Saturday, December 20, 2008

On The Tunney Side of the Street #208, Dec. 22, 2008 (

After Further Review A recent newspaper article discussed how superstitions might have a controlling effect on one’s physical performance in a game. Such acts as a baseball player stepping out of the batter’s box to re-strap his Velcro batting gloves (every time!) before the next pitch, or a player wearing his college shorts underneath his professional game shorts. What for? Luck? Ridiculous! Or is it?

Many basketball players bounce the ball a number of times (usually 2-3-4) before shooting a free throw. Baseball players step on a base bag, others step over the foul line – not “on” it – when running to their positions. As an NFL referee, after the coin toss, as I would take my kickoff position in the end zone, I would stand with my back to the goal post and tap it with my hands behind me! Was it for “luck” or just reminding me to focus on my task at hand?

Most teams say prayers before a game. Are they asking God to help them win or to help them play better or just to play free of injury? Does praying help? If Notre Dame, a Catholic University, is playing Boston College, also Catholic, and both teams/schools use similar prayers for victory -- how does God decide whom to help? Or Notre Dame vs. Brigham Young University , a Mormon school, does God play “religious favorites?” I love the story about a Rabbi and a Catholic Priest at a baseball game. As the batter stepped into the batter’s box, he crossed himself, (made the sign of the cross); the Rabbi said to the Priest, “Does that help?” The Priest replied, “Not if he can’t hit!”

Is prayer considered a “superstition?” The opinion here is that prayer is talking to yourself through God – whoever you determine God to be – to help you pull together all your inner strengths in order to give your best performance. Does God really care if you “win?” God has a lot more to do than care whether or not you win! Superstitions, including even prayer, provide you with a purpose, a routine – an inner strength if you will. And that word – WILL – is the key.

In every performance – be it dancing, singing, playing an instrument or in sports, focus is the key; assuming, of course, that you have done all the necessary preparation to be ready – physically and mentally - to give your best effort.

Will you practice a routine – “game plan” if you will – to focus on giving your best performance?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

On The Tunney Side of the Street #206, Dec. 8, 2008 (

After Further Review The Josephson Institute recent survey ( reported that 30% of U.S. high school students have stolen from a store. Michael Josephson, a colleague and founder of the Institute, was “most dismayed” by the findings about theft. His Institute surveyed 29,700 students at 100 randomly selected high schools nationwide and found, in addition to the above, 23% stole from a friend or family member; 64% “cheated on a test” – 31% more than once; and 36% said they used the internet to plagiarize an assignment.

Despite all that, 93% of those students said they were “satisfied with their personal ethics and character” and 77% responded that “when it comes to doing what is right, I am better than most people I know.” Evidently those students weren’t too good at math. If 77% said they were “better than most” – “most” comes out to be 23%! Huh?

Is there any relationship of these students’ behavior to the arrest of New York Giants WR Plaxico Burress on gun charges? ( Burress, accidentally shot himself in the right thigh with a .40-caliber Glock gun he was “packing” - without a permit - at a Manhattan (New York) night club about 1:00am recently. (“Nothing good happens after midnight” see page 55 in “It’s the Will, Not the Skill”.) “Accidentally?” – “Shot HIMSELF?” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said “It would be an outrage if we didn’t prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.” ( Bloomberg continued, “People who live in the public domain, make their living because of their visibility, are role models for kids.” Benjamin Brafman, Burress’ attorney said, “Plaxico is standing tall. He is a mature adult.” Huh?

There is an obvious disconnect between the Mayor and the attorney. One doesn’t “stand tall” or be a “mature adult” with this example of stupid behavior. The NY Giants have suspended Burress for the rest of the 2008 season without pay; Burress was signed to a $35 million contract earlier this year ( Did Burress’ pinhead behavior START with petty theft or not getting caught cheating on a test?

“Pervasive apathy” (as Josephson calls it) - a blasé attitude about ethical shortcomings - is far too rampant in today’s impassive society. How do we help young people understand that “packing” may start with those “minor” offenses? How can you help? Well, you may not be able to do all the world needs, but the world needs all you can do.

Will you take thoughtful, positive action to do what you can to correct this concern?

For more information about Jim Tunney, please visit his website:, or if you would like to respond to this message,
please send your email to

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

On The Tunney Side of the Street #205, Dec. 1, 2008 (

After Further Review The Tennessee Titans ( have been the AFC South’s most productive – in terms of wins/losses – this 2008 NFL season. Their impressive, undefeated record of 10 wins and 0 losses is a rare happening in the parity that the NFL hopes to accomplish with its draft system. Impressive – until the New York Jets (, with new-found leadership in QB Brett Favre (, showed up in Nashville (home of the Titans) and beat them 34-13 in the 12th week.

That same weekend, our local community college T.E.A.M. was playing a Bowl game with an equally impressive 10-0 record. An upstart opponent won that game 33-31. So the NFL Titans and our college T.E.A.M., both 10-1, didn’t go through the season undefeated. A shame!

Or is it? Well, for starters every T.E.A.M. wants to win the “last one.” For the Titans, they have more to go – so winning the last one is still a possibility. For those college players, whose season is over and have worked more hours than one cares to count, what is next? Is losing a game all that important? Sure it hurts, but you need to realize that it can, and will, strengthen you. You can learn as much from losing as you can from winning. Maybe more!

When we win, we don’t seem to take our time and effort to analyze why we won, ensuring that our next effort will show improvement. Yet when we lose, we spend countless hours analyzing why we lost.

“Success doesn’t always go to the stronger or faster man, but more often goes to the one who thinks he can” – so goes the poem. When you win, you believe you will always win. Losing, however, can create doubt about your ability to win again. That is the essence of sports – believing in your ability to be successful. If sports teaches anything – and I strongly believe it does – its value lies in 3 areas: 1) learning to believe in yourself and your abilities; 2) learning to bounce back from defeat; and 3) learning to work with others for the good of the T.E.A.M. Winning is a mindset!

“You play to win the game” is dominant in my book, It’s the Will, Not the Skill. Winning streaks are nice for the ego and promote bragging rights; fun as long as it lasts, but life goes on. It is easy to be victimized by those glory days. While you must believe you can – and will – win, you must also be able to handle a setback and not lose your confidence. Learning how to deal with losing, and learning how to move on is an important characteristic of a “winner.”

Will you develop the mindset of a winner?

For more information about Jim Tunney, please visit his website:, or if you would like to respond to this message, please send your email to