responsibility for their lives might be possible if one can break through defenses of denial, rationalization and projection.
Posted by Frank at 8:00 AM
Sunday, August 3, 2014
"The power of imagination makes us infinite."
– John Muir
On October 9, 2014 will be the 59th Tevis Cup endurance race. This 100 mile international horse race takes place in the Sierra Nevada’s and is the granddaddy of endurance racing. This year, for the first time, Israel will be represented by two riders -a father and son. For some Tevis Cup background , the following was taken from Chapter 6 In “ It Has Nothing To Do With Age “ A short segment of that chapter reads as follows:
“The Tevis is a 100 mile one day endurance ride that begins at Robie Park near Truckee (north of Lake Tahoe) and ends at the fairgrounds in Auburn. The Tevis is rich in history and characters, and I’d like to share a bit of history about the ride in the man who started it. The following information is found in Bill G. Wilson’s book, “Challenging the Mountains: The Life and Times of Wendell T. Robie.”
In 1955, the Reno Gazette Journal in an article describing, “Some gentleman from Auburn are attempting a one day 100 mile ride out of Tahoe City.” Five riders; Nick Mansfield, William Patrick, Pat Sewell, Richard Highfield, and Wendell Robie said they could ride over 9000 feet of summit, go through deep canyons, and follow a trail that no other horsemen had traveled on such a ride. This ride had a lot of unknowns. One major question was, could a horseback rider travel and cover 100 miles in a day?
Robie claims that organizing the event would bring new home and property orders to Auburn and give valuable publicity to the town (Robie was a businessman in Auburn-he was into lumber, real estate, and later started a bank). He quoted the Vermont organizers of a 100 mile Green Mountain trail ride, who claimed that people keep fit by riding horseback. He also quoted Winston Churchill’s famous phrase, “The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man.”
Robie was influenced by pioneer Bob Watson, who was the last constable of Tahoe City. One of Watson’s mission’s in life was to re-establish the original Emigrant Trail over the Sierra crest. Long lost to overgrowth and lack of use, the trail was used by Native Americans as part of their seasonal migratory route, as well as gold miners in the late 1840s and early 1850s that traverse this rugged trail in their search for instant riches. Later on in the 1850s, the trail was also used by those leaving California in search for silver in the Comstock Lode in Nevada. Watson’s quest to redefine the trail was a proud endeavor and he enlisted like-spirits in finding the trail, including Wendell Robie, and a group of Auburn man who belonged to the Native Sons of the Golden West. In one of their trail- marking journeys in 1935, they took along a movie camera and captured the adventures of their ride, including pack horses breaking loose and scattering their goods over mountain ridges. In addition to finding and marking the entire trail, when he was in his 70s, Bob Watson erected a shrine dedicated to all the pioneers who had traveled this trail. The edifice was later named Watson’s Monument; located at the top of Emigrant Pass, and topped with an American flag that all the runners and riders pass by during their events.”
Good luck to all the riders and their steeds.
For more about this illustrious event and other extraordinary events and the people that compete, I refer you to my book. In the meantime, keep moving, laughing, smiling, bonding, loving and appreciating because it’s good for you.
Sunday, July 27, 2014
“Ever tried, ever failed, try again, fail better.” -Samuel Beckett
There was an article that I read in the Wall Street Journal, dated April 26-27, 2014 that got my attention. In that particular article, there was a discussion about envy, resentment and motivation. It was pointed out that for example, in Facebook there are many posts about showing off, getting promotions, going to parties, having vacations in addition to many unaffordable activities. In a study last August, researchers from the University Michigan found that the more people used Facebook, the less satisfied they were with their lives. Not only that, in another Facebook study, researchers found that social media users exhibited more rampant envy.
Envy can be classified as either malicious or benign. An individual person can either be motivated by another person’s success and strive to emulate it or employ putting down that person’s success-perhaps a rationalization about the advantage person in some sort of distorted comparison. This suggests that envy can either be a personal motivator in a positive way, or hinder the individual in a negative and self-defeating way.
A 2011 study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, found that when the researchers triggered feelings of benign envy as opposed to malicious envy in their subjects, these university students were motivated to want to study more and perform better on a test measuring creativity and intelligence.
So perhaps instead of having negative thoughts, envy and a poor me attitude, it might be better to ask oneself “what’s holding me back? I can perform too.” Once again, this article implies that it is important to know oneself and instead of externalizing or rationalizing one is likely to be better off with self-reflection and then changing the negative thoughts or ideas. More than likely it is the individual that holds himself back as opposed to something external. I am clearly not putting down Facebook. I’m using Facebook to illustrate that if you’re having difficulty with envy, look inside.
Perhaps, in a later post, I might address the implications and dynamics of “a showing off attitude used by many in social media.”
In the meantime, for your health keep moving, smiling, laughing, bonding, appreciating and loving.
Sunday, July 20, 2014
Our team, yesterday, competed in the world’s oldest triathlon. It was the 41st running of Eppie’s Great Race held in the Sacramento-Rancho Cordova area. I started the event by running approximately a 10K (less than an hour) along the American River, finishing at Sacramento State area. Then I met Tom Christofk and passed him the timing chip. He biked approximately a 20 K distance in less than 45 minutes. There, he handed the timing chip to Dennis Scott, who kayaked approximately 10K to the finish in less than an hour.
Dennis took the place of Tony Brickel who was home nursing his wife, Debbie from her horse mishap. For Tom and I, this was our first Eppie’s. For Dennis, this was his 35th or 36th Eppie’s. Our team did well in the 60 age division. We were all pleased. For me, running along the American River was a welcome change from trail running. I must admit that it is so much easier. Of course, running a short distance is another difference along with not worrying about tripping on rocks or roots.
For more about Tom, I refer you to our television interview: It Has Nothing to Do with Age or Gender: http://youtu.be/E7pVe44sqSA. Further, Dennis has an interesting story as well and you can watch his TV interview: http://youtu.be/mHXJSzfZZnI .
In any event, keep moving, smiling, laughing, bonding, loving and appreciating.
It was helpful to have my wife Linda, and Tom’s wife, Laura, as crew. Thank you, dears.
Posted by Frank at 8:06 AM
Saturday, July 19, 2014
Sunday, July 13, 2014
In Bo’s Warriors, you’ll find this Foreword written by Jim Brandstatter.
When I first heard about this book, I learned that the focus was going to be about mental toughness. One of my University of Michigan football teammates suggested that I would be a good source for Frank to talk about the subject. I have no idea what medication, my teammate was taking at the time that made him so delirious as to suggest to me, but the cat was out of the bag, and Dr. Frank and I began our journey.
We talked about my life. We talked about football. We talked about things totally unrelated to mental toughness. We talked about my college coach, Bo Schembechler. We talked about my friends on the team.
As time passed, and I spoke to some of the other guys who Frank had been interviewing, I realized that their experiences had been similar to mine. Not only that, but Frank was working these guys as hard as he was working me. Based on the conversations I had with my friends to help Frank with the book, I knew this had to be more than a how-to manual on developing mental toughness. It was morphing into something else. It was becoming a story of young men developing into young adults
I have often been asked to speak about my time as a University Michigan football player and the lessons I learned from the game, and my coach, Bo Schembechler. Yet I have never felt that I have done a great job of it. It was such a powerful time in my life, but is difficult to impart to an audience the incredible impact it has on me to this day.
I believe “Bo’s Warriors” can accomplish what I have failed to do in my speeches. What I think you have in your hands is a snapshot of history. It is a look back at this country in the late 60s and early 70s, is viewed through the eyes of us 18-to 21-year-old jocks. We were in the middle of a very unpopular war, racial tension was boiling, the drug culture was taking over college campuses, student unions were being occupied by militants… there was Woodstock, free love, free Angela Davis, burning draft cards, and burning bras. Meanwhile, with all this tumult bombarding us, we had to play football for a tyrant named Schembechler. How in the world did we survive? How in the world did we win a game? And how in the world did we learn lasting life lessons amidst the confusion?
That’s the story you are about to read. When we saw the world crumbling around us, we had a pillar of strength to grab on to. When our life began to spin out of control, we had a safe haven. We had football. In football we knew where we stood. We had Schembechler. Sure, he was a conservative taskmaster. He did not like the counterculture, and the counterculture despised him. He did not suffer fools; it was his way or the highway.
But he demanded more from us. We delivered-sometimes grudgingly, but we delivered-and amidst the chaos came order, success, and growth. In that moment, the group, through fate or providence, came together and something really positive happened. The blueprints were college football, but the architect was Bo.
Last Thursday’s guest on It Has Nothing to Do with Age or Gender was 100 K US champion, three-time Western States 100 winner, NCAA polo champion, etc. Tom Johnson. I think you’ll enjoy his interview.
In the meantime, keep moving, smiling, laughing, bonding, loving and appreciating. It’s good for you.
Friday, July 11, 2014
Sunday, July 6, 2014
The following post is a Foreword from Bo’s Warriors written by Mike Keller.
Moving from a small Midwestern town to a huge university and premier institution of higher learning, and athletics, how could I realize what was in store for me? While excited for the challenge, I was quite certain that someone entrusted with offering me a full ride Grant-in-Aid scholarship had made an awful mistake. I did not feel that I belonged among the nationally recruited football players who would become my teammates. My thoughts on that were, “Well that’s not my problem, I will get a great education and set my path firmly in a positive direction for a career in…. who knows what?”
All of that changed in December of my freshman year. Our head coach, Bump Elliott was being “promoted” within the athletic department, and we were to meet our new head coach, Bo Schembechler. In that first meeting, among other things, we learned from Coach Schembechler that we were soft and undisciplined, with a national reputation as underachievers. “Well, boys,” he said, “that is all going to change!”
In hindsight, that first Schembechler team at Michigan set the tone for a new and continued level of excellence for Michigan football. When youngsters decide to play for Michigan today, they know they will play in the greatest stadium in college football, in front of the most loyal fans and alumni, will prepare to play at the finest facilities, and be taught by a great coaching staff.
I would not change anything from my four years in Ann Arbor. There were great victories as well as crushing defeats. As young man, we were taught to live with both-not only as football players. But as people, with an eye for what the world would hand us in the decades after we played. Our dedication to our Alma matter is unshakable-as are the bonds of friendship we developed in competition and the driving force that mold us: coach Schembechler and his inimitable staff.
Every day. I was thankful for the men who will always be my teammates. I’m thankful for my coaches, Gary Moeller, Jim Young, to whom I have not expressed my appreciation enough over the years. Most of all, I’m thankful for having a chance to play for Bo, who helped all of us learn how good we could be.
My life’s journey has not been one anchored in the college of LS&A or Michigan Law School, although Michigan, academics taught me how to think and organize. My career has been in professional sports-as a player, scout, and administrator, providing opportunities to hundreds of young men and women seeking the dream of working in sports. As my career winds down, it is altogether fitting to look back at those early days, in Ann Arbor. When I wondered, “What am I doing here?” Fortunately for me, there were those who believed in me. It’s always a good time to pass it on.
Posted by Frank at 7:42 AM
Sunday, June 29, 2014
Congratulations to all the 2014 Western States finishers. Last year, 37-year-old Rob Krar finished second. This year he finished first and came close to breaking the course record in 14 hours 53 minutes and 22 seconds. The first overall woman was Stephanie Howe. Her time was 18 hours one minute and 42 seconds. Congratulations also go to Dan Barger, who finished in 20 hours 43 minutes 27 seconds and Meghan Arbogast, who finished in 21 hours 14 minutes and 48 seconds. No one older than Meghan finished in front of her. For more information about Dan and Meghan catch their interview on It Has Nothing to Do with Age or Gender.
This race could not be held without volunteers. Special thanks goes to the Auburn Lake Trails Aid station Captain Margaret Branick at mile 84, and all the other volunteers.
Remember to keep moving, because they do.
Posted by Frank at 7:46 AM
Saturday, June 28, 2014
Former University of Michigan coaching legend Bo Schembechler may or may not have been a student of the existentialist Soren Kierkegaard, Sigmund Freud, or other great thinkers of human nature . In short, Kierkegaard wrote about the anxiety of man, character, transcendence and the difficulty in becoming authentic. While Freud wrote about man’s personality development and character that essentially helps him develop strategies for dealing with his anxiety by employing defenses (denial, repression, reaction information, etc.) in order to distort reality. And, in the process, psychoanalysis helps man to understand his self-emotions, impulses, memories, capacities, potentialities, etc.
In December of 1968, Bo was hired to coach the University of Michigan football. So what did Bo do to begin his University of Michigan coaching in early 1969? In essence, he created additional stress and anxiety for his inherited (Bump Elliott’s recruits) but talented football athletes. He wanted to trim down the number of players coming out for practice. He wanted only the strongest mentally and physically. He did that by creating and imposing unheard of conditioning drills that were physical and some would say disrespected the individual. These drills were intense and challenged not only one’s body, but one’s mind. I doubt that any of the players, at first, understood what some called his madness. They had no idea what he was doing, and in fact many of them quit the team.
In fact, he might’ve been concerned, about the number of players leaving the team, since he put up the sign “Those That Stay Will Be Champions.” And then, the Pru man added to the sign “Those That Leave Will Be Doctors and Lawyers and Captains of Industry.” Bo understood that he created a test, and that those who passed were his boys. The players that stayed were able to deal with the additional stress and anxiety by creating and developing their own personality. In fact, Frank Gusich thought, and/or rationalized, something to the effect that “these brutal practice conditions are so unique that our team will be in better condition in the fourth quarter than those other teams.” Bo created the “survival of his fittest”
Further, as a result of his military experience, Bo was aware that soldiers, in foxholes, in war conditions dealt with stress and death by bonding together. The term band of brothers fits here. So, I believe that Bo Schembechler knew he was creating a team and his coaching methods exemplified that. He reinforced that team concept over and over. If you don’t believe me, just ask his warriors.
“This is a unique look at the world of college football in the late 60s and early 70s as told by some of my teammates and coaches at the University of Michigan.
We were so fortunate to be a part of something special that happened over 40 years ago, but still resonates today. A good read!
Go Blue! Dan Dierdorf June 2014
Triumph Books is publishing Bo’s Warriors and is scheduled to be released this fall.
Posted by Frank at 9:02 AM
Monday, June 23, 2014
Bo’s Warriors exemplifies Bo Schembechler’s transforming the historic University of Michigan football program into his own identity .This book also illustrates the evolution that took place among each of the players profiled (Mike Keller- All-American, College All-Star Game, Dallas Cowboy, COO of the Football League of America ; Frank Gusich-Wolfman and called Superman by the press; Fritz Seyferth- , scored four touchdowns against the Minnesota Gophers, ranked third in Big Ten conference in scoring, 21 years in the Michigan Athletic Department, Calgary Stampeders ; Thom Darden-All-American, All Pro, interception leader of the Cleveland Browns; Jim Betts- Meyer Morton Trophy Award, Blue -Gray All-Star game drafted by the New York Jets; Tom Curtis-Michigan record holder for interceptions, two Super Bowl rings, publisher; Jim Brandstatter, All Big Ten, elected to the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame, award-winning American sportscaster, best-selling author ; and Reggie McKenzie-All-American, All NFL, Reggie McKenzie Foundation) along with position coach Gary Moeller-defensive coordinator, college and NFL head coach. You’ll marvel at their lifelong journey of success and how each overcame failure moments.
Bo’s Warriors reveals Bo’s “secret” formula for success and highlights what the press called “The 10 Year War” between Bo Schembechler’s, Michigan’s Wolverines and his mentor legend Woody Hayes’ Ohio State Buckeyes-starting with their 1969 big game. Don’t forget that Bo inherited players, recruited by former Michigan All-American, Rose Bowl hero and Rose Bowl winner head coach Bump Elliott.
No doubt that Bo inherited an exceptional group of talented athletes from diverse racial backgrounds. He called Bump’s recruits” country club mentality “and then molded them into his mentally and physically tough Michigan football “survival of the fittest” battleground. It became clear that the sum of the individual players and coaches became the whole. How Bo accomplished this miraculous feat is a major part of the story. Another element of the story is that the players initially disliked, to put it mildly, Bo but later came to love him. In turn, the symbiotic- synergistic relationship between Bo and his team resulted in Bo becoming a legend and his players taken to heights they never contemplated before.
Learn about how these players from rural and urban environments blended together and in the process, became “ Michigan men.”, and one for all(the team) and all, for one (the team).
Some of the questions raised and answered in Bo’s Warriors include the following: 1. Why did Michigan athletic director Don Canham remove Bump and hire Bo? 2. What was Bo’s secret formula for success? 3. How did Bo’s team become mentally and physically tough? 4. Why was Bo’s success also, his weakness? 5. How did that 1969 Michigan football team upset the heavily favored number one team in the country, Woody’s greatest team the Ohio State Buckeyes? 6. How did playing for Bo affect and influence the long term personality style of each of his warriors? 7. How relevant are Bo’s life teaching methods and techniques for today’s warriors? 8. Why should” mental toughness” be taught and learned?
Don’t forget that the Western States 100 mile ultra-run is this Saturday. I wish all the runners good luck. Some will be moving faster than others, but they’ll be moving.
Posted by Frank at 11:32 AM
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Monday, June 16, 2014
This post comes from my manuscript, Bo’s Warriors- Bo Schembechler and the Transformation of Michigan Football to be published by Triumph Books towards the end of the summer.
This book would not have been possible without the assistance of a number of special individuals. I began with my wife, Linda. A few years ago, she was riding her horse Nails and I was running alongside them on the Olmsted trail. She said to me that I was mentally tough. The idea planted a seed in me, and I began researching it. Then, I Incorporated my model into my Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run in 2002. After refining the concept of mental toughness, I published and gave presentations about my experience with it during my Western States Ultra.
It was then that I began to think about writing a book. It was a natural extension to write about the mental toughness of football players-especially those from the University of Michigan. A very special thanks goes to Mike Keller. With his quickness, he took the ball running, with blazing speed. He then lateralled the ball to Jim Brandstatter. From there, the ball was passed to Reggie McKenzie, Fritz Seyferth, Thom Darden, Gary Moeller, and Jim Betts, and then taken by Frank Gusich for touchdown. Finally, Tom Curtis made an interception to save the win and the project was completed. He was a team accomplishment and credit goes to this unique group of men. My gratitude goes to them.
Tom Bast of Triumph Books move the Sierra Nevada Mountains to get this book published this year. And I can’t forget Mitch Rogatz, Adam Motin, and the rest of the staff at Triumph for making this project a reality.
PS I’m sorry to report that Tony and Debbie lost their border collie Hope last week. She was a neat dog and will be missed.
Posted by Frank at 7:55 AM
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
"We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results."
– Herman Melville
– Herman Melville
On Sunday the eighth, I ran a trail marathon in the Big Basin area of the Santa Cruz Mountains .That run finished at Waddell Creek at the Pacific Ocean. During that run, I thought about how much more difficult it is to run a marathon on the trails, compared to on the street. While running on the street, the runner has to look out and not trip on a curb or crack in the pavement. Of course, one also has to look out for and keep away from pedestrians and cars. I must admit that when I ran, at age 60, the Maui marathon, my first and only street marathon that that was fun as people were driving their cars honking horns, and screaming along the way.
While running Sunday, on that single track trail, I made sure to focus on the trail ahead. Sometimes, a runner can encounter honeybees or rattlers. I was pleased that I did not see any of those critters. However, there was a plethora of small and large size rocks that blended into the dirt trail along with protruding roots. And at times, I made sure that I could get underneath large overhead redwood trees that crossed the trail like a bridge. Other times, there were smaller trees laying across the trail like barriers. Also, a few places had real rocky areas that were extremely slippery and steep. I made my way carefully and did not fall or trip. Don’t forget that these trail races have elevation gains and losses. This particular run had about 3/5 of a mile of uphill and about a mile of downhill.
I was thankful that I was able to dip my hat into the Creek as the temperature was extremely warm. I was also pleased for the temperature change for the last 8 miles or so. Early on, during the run, I checked my heart rate monitor and was concerned that my pulse was so high, even while running the down hills. Not doing well in the heat, I made sure not to push myself and get into trouble with heat exhaustion. I continued to monitor .All in all, it was good and I and walked frequently, especially up the hills. I must have done everything right, since I didn't cramp or have severe symptoms from heat exhaustion.
On the other hand, Tony tripped, fell down and developed cramps while blocking the trail. Other runners looked at him and he told them that he’d be all right. Well, he got up and continued running without any other incidents. Later on we talked about Lebron James and his cramping up during the first game against San Antonio in the finals. Tony called him an unflattering term and said he wasn’t tough. He said all James had to do was run up and down the basketball court, while he ran 31 miles. On top of that, Lebron James fell to the basketball floor and his teammates picked him up. No one picked up Tony.
All in all, it was good as we stayed with ride and tie friends in Santa Cruz. George and Judy drove us to the start, met us on the trail and was there at the finish. Over the weekend we told ride and tie and running stories. George is a small animal vet, has artificial hips and still runs and rides.
It’s important that we keep moving, laughing, smiling, loving, bonding and appreciating.
Posted by Frank at 7:22 AM
Monday, June 9, 2014
"You desire to know the art of living, my friend? It is contained in one phrase: make use of suffering."
– Henri Frédéric Amiel
– Henri Frédéric Amiel
Last Thursday, Jeff Windeshausen was our guest on our TV show It Has Nothing to Do with Age or Gender. I first met Jeff and Tony at the Mustang classic in 1997. Jeff and Tony were ride and tie partners and I was competing in a limited distance endurance ride. As it turned out, I was camped next to them and got introduced to the sport of ride and tie.
Jeff was born in Belgium and told us about growing up during the war years. In fact, on one side of the street where the German soldiers and on the other side of the street where the American soldiers. His story was timely, because the very next day, June 6, was the D-Day anniversary. You can catch our show: http://yo
On June 8, Tony and I have entered a 50 K trail run at Big Basin in the Santa Cruz Mountains. During this run, I switched and ran the marathon instead. This leads to an article found in the Wall Street Journal, dated December 10-11, 2011. There was a study of 543 men and women ages 25 to 75, who took a test that involved a series of arithmetic problems and being rewarded either $.25 per correct answer or getting $.50 per answer if they beat the score of a randomly chosen fellow participant-but nothing if they lost. The authors of the study were measuring, competitiveness across the lifespan. With this sample, the researchers found that men (over half), compared to women (over a third) chose the competitive track. It also found that both sexes increased will to compete up to age 50, and then it started to decline.
How do the competitive findings of this particular study apply to you? Of course, this particular study had to do with a cognitive-arithmetic skill.
As far as running (physical skill) a 50 K, I realize that my goal is to complete the event. It seems that there are less and less participants in my age group. I feel good when I come in first in my age group, but that is not my goal.
I ran my first ultra-marathon at the age of 59. From the beginning, my goal was to complete these events as it is today. Additional goals regarding running these events include health reasons, running with Tony and knowing that I can. As long as I am relatively injury free, I’ll continue.
In the meantime, keep running, smiling, laughing, loving, bonding and appreciating.
Posted by Frank at 12:10 PM
Friday, June 6, 2014
Monday, June 2, 2014
I have received word from my editor that I am no longer permitted to submit any more new material regarding Bo’s Warriors. That is a new experience since I have been thinking and writing about this project for roughly the past 3 years or so. It was sometime in or around 2011 that I first began thinking about mental toughness. In fact, Linda was riding her horse Nails and I was running alongside them on the Olmsted loop when she commented on my mental toughness. We talked about that concept and that was” it” for me.
I then began researching and writing about the idea. I developed a model of mental toughness and applied it to my running of the Western States in 2002. I then wrote a couple of articles regarding mental toughness for running magazines, and gave a number of presentations regarding the same.
I then progressed to thinking about writing a book about the subject. I met Mike Keller, an All-American football player from the University Michigan who played for the Dallas Cowboys. He liked my idea, and told me about a teammate from the Cowboys named Walt Garrison. Walt Garrison, the cowboy from Oklahoma, played football for the Cowboys with a broken collarbone. Mike said Walt is a really tough dude. As it turned out, Linda’s sister was a sorority sister of this cowboy’s future wife and knew about their struggles while they were in college (her family was wealthy & Walt just a football player).
Mike also talked to me about Jack Youngblood, the All-American from the University of Florida who played with the Los Angeles Rams. Jack played with a broken bone in his leg and was legendary for his toughness. After talking with Jack and Gil Brandt, Cowboy GM, I decided to limit my focus. I changed gears and decided to write about the 1969 Michigan Wolverines with first year head coach Bo Schembechler.
Besides, Mike Keller, I interviewed Jim Brandstatter, Frank Gusich, Thom Darden, Reggie McKenzie, Jim Betts, Tom Curtis, Fritz Seyferth and Coach Gary Moeller. In essence, this book tells the story of the University of Michigan, Bo Schembechler and these 9 men.
As it turns out, the University of Michigan erected, last month, its first statue ever on the campus in front of Schembechler Hall. They now have a statue of Bo. This fall, the same 1969 team is having their reunion. My publisher Triumph Books is planning a marketing blitz in Ann Arbor, to coincide with this history.
I could have never predicted any of this back in 2011. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, during the full moon in June will be the Western States 100 ultra-run. And this coming Sunday, Tony and I intend to run 50 km run in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Likely, on the back cover of Bo’s Warriors will be this blurb. "Bo Schembechler was one of America's legendary coaches. For over twenty years he led the University of Michigan to greatness. Frank Lieberman has done an outstanding job returning us to the days of Big Blue's finest hours. Through some of his greatest players you will come to understand what made Bo and his warriors so special.
Peter Golenbock, author of Landry's Boys and Driven (with Donald Driver).
Do not forget to keep moving, laughing, smiling, loving, bonding and appreciating since good things are yet to come.
Posted by Frank at 10:22 AM
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
I recently received a phone call from Joan Sholl about Jack’s passing. I was shocked when I heard the news. She told me how how pleased Jack was in meeting me. The reverse is true for me as well.
I first met Jack about five years ago, in 2009 while researching for my book It Has Nothing To Do With Age. I found Jack to be intelligent, warm, caring and a very interesting man. He was certainly passionate and knowledgeable about his sport rowing and about being a descendant of the American Revolution. We had many conversations and meetings over the past five years. I got to know him and his wife Joan very well.
Jack’s life, was extremely interesting. In fact his death has a peculiar twist. Being patriotic, Jack wanted to enlist in the service during World War II at the age of 17. His parents, would not give permission. So Jack did the following. He dropped out of high school and went to work in the shipyards for a year and then enlisted. It is believed that his cancer was caused by that asbestos poisoning. The Second World War did not kill, but being around asbestos did.
I remember visiting Jack and seeing paraphernalia dating back to the Civil War. I attended a Sons of the American Revolution with Jack and learned more about our military history. In fact, Jack and I talked at length about American history and how the schools were omitting significant information about our past. As a volunteer, Jack spent his summers in Philadelphia, giving tours and speaking about our country’s founding, with the National Park Service. It wasn’t uncommon for someone in the audience to ask Jack if he taught history in college. Jack’s reply was no, I worked for IBM for 29 years.
Jack has traveled all over the world and has been a great spokesman and representative for our country. He knows royalty, and yet in many ways he was just a good, warmhearted individual. I miss his stories, our conversations and his friendship. Although not a physically tall man, Jack was mentally tough. I feel sad to have lost another friend.
It is hard to believe that I just can’t pick up the phone or email Jack again. Death has a finality that’s unlike anything else .It’s so different. Thank goodness, fond memories remain.
I miss you Jack.
Posted by Frank at 8:38 AM
Monday, May 26, 2014
"Great minds have purposes, little minds have wishes."
– Washington Irving
– Washington Irving
Last Saturday, Sue Smyth put on a ride and tie in Cool, California. It was neat, seeing old friends at this event. In fact, former ride and tie partners, Tom Christofk and Dan Barger where there. They were quite the team when they competed. In fact, Tom, and his wife, Laura, were two of the players that influenced my moving from the Bay Area to Cool. For more about Sue, Tom and Dan, I refer you to their TV interviews: Sue http://youtu.be/8PkfK6fpWBY; Dan http://youtu.be/jm1X7pWZg-8and Tom http://youtu.be/E7pVe44sqSA.
I also talked with Gunilla Pratt a serious ride and tie competitor from Southern California about being interviewed, along with Veterinarian, endurance rider and ride and tie competitor Michelle Roush. Look for their interviews this fall.
On Sunday, Tony and I ran from Forest Hill to Drivers Flat, the middle day for the Western States 100 mile ultra-run. It was good for Tony, and you can check his Strava running time. For me, I didn’t do well with the 90+ degree temperature change. And, I knew it was going to be hot. So I ran with a heart rate monitor. Because of the warm weather, I wanted to monitor how I was doing in the heat. I knew that would be a good thing since I don’t do too well at this point in the heat. Sure enough, my heart rate was raised more than I would’ve liked. Aside from a high heart rate, I started to lose my voice, which is another symptom.
Craig Thornley ( http://youtu.be/e-BmOb2bw5k)race director for Western States caught up to me about the 17 mile marker or so. Concerned about my condition, I asked him if I could get a ride to the bus. He told me that I could ride with him back to Drivers Flat. So at that aid station, I drank Coke, cold water and placed ice under my cap. It took quite a while for my resting heart rate to subside, but it did.
At the first aid station, Western States legend Tim Twietmeyer was helping out the runners. For more information about Tim check out his TV interview (http://youtu.be/wr2v3D4JreU). Also at the aid station was Ann Trason another legend. This woman was the ultimate women’s runner as she owned this hundred miler. I’m pleased to announce that she’ll be interviewed this fall as well.
At the second aid station, Meghan Arbogast female phenom was helping out. See her TV interview: http://youtu.be/bgKMyPbkJJg. At the top of Drivers Flat, Dan Barger was helping out. I told him that I would meet him at ALT aid station some 84 miles into the run, like I did last year.
On the ride back to Forest Hill, I sat next to a young woman who ran the Boston Marathon last year as well as this year. Luckily, she had finished her run before the explosion last year. This year she said the support for the runners by the spectators was phenomenal and she enjoyed herself like no other marathon.
Be sure to keep moving, laughing, smiling, loving, bonding and appreciating.
PS Another female running phenom Mo Bartley also ran http://youtu.be/Xi0D3EPHmx8. This post is really about phenomenal people who happen to be ultra-runners. To enhance your understanding, watch their interviews.
Posted by Frank at 10:39 AM
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
"Success is blocked by concentrating on it and planning for it.…Success is shy — it won't come out while you're watching."
– Tennessee Williams
– Tennessee Williams
On Tuesday, Tony and I were on the trail. While on the trail, Tony told me about his Coloma run last Saturday. During that particular run, he mentioned that he caught up to another runner. This younger runner attempted to keep in front of Tony, but was unable to do so. For Tony, that was his “glory”-being able to beat another competitor. He also told me about a second record that he holds per posting on Strava, which also delights him.
During our trail experience, we also talked about creating a documentary as Tony recently figured out a problem related to perfecting our Skype interviews. Tony enjoys the challenge of solving various technical issues that confront him. He works hard at perfecting and thereby eliminating problems. We both laughed as we talked about beginning new careers.
I told Tony about Alfred Adler, the psychiatrist from Vienna. Dr. Adler, once a disciple of Freud, developed his own theory of personality. While Freud assumed that man’s behavior is motivated by inborn instincts, Adler emphasized social urges, consciousness and the development of the ego in his theory. In Adler’s theory, he talked about a striving for superiority. Adler thought the final goal of man was to be: 1. Aggressive 2. Powerful and 3. Superior. And a person attempts to become superior by developing his intellect or in achieving muscular strength. And that the details of his existence are exemplified by his habits, his recreations, his daily routine, and his relations to his family, friends and acquaintances. Practically everything he does, man does with an eye to this ultimate goal. So man perceives, he learns and retains what fits in his style of life. Further, Adler also talked about a creative self. This creative self means that man makes his own personality and that he constructs it out of both heredity and experience. It is the creative self that gives meaning to life. It creates the goal as well as a means to the goal.
Tony’s quest to continually to improve his running is paramount as evidenced by his training and his keeping track of miles, times, elevations, etc. Further, his motivation to overcome, especially technical software challenges is also clear. So if you talked with Tony, you would understand that. His life space correlates with him as being the master and not the victim of his fate. In this regards his personality style corresponds to Adler’s way of thinking.
So, in part, you’re likely to find Tony either on the trail, in his office or around his property, either fixing or making things better for all.
He keeps moving, laughing, smiling, loving, bonding and appreciating.
Posted by Frank at 1:43 PM
Monday, May 19, 2014
"No man can think clearly when his fists are clenched."
– George Jean Nathan
– George Jean Nathan
As we know, Freud’s theory of personality, postulated two main drives or instincts. One was the life instinct and the other the death or destructive instincts. He believed there was an interplay between the two instincts .They could fuse together, neutralize each other, or even replace one another. Further, there was an aggressive component in which this aggression is either turned outward against some other substitute or turned inward against the self as in self-destruction. Freud also believed in psychic energy. And that the person seeks to gratify needs (when a need is met it’s pleasurable and when a need is not met, it creates tension). Further, Freud believed that personality is largely governed by the necessity for gratifying needs by means of transactions in the external world. So the surrounding environment can either provide mechanisms (like food) for gratification or contain regions of danger and insecurity. In other words, it can either threaten or satisfy. This means it can produce pain and increase tension or bring pleasure and reduce tension.
Many individuals say that, according to our Constitution, they have a right to bear arms. And of course we have this industry that easily supplies bullets and guns. Sometimes we hear it’s a constitutional right. Another times we hear it’s about protecting our family. I would say that a main issue is neither about our Constitution nor protection, but it is about anxiety,aggression, and insecurity. Also, it’s about this death instinct and the perception and belief that the environment-other people are dangerous and threaten us. So this aggressive component of the death instinct is potentially turned against others.
We hear many stories in which some young innocent child becomes the victim of a loaded weapon in the home. Time and time again we hear about some individual killing others, and then turning that weapon upon himself.
Yes, the environment can be dangerous. Freud recognized three types of anxiety. For one, reality anxiety is based on real dangers in the world. On Thursday, Linda, Nails (her Arabian) and I traversed the trails with the temperature expected to reach triple digits. Linda heard on the radio that because of the dramatic change in warm weather, there have been a series of rattlesnake bites. Okay, that makes sense. So we made it a point to be alert on the trail and also to avoid going through tall grasses. I did not bring with me a handgun to shoot a rattlesnake. I am happy to report that we didn’t see any rattlesnakes either.
On Saturday the 17th Tony and I ran a 10 mile trail event for Juvenile Diabetes Research. I believe this was our third consecutive year. I’m happy to report that we both received first-place medals and our times were faster than last year. A week from Sunday, we are running the middle day of the Western States training run going from Forest Hill to White Oak Flat( about 21 miles).
See you on the trail and remember to keep moving, laughing, smiling, loving, bonding and appreciating.
Posted by Frank at 9:04 AM
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
“Ruin and recovery are found within.” -Epictetus
Have you ever wondered why so many people are overweight? There is so much information about healthy choices that are available to everyone. Yet, people continue to make poor health decisions regardless. Perhaps, Freud’s theory of personality has an answer.
Freud postulated two main drives or instincts. There was the life instinct and there was the death instinct. He believed that the ultimate goal of life, was death. He also thought that this death instinct or wish was, of course, unconscious and had an aggressive component to it. This drive could either turn against itself and/or against others.
We know that oral gratification (lips and tongue) and eating are in fact pleasurable and related to the life instinct. We also know that people eat when they are hungry and for nutrition. However, it is obvious that overweight people consume great quantities of food that far exceed their need for hunger or their nutrition deficiencies.
It seems that the overweight individuals are driven to eat in unhealthy ways despite knowing whether it is right or wrong for them. Perhaps it is their death instinct that has emerged and gained control over their life instinct behavior. We know they are essentially eating themselves to death and to an early grave. One certainly can argue that their death wish is unfortunately dominant. And, their aggressiveness is turned inward on themselves.
So underneath the outward, smiling jolly ness, these individuals are driven in a very unproductive way. They might tell you they’re happy, but they are obviously fooling themselves. So all the literature about healthy eating, and exercise goes for naught. That’s why someone telling them to change falls on deaf ears because they are driven by an unconscious instinct.
Hopefully these points are food for thought. In any event, if you can, keep moving, smiling, laughing, loving, bonding and appreciating.
Posted by Frank at 8:24 AM
Monday, May 12, 2014
Well I have good news. Last week I signed a contract with Triumph Books to publish my manuscript titled “Bo’s Warriors” I am very pleased to say the least. Triumph books publishing company is a leader in the sports world. And I am happy to be on their team.
My book is about sports, life, motivation, mental toughness and my philosophy. Some 45 years ago, in 1969, a miracle , many would say, happened on the turf at the Big House on that cold November Saturday when the Michigan Wolverines football team beat the heavily favored number one -ranked Ohio State University Buckeyes. Coach Bo Schembechler and position coach Gary Moeller in their first year bested Bo’s mentor Woody Hayes. Thus, the infamous 10 year war began. Bo’s Warriors is an in-depth view of the secrets behind the success of Bo’s Wolverines.
This is how the transition of Wolverine football began. Newly appointed athletic director Don Canham hired Bo Schembechler. That was significant in part because Canham knew that Bo would bring in diverse racially talented athletes. So the interracial base of Michigan football, was firmly established. Coach Schembechler then embraced his racially diverse group of young men and established the cohesiveness of the team, the team, the team. He taught his players that they could not be divided because they were all one and part of the University of Michigan football team. As a team captain senior, football legend, an All-American. Jim Mandich took it upon himself and made sure the entire team partied together.
This 1969 team had a 3-2 record after its first five games. The sixth game, in fact, at halftime. The Wolverines trailed the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The intense, excitable, type A personality coach did not scream, and his warriors. Instead, he calmly told them they were the better team and not to lose the opportunity. The players do not lose the opportunity. For that game and the next 24 games(10 game season), their record was 24 wins and one loss. The miracle and transition was established on the last game of that 1969 season. Michigan 24-Ohio State University, 12.
For more insight, secrets of Wolverine success and player and coach histories enjoy the details of the eight Michigan Wolverines (Coach Gary Moeller, Jim Brandstatter, Fritz Seyferth, Jim Betts, Reggie McKenzie, Tom Curtis, Thom Darden and Mike Keller).
Some benefits of reading Bo’s Warriors include the following:
1. How Bo created winning football
2. learn about the mental toughness of successful men
3. learn about how the University of Michigan experience changed(impacted) lives
4. learn about the positives of playing the brutal game of football
5. Challenge the “dumb jock” stereotype of football players
6. learn how racial differences got mitigated for the Wolverines
7. Learn about the lives of nine successful men
8. learn about the relevance of 1969 to today
More to follow on subsequent posts. In the meantime, keep moving, laughing, smiling, loving, bonding and appreciating.
Posted by Frank at 8:50 AM