By Ken Kaiserman
Dare to be Happy
When they played the Masters Golf Tournament last month did anybody notice
what happened in the final round of play? Sure, Angel Cabrera won, and the
obvious thing that everybody probably did notice was that Tiger Woods and
Phil Michelson, the world’s top two ranked golfers, played together. They
both played great on the front nine after starting several strokes back,
making heroic charges to pull within a stroke of the lead. Yet, both
Michelson and Woods faded from contention finishing 5th and tied for 6th,
respectively. It was the reactions that each had following their amazing
day of golf that is most interesting.
Tiger and Phil in the
In his post round interview, Phil gave the type of answer that we most often
teach our children: “It was fun.” Mickelson went on and on about how well he
played as he smiled for the cameras. His focus was on the positive things
that he had accomplished that day, including a record-tying 30 on the front
nine, finishing 5th overall, beating Tiger Woods for the round and making a
solid run for the championship. In fact, his terrific five under par round
of 67, if repeated for the four days of play would have won the tournament
by a resounding 8 strokes over Angel Cabrera.
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Coach’s Corner, Continued
In contrast, Tiger Woods was disgusted with his effort. Of course, he also
played well enough during the final round that a four day repeat performance
would have made him the run-away 2009 Masters Champion. Yet, after bogeys on
17 and 18 left him tied for 6th, Woods did nothing but scowl for the cameras
stating that his play for the day was “Just terrible!” While he made a
fantastic charge in the final round coming from seven back to only one shot
off the lead with two holes to play, it wasn’t enough for Tiger to avoid the
bitter taste of defeat.
The different approaches the top two players in the world have to their
final round shows a lot about each of them. Phil, the 2nd best player in the
world, is having fun and satisfied with his results; happy with his
performance. On the other hand, Tiger, the best player in the world, is
constantly driven to do better and never satisfied with his play. Mickelson
certainly has created a great life for himself making lots of money as a
professional golfer and he’s content with where he is. Woods is driven to be
the best of all-time. If their attitudes were reversed might their rankings
Young athletes are supposed to learn to lose with dignity and be “good
sports”. Does all of our politically correct teaching lead to an acceptance
of losing instead of an all out drive to succeed? In school, is it good to
get “all A’s” but never learn the material? Is the goal in life to be the
best each individual can be or simply to get by? Is it better to try to make
a diving catch, taking a chance
Coach’s Corner, Continued
that you might fail, or play it safe and hold the hitter to a single? These questions are each reflected by our
Certainly we want our kids to have fun at what they do. Since the goal isn’t
to create professional athletes but to teach “life lessons”, is having fun
what’s it’s all about? The problem with that notion is that it does carry
forward into schoolwork and life; instead of mastering the material in
school we want our kids to get good grades. Instead of doing our best work
we simply want to get our work done. This isn’t enough and we shouldn’t be
satisfied with continuing to allow for mediocrity. As a society we need to
demand more from ourselves, our kids and each other.
Not everybody has tremendous skills or the innate ability to accomplish
great things. Yet, as John Wooden states: “Success is the peace of mind
which is a direct result of the self satisfaction in knowing you have made
the effort to do the best of which you are capable”. Therefore, each of us
has the ability to succeed although with a different, personal and
individual, standard of success. Perhaps what we saw through the Masters’
results was not a different attitude, but one player’s recognition that they
had achieved what they were capable of and another feeling that they could
have still done more. Given that we can all measure our own success with
individual standards, always make sure to do your best because it’s better
to be happy.
SPORTSKIDS Trivia Test
We’ve got great Trivia games for beginning to master SportsKids – try our
“Title Fight” Sports Grab Bag Game and find the answers to these questions
at the bottom.
1) When were the first modern Olympic games held?
2) What is Pele’s real name?
A) Jose Martinez
B) Felipe Sanchez
C) Arantes Do Nascimento
D) Miquel Sindovaul
3) Who was the first African-American man to win the world heavyweight
A) Joe Louis
B) Jack Johnson
C) Sonny Liston
D) Archie Moore
What heavyweight champion was better known as the “Brockton Bomber”?
A) Joe Louis
B) Joe Frazier
C) Rocky Marciano
D) Muhammad Ali
At 57, who was the oldest player to win a PGA tour event?
A) Jack Nicklaus
B) Sam Snead
C) Ben Hogan
D) Arnold Palmer
There are trivia games in general sports, baseball, football, hockey,
basketball and “Sports Math” in three different skill levels. Test your
sports skills against kids around the world in the
SportsKids Game Section.
Answers: (1) A (2) C (3) B (4) C (5) B
SPORTSKIDS Sports Poll
Which of the following do you feel is most important in youth sports?
- Learning to Lose
- Developing Athletic Skills
2) Which of the following statements do you agree most with?
- Do you best when you play
- Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing
- Just have fun
3) Who do you think had the right approach after the 2009 Masters: Phil
being happy with what he did or Tiger demanding victory or nothing?
- Tiger Woods
- Phil Mickelson
Previous Poll results:
What do you think is the most important factor for sports success?
- Mental Conditioning (9.89%)
- Skill Development (10.99%)
- Athletic Ability (10.99%)
- All of the Above (68.13%)
Have you ever been involved with a professional teaching mental
- Yes (24.18%)
- No (75.82%)
Does your child set short and longer term goals for success in sports?
- Yes (72.53%)
- No (24.57%)
Does your child keep track of their goals by keeping a log, diary or
checklist of accomplishments?
- Yes (32.97%)
- No (67.03%)