Posts Tagged ‘John F Murray’

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There is a reason why Dr. John F. Murray is the most quoted psychologist in the general media. He has an extremely rare professional and educational background making him an authentic licensed sports psychologist. He also has the experience and enjoys sharing his knowledge with the media as a national spokesman on issues related to psychology and sport psychology. He has appeared as a guest on most of the major television networks (e.g., ABC Good Morning America, the Fox News Channel’s “Your World” with Neil Cavuto and “The Big Story” with John Gibson, MSNBC) and is likely the most frequently interviewed in his field over the past six years, with over 2000 contributions to print and broadcast media. Dr. Murray enjoys talking about high performance and general psychology, sports, relationships at work and home, mental skills such as confidence, focus and goal setting, business issues such as management and leadership, and a variety of other educational and social issues.

“Dr. Murray, thanks for a great appearance on the show”
–Producer of “The Big Story” with John Gibson, FOX National Television

“John….YOU WERE A GREAT GUEST…you played along with our sisters well … Again, great information and the on-air product was WONDERFUL! Thanks.”
–Jennifer Dominguez, Associate Producer, ABC Radio Networks

Below is just a small sample of where Dr. Murray’s insights have appeared. This list was first compiled in 2004 and has probably doubled since that time.

ABC TV Good Morning America
ABC Radio Atlanta
ABC Radio Network (National)
ABC TV West Palm Beach
ABC TV Philadelphia
ABC.net
6ABC.com
ACE Magazine
AFCA.org
Akron Beacon Journal
Albuquerque Journal
Albuquerque Tribune
AlphaDeltaGamma.org
am New York
AmericasDoctor.com
AOL Sports
Apria.com
Arizona Daily Sun
Arizona Republic
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Associated Press
AthleticInsight.com
Athletic Management
Atlanta Journal Constitution
AuctionBytes.com
Augusta Chronicle
Augusta Free Press
Axelis.com
AZBilliards.com
The Bahama Journal
Baltimore Sun
BaseballProspectus.com
BBC.com
BBC Radio
Beaumont Enterprise
BenMaller.com
Bergen County Record
BetUs.com
BidRobot.com
BlackAmericaWeb.com
Bloomberg Radio
Bloomberg News Wire
Bob Larson’s Tennis Wire
Boca Raton News
BondMovies.com
Bonita Daily News
Boston Globe
Boulder Daily Camera
Bradenton Herald
BriefMe.com
British Tennis Magazine
BritishTennisParents.com
BuffaloBills.com
Buffalo News
Burlington Hawk Eye
Business.com
Calgary Herald
Canadian National Radio
The Capital (Anapolis, MD)
Casper Star Tribune
CBC News
CBFans.com
CBS Network Radio (National)
CBS Radio Atlanta
CBS SportsLine.com
Chicago Daily Herald
Charleston Daily Mail
The Charleston Gazette
Charlotte Observer
Chicago Tribune
Cincinnati Enquirer
CNET
CNN Radio
CNNSI.com
CollegeAndJuniorTennis.com
Colorado Springs Gazette
CommanderBond.net
The Commercial Appeal
Conditioning & Training Magazine
Contra Costa Times
Cox News Service
The Daily Camera
Daily Comet Thibodaux
Daily Evergreen of WSU
Daily Herald
Daily Journal
Daily Mail of London
Daily Messenger (Canandaigua, NY)
Daily Press
Daily Sentinel of Nacogdoches
The Day
Delaware Parent
Deluth News Tribune
Denver Post
Deseret News
Detroit Free Press
Diet News
The Dispatch
DonPenny.com
Doug Stephan Radio Show
Eagle Tribune (Massachussets)
Education Week
ESPN.com
ESPN Radio Toronto
ESPN The Magazine
ESPN TV Canada
Examiner.com
Express & Echo of Exeter
Family Lifestyle Magazine
Financial Post Business Magazine
Financial Times of London
Fitness Magazine
Florida Sunshine Television Network
Florida Tennis
Florida Times Union
Florida Today
FlowInSports.com
FootballOutsiders.com
Fort Wayne News Sentinel
FoxSports.com
Fox National Television
The Free Lance-Star
Fredericksburg.com
FromTheBalcony.com
Futures and Commodity Market News
The Gadsden Times
Gainesville Sun
Gatorsports.com, FL
Giants.com
Globe and Mail
GlobeSports.com
Golf Course Management
GoTennis.com
Grand Rapids Press
Greenacres Press
Greenwich Time
The Grinders.TV
Gulf Daily News of Bahrain
Hamilton Journal News
Hamilton Spectator
The Happy Herald Monthly
The Happy Times Monthly
Hartford Courant
Hays Daily News, KS
Hendersonville Times News
HeraldTribune.com
Hollywood Reporter
Houma Today
Houston Chronicle
The Huffington Post
Independent Alligator
Independent of London
Indiana Gazette
Indianapolis Star
Innerworth.com
International Herald Tribune
Investors Business Daily
Jackson Clarion Ledger
Journal Sentinel
Jupiter Courier
Kansas City Star
Keralanext.com
KGO Radio San Francisco
KMVU Fox TV
Knight Ridder
KnowledgeHound.com
KSBI TV
Lake City Reporter
Las Vegas Sun
The Ledger
Lexington Dispatch, NC
London Evening Times
Los Angeles Times
Louisiana News Day
Louisville Courier-Journal
Loyola University Magazine
LTA Tennis Nation
Lufkin Daily News
Lycos Top 5%
Mansion Grove House Publishing
Maroon of Loyola University
Marquis Who’s Who in America
Men’s Fitness Magazine
Men’s Health Magazine
Metro Toronto
Miami Herald
Mid-Atlantic Matchpoint
Middletown Journal
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The Mirror (UK)
Mobile Register
Modesto Bee
Monterey County Herald
MSNBC.com
MSNBC TV
MSN Sports
MyFox Birmingham
MyFox Chicago
MyFox Tampa Bay
MyFox Utah
MyTelus Sports
Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel
Naples Daily News
National Post of Canada
National Public Radio
NBC TV Sacramento
Netguide Magazine
Netscape Sports
The-Next-Big-Thing
Newark Star Ledger
New Orleans Times Picayune
The News and Observer of Raleigh
Newsday
News Journal
News-Press of Ft. Myers
Newsweek.com
New York Daily News
New York Times
North Carolina Tennis Today
Northwest Arkansas Times
NWITIMES.com
OhioNewsNow.com
The Olympian
Omaha World-Herald
Orange County Register
Orlando Sentinel
Ottowa Citizen
Ottowa Herald
Oxford Press
Palm Beach Daily News
Palm Beach Post
Pan American Sports Network
Peoria Journal Star
PHHP News of U. Florida
Physical Magazine
Pioneer Press
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
PlantationEagles.com
Pocono Record
PowerSellersBlog.com
Power Tips Journal
Press Enterprise
PsychCentral.com
PsychedOnline.org
Psychology.com
Pulitzer Prize News
QualityWriter.com
RealTime Fantasy Sports
Radio France
RaidersOnline.org
The Record
RedsZone.com
Reference.com
The Register Citizen
Remedy RX
Reuters
Richmond Times Dispatch
Riyadh Daily News
Rocky Mountain News
Sacramento Bee
The Salt Lake Tribune
Salem News
San Antonio Express-News
San Francisco Chronicle
San Gabriel Valley Tribune
San Jose Mercury News
San Mateo Daily Journal
Sarasota Herald Tribune
Satellite Sisters National Radio
Saudi Gazzette
Savannah Morning News
Scripps Howard News
Seattle Post Intelligencer
Seattle Times
SelfHelpMagazine.com
Shanghai Daily
Shawnee News-Star
Short-Biographies.com
SI.com
SignOnSanDiego.com
SIRC Sports Research
Slam! Sports
Smash Tennis Magazine
South China Morning Post
SouthCoastToday.com
South Florida Business Journal
Speaker Focus
Sport Aces
SportingNews.com
The Sporting News
Sports Business News
Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated for Kids
Sports Illustrated for Women
Sports Industry News
SportsInjuryHelp.org
SportsReview.com
SportsTerminal.com
SportsTicker.com
TheSpread.com
Springfield News
Springfield News Sun
Stamford Advocate
State-Journal.com
The State
The St. Augustine Record
St. Catharines Standard
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Petersburg Times
The State (South Carolina)
StarArticle.com
Stonebridge Press
Stuart News/Port St. Lucie News
StumbleUpon.com
Sunday Telegraph Magazine
Sun Sentinel
Supercoach Magazine
Surfwax.com
Sydney Swans Official Magazine
Tallahassee Democrat
The Team 990
The Telegraph of Calcutta
Tampa Bay Times
Tampa Tribune
The Tennessean
Tennis Celebs
Tennis.com
TennisChannel.com
TennisInternet.com
Tennis Magazine
TennisMagazin Deutschland
Tennis Oggi
Tennis Pro Magazine
TennisRulz.com
TennisServer.com
Tennis Week
Tennis-X.com
Texas Court Report
TheBioFile.com
Thinkers.net
This Week in Pro Football
Time Out Magazine London
Time Out Magazine New York
TimesDaily.com
The Times of London
The Times of Northwest Indiana
Times Union of Albany
Topcat Sports Radio
Topix.net
Torrington Register Citizen
Tribune Business news
Tuscaloosa News
Ultimate Football Coaches Guide
University of Manitoba Magazine
The Urban Radio Network
UriGeller.com
USA Today
USA Weekend Magazine
USTA Magazine
VegasInsider.com
Vancouver Sun
Ventura County Star
VinceSpadea.com
Vision Magazine
Waco Tribune Herald
Wall Street Journal
WannaLearn.com
Washington Post
Washington Times
Watertown Daily Times
WBAL Baltimore
WCNN Radio
Whittier Daily News
The Wichita Daily Eagle
Wilmington Star
Wireless Flash
WNEM TV
WNTP Philadelphia
Women’s Sport & Fitness
Worcester Telegram & Gazette News
WorkInSports.com
WorldHistory.com
World Talk Radio
WSU student newspaper
Yahoo Internet Life Magazine
Yahoo Sports
Your Time
ZD Net UK
1stServe.com
3Clix.info

Dr. Murray has stopped listing all the media outlets where his Pre-Super Bowl Radio and TV Interviews have appeared because there are far too many. Dr. Murray annually discusses the Mental Performance Index (MPI) ratings prior to the game and the MPI has been more accurate than the official spread in four of the first six Super Bowls in which it has been used (2003 to 2008). The purpose of the MPI is to help football teams and coaches more accurately assess team performance, and this scoring method also demonstrates the important influence of mental performance in football and other sports too.

Here is a very small sample of where the MPI report has appeared and there are many more impossible to count or remember:

ESPN Canada, ABC TV West Palm Beach, ESPN Radio, WAXY, WBBR, WDJA, WGLR, WGNX, WXLP, KBLL, KDBR, KFIS, KGMY, KKAR, KNFX, KOB, KWEB, CJME, Y100, Oldies 103, WTKW, Syracuse, NY, RED FM Radio, Cork, Ireland, KFOX Vancouver, WKQZ Saginaw, Michigan, WYVN Holland Michigan, Rock 102, Springfield, MA, WBBR New York City, WDJA West Palm Beach, WAXY Miami, Y100 Miami, WGNX Vero Beach, WGLR Indianapolis, Oldies 103 Boston, WXLP Davenport, Iowa, KNFX Rochester, Minnesota, KWEB Rochester, Minnesota, KKAR Omaha, Nebraska, KBLL Helena, Montana, KDBR Flathead Valley, Montana KGMY Springfield, Missouri, CJME Saskatchewan, Canada, KFIS Portand, Oregon, KOB Albeq. New Mexico … and many hundreds more.

ESPN The Magazine featured a story called “Shrink Rap” on the MPI in its infancy in the December 23, 2002 issue. Many others have written about the MPI including the Tampa Tribune, Sun Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel, Modesto Bee, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, LA Times, Indianapolis Star, Wichita Eagle, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Daily Messenger, Palm Beach Daily News, Tampa Bay Times, CNNSI, Sportsline.com, Grand Rapids Press, Lake City Reporter, Peoria Journal Star, Press Enterprise, Times Union, Vancouver Sun, Florida Times-Union, and Salem News.

Thank You for Visiting. Call 561-596-9898 or send an email to johnfmurray@mindspring.com

Bowling

Dr. John F. Murray has worked with bowlers at the professional and amateur levels.

At first glance, bowling might seem rather straightforward in its mental demands. When you look closer, however, you soon realize the enormous complexities of changing lane patterns and wax placements, surfaces, challenges of qualifying, and the killer instinct needed to win on the final day of an ESPN televised championship to name a few. It’s a great sport with tremendous mental demands, and like all sports the training off the lanes is just as important mentally.

Dr. Murray recently attended the Bowl Expo in Orlando, Florida as a guest of Tommy Delutz Jr., former #2 ranked bowler in the world and a regular client who asked to make this public. Tommy recovered from major wrist surgery and made a big comeback.

This page is still under development. Thanks for your patience.

Golf

Dr. Murray works with lots of pro and amateur golfers to help them improve their mental games and we all know how important that is in this wonderful sport. Stay tuned as this page is under develoment

SHAQ HAUNTS MAGIC FANS

FLORIDA TODAY – Jul 12, 2004 – Jeff Dalessio and John Denton – Impending deal to Miami means more meetings against Orlando.

He’s 7-foot-1 and 340 pounds with arms like Popeye, tree trunks for legs and three NBA Finals MVP awards on his mantel.

And he’s coming to your division, 18-year-old Orlando Magic rookie Dwight Howard.

“Who wants to play Shaq and get in a wrestling match with him all night?” Howard said as news broke that Shaquille O’Neal was on the verge of joining the Miami Heat. “He could probably just put a finger on me and push me out of the way.”

Word of a pending trade between the Los Angeles Lakers and Heat isn’t just the worst nightmare for the 6-11, 243- pound Howard, who’s sure to be on the receiving end of a few O’Neal elbows when the two teams tangle at least four times next season in the newly formed NBA Southeast Division.

It’s also sure to bring frowns to the faces of Magic fans, who had a tough enough time watching their former center collect three NBA titles three time zones away in Los Angeles.

Now, pending NBA approval of the trade, O’Neal is headed back to the Sunshine State in a move that will reportedly net the Lakers Lamar Odom, Brian Grant, another player — possibly Caron Butler — and a future draft pick.

First, Tracy McGrady is sent packing. Now, the guy who led Orlando to the 1995 NBA Finals joins its biggest rival.

Hang in there, Magic fans.

“Magic fans are going to be struggling with this for a long time,” said John Murray, a South Florida sports psychologist. “It would be like Larry Csonka or Dan Marino coming back to play for the Jets. The only solution for Orlando is to sharpen their mental skills and beat Miami. This would give them double satisfaction.”

The trade can’t be completed until 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, when the NBA’s two-week player movement moratorium expires, but it’s reportedly a done deal. Perry Rogers, O’Neal’s agent, told the Los Angeles Daily News, “As of right now, there is an agreement to agree” and spoke of his client’s love for the city of Miami and admiration of Heat president Pat Riley.

O’Neal also was high on Orlando, where he still maintains a home eight years after leaving the Magic for the bright lights of L.A. But because of his massive contract — O’Neal is due to make an NBA-high $27.7 million next season — Orlando GM John Weisbrod last month called a Shaq-Magic reunion “pretty close to mathematically impossible,” adding, “We’d be fielding a roster of seven guys.”

The 32-year-old O’Neal soured on the Lakers after the team was eliminated, 4-1, by Detroit in the NBA Finals. When discussing the Lakers’ future afterward, general manager Mitch Kupchak told reporters he never would trade star guard Kobe Bryant, but wouldn’t rule out the possibility of sending O’Neal elsewhere.

The next day, O’Neal demanded a trade.

Despite a dip in O’Neal’s statistics this past season — a career-low 21.5 points with 11.5 rebounds and 2.48 blocks — Magic coach Johnny Davis calls him “the most dominant player in the game.”

“There’s just nobody else like him in our league,” Davis said. “He’s so big that he’s almost unstoppable.”

His presence in Miami is bad news for the rest of the new Southeast Division, which includes three teams coming off forgettable seasons — Orlando (21-61), Washington (25-57) and Atlanta (28-54) — and the expansion Charlotte Bobcats.

With O’Neal in the middle, the Heat (42-40 in 2003-04) would go into next season as the undisputed team to beat and a possible NBA championship contender. Even with the loss of three starters — Odom, Butler and Grant — they return Olympian Dwyane Wade at point guard and Eddie Jones, their leading scorer each of the past four seasons, at shooting guard.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Lakers fans are hoping O’Neal and the team will have a change of heart before 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

That also sums up the feeling in Orlando.

“I think he’s OK right where he was,” Davis said.

____________________________________________________

The NBA’s other big trades involving the big men

1965

The deal

Two days after the 1965 All-Star Game, when he had 20 points and 16 rebounds, two-time reigning NBA scoring champion Wilt Chamberlain is sent from the Golden State Warriors to the Philadelphia 76ers for Connie Dierking, Lee Shaffer, Paul Neumann and $150,000.

The impact

The 76ers went on to post the NBA’s best record the following season, then knocked off their nemesis, Boston, on their way to the NBA title the following year.

_____________________________________________________

1968

The deal

Following his fourth, and final MVP season, Chamberlain is shipped from Philadelphia to the Los Angeles Lakers for Jerry Chambers, Archie Clark and Darrall Imhoff.

The impact

Chamberlain spent his final five seasons in L.A., helping the Lakers to the NBA Finals four times. At age 35, he grabbed 19.2 rebounds a night and was selected to the NBA All-Defensive First Team.

_____________________________________________________

1975

The deal

Unhappy in Milwaukee, three-time MVP Kareem Abdul-Jabbar requests the Bucks trade him to either New York or Los Angeles. He gets his wish, going to the Lakers in a deal for Junior Bridgeman, Dave Meyers, Elmore Smith and Brian Winters.

The impact

The Kareem-led Lakers win five NBA titles — 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987 and 1988 — and he picks up three more NBA MVP awards, giving him six total.

_________________________________________________

Why Shaq’s still got it

1. As bad as he is at the line, no one shoots better from the field (NBA-leading 58.4 percent last season).

2. Anyone catch that 36-point, 20-rebound effort in Game 4 of the NBA Finals?

3. When he’s motivated and in shape, no one can stop him down low.

Why Shaq’s slipping

1. He’s coming off a career-low season scoring — 21.5 points a game.

2. He made just 49 percent of his free throws — down from his 62.2 clip the season before.

3. He’s been injury-prone and overweight, not playing in more than 67 games in any of the past three years.

— Jeff D’Alessio, FLORIDA TODAY

______________________________________________________

AP file

Sunshine Superman. Shaquille O’Neal is coming back to play in the Sunshine State and that could mean trouble for Orlando Magic rookie Dwight Howard and their fans when they meet four times.
Edition: F Final All
Section: Sports
Page: 01

“PATRIOTS FOOTBALL WEEKLY” INTERVIEWED DR. JOHN F. MURRAY TO HELP THEIR TEAM COPE WITH PRESSURE AND GO UNDEFEATED

Jan 30, 2008 – The writers for the official New England Patriots Magazine – You can read this article by clicking here!

Dr. John F. Murray is a sports psychologist and clinical psychologist providing sports psychology and counseling services based in Palm Beach, Florida.

YOU CAN’T BLAME THE GOOD FOLKS OF COLORADO FOR BEING ON A ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH. THEIR BASEBALL TEAM IS GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES

Los Angeles Times – Oct 17, 2007 – Larry Stewart – You can’t blame the good folks of Colorado for being on a Rocky Mountain high. Their baseball team is going to the World Series.

“The Boys of Rocktober have climbed the loftiest summit in baseball,” wrote Woody Paige in the Denver Post. “Look out, Pikes Peak, and look out world. From the mountains to the prairies, to the oceans white with foam, here come the Rockies.”

From Mike Littwin in the Rocky Mountain News: “Trying to explain how it is the Rockies are going to the World Series would just risk spoiling it. . . . I don’t know what it was — except completely and entirely unexpected. Until, eventually, somehow, it became completely and entirely inevitable.”

Trivia time

The Rockies advanced to the World Series by going 7-0 in the postseason. Which is the only other major league team to have a 7-0 postseason record?

Expert opinion

Trying to explain the Rockies’ late-season success — winning 21 of their last 22 games — sports psychologist John F. Murray recently told the Denver Post, “I call it effortless effort. Some people call it ‘getting in the zone.’ That’s when athletes are less self-conscious of their effort. They don’t analyze things or dissect things, they just accept them and appreciate what’s going on. It’s about attention to the present.”

And then this

It was another poor showing for Mark Cuban on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” on Monday. Cuban’s score of 22 was lowest of the night.

Cuban’s dance partner, Kym Johnson, says he thinks way too much on the dance floor.

“He’s a super intelligent man and he writes everything down,” Johnson said. “That’s the way his mind works. . . . With dancing, you need to feel everything and he has to let himself go.”

Maybe Cuban, who generally doesn’t seem to be so careful in planning out his actions, should make an appointment with sports psychologist Murray.

Another kind of doctor

Regarding the lead item in Monday’s Morning Briefing about Andy Roddick’s playing tennis with a frying pan, reader Craig Woo remembers reading in Lee Trevino’s biography that when Trevino was a caddie he would bet unsuspecting golfers that he could beat them playing with a coke bottle wrapped in tape and attached to a broomstick.

A check on the Internet found several versions of this story. One was that he would tee off with the Coke bottle, hitting the ball about 100 yards down the middle, then reach the green with a three-wood.

In another version, Trevino is quoted saying he preferred using a Dr Pepper bottle. That must have earned him an endorsement check or two.

Another Tiger deal

Speaking of endorsements, it was announced Tuesday that Tiger Woods and Gatorade are coming out with a drink called Gatorade Tiger.

Look for a commercial in which Tiger, using a Gatorade bottle, tries to outhit Trevino and his Dr Pepper bottle.

Trivia answer

The 1976 Cincinnati Reds defeated the Philadelphia Phillies, 3-0, in the National League Championship Series and the New York Yankees, 4-0, in the World Series for a 7-0 record.

And finally

Outside New England, the Patriots are fast becoming the most hated team in the NFL, and not only because they’re undefeated or their coaches steal signals.

Bill Simmons, in his Page 2 column for ESPN.com, pointed out another problem: Even when a game is in hand, they stick it to their opponent.

In Sunday’s 48-27 victory at Dallas, fourth-string running back Kyle Eckel rammed home a touchdown on fourth and one with 19 seconds remaining.

“Normally, you take a knee there,” Simmons wrote.

A knee is what a lot of people around the NFL would like to give Bill Belichick.

Dr. John F. Murray is a sports psychologist and clinical psychologist providing sports psychology and counseling services based in Palm Beach, Florida.

Where have all our sports heroes gone? Maybe they were never there in the first place

NBC Sports – August 8, 2007 – Outside of San Francisco, where Barry Bonds enjoyed the home-field advantage of unconditional love, his pursuit and capture of one of sports’ most hallowed records was a mostly joyless affair.

The long ascent to No. 756 was awkward, and sometimes heartbreaking. Away from his kingdom of AT&T Park, Bonds was serenaded by full choirs of boos. Grown men taunted him with giant foam asterisks. Little children held up signs that said, “Cheater.â€?

So it was tempting to contrast Bonds, who falls between plaque and auto exhaust on the likability scale, with the greats of the game — the outsized personality of the cigar-chomping Babe Ruth, the steady, quiet excellence of Joe DiMaggio, the determination of Jackie Robinson.
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It may be that the heroes we locate in sports are not what they used to be.

Or maybe we aren’t.

“We have a very different expectation of our heroes than we used to,â€? says John Thorn.

“They have to somehow tickle us in the short term as well as provide sustenance for the long,â€? says Thorn, a sports historian who was senior creative consultant for Ken Burns’ PBS “Baseballâ€? documentary. “They have to be clever. They have to do things on the field that amuse. It’s not enough to hit 756 home runs. We need to be entertained.â€?

Instead, we’ve been disoriented: It was possible one recent morning to turn on one of the sports channels and see highlights of Bonds at bat, bathed in popping flash bulbs, and also see the on-screen headline, “BALCO chemist says Bonds used steroids.â€?

Bonds, of course, has denied that he took knowingly performance-enhancing drugs. But the juxtaposition of heroic highlights and allegations of deceitful lowlights was consistently jarring.

The two previous home run records that Bonds surpassed on his way to 756 were attached to Ruth, arguably the best-known American sports figure of all time, and Hank Aaron, who was resanctified, including a Sports Illustrated cover, as Bonds closed in.

Each of the three men faced media attention, and thus fan scrutiny, that expanded by orders of magnitude. Ruth dealt with the New York papers. Aaron dealt with a media horde that included a traveling pack of television cameras.

But Bonds is a creature — an unwilling creature at that — of something else entirely, an era of blogs and reality television (including his own series, for a time) and a dozen airings of “SportsCenterâ€? every day.

When Aaron eclipsed Ruth’s mark with his 715th home run in 1974, John F. Murray was just a boy, holding a tape recorder up to his television. He can still recite Curt Gowdy’s call on NBC.

“We didn’t have video games or computers,â€? says Murray, now a sports psychologist in Palm Beach, Fla. “We weren’t distracted by 200 channels. I think individuals need someone, some kind of role model to look up to. It’s just a more complex world.â€?

Then again, baseball is more popular than ever: More than 76 million fans attended games at its 30 major-league parks last year, beating by 1 million the previous record, set just a year earlier.

Perhaps more to the point, the line once observed by the press — that personal lives were mostly off limits, that reportage was limited to on-field performance and the occasional visit to hospital-bound child, has been obliterated.

“The heroes of past years were not scrutinized at all personally,â€? said author W.P. Kinsella, whose novel “Shoeless Joeâ€? became the movie “Field of Dreams.â€?

Kinsella knows a thing or two about baseball and heroes. Take Ruth.

“He was drunk half the time,â€? he said. “He was a good-hearted, tough guy, but he probably would have been run out of the game today.â€?

Kinsella does draw a line between the personal flaws of athletes and the suspicion of steroid use that hovers over Bonds, whom the author calls a “narcissistic jerkâ€? who “shouldn’t even be allowed to park cars at the Hall of Fame.â€?

But his point applies to so many of the baseball players we hold up today as exemplars of some golden age. Ruth lived hard. Mickey Mantle was a raging alcoholic. Ty Cobb is almost celebrated now, in a tortured-soul way, for being surly.

And in “The Hero’s Life,â€? his 2000 biography of DiMaggio, Richard Ben Cramer portrayed a man who was paranoid, sensitive, insecure and generally difficult.

Aaron, who dealt with a racist swell of antipathy that included death threats, had the support of about three-fourths of the fans in the month before he beat Ruth’s mark of 714, according to a poll taken at the time.

But a recent Associated Press-Ipsos poll found fans about equally split between rooting for Bonds to break Aaron’s record and rooting against him. Fully one-fifth — startlingly high among self-identified active fans of the game — just didn’t care.

Thorn says he believes the steroid rumors swirling around Bonds are no more than a cover for “moralistsâ€? looking to savage him. The playing field has always been unlevel, he says — by segregation or amphetamines or game-fixing or who knows what else.

He says he has a “strange affectionâ€? for Bonds because he has decided not to chase what he can never have — the admiration of the fans, on the fans’ terms, by the fans’ script.

Anyway, the historian wonders, isn’t Bonds only giving us what we have a right to expect — sustained excellence on the diamond — as well as what we always believed we wanted — prodigious home runs?

He recalls Charles Barkley’s infamous ad for Nike: “I am not a role model.â€?

Of course, Barkley was viciously attacked, not least by the fans, for the suggestion. And a survey of sports columns from around the country from the past month or so shows they are overwhelmingly against Bonds.
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It may be that writers and fans are bitter because they felt burned by the home run race of 1998, during which Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa chased after Roger Maris’ single-season mark of 61 home runs. McGwire hit 70. (Bonds hit 73 three years later.)

At the time McGwire and Sosa were held up as paragons of dignity and as saviors of baseball itself, left in critical condition by a 1994 players strike.

“Where have all the heroes gone?â€? West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd demanded to know, speaking on the Senate floor in the depths of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal.

The answer, he said, was on the baseball diamond, in the persons of McGwire and Sosa.

Then McGwire and Sosa gave embarrassing, evasive performances before a congressional committee investigating steroid use in 2005. Sosa is still playing; McGwire failed by a long shot in his first year of Hall of Fame eligibility.

It has been all downhill since.

Just in the past few weeks, a betting scandal shook the NBA to its foundations. One of the NFL’s star quarterbacks faced ghastly dogfighting charges. Doping scandals abounded on the Tour de France.

And Barry Bonds swung for the fences with heroic forearms and ran the bases with clay feet.

Maybe our sports heroes are not what they used to be. Or maybe what they used to be was only an illusion, a dream in soft focus. Vivid and real to us, just not true.

Dr. John F. Murray is a sports psychologist and clinical psychologist providing sports psychology and counseling services based in Palm Beach, Florida.

CONFIDENCE NOW AUCTIONED ON EBAY

JohnFMurray.com – Nov 30, 2005 – For Immediate Release – The Cowardly Lion received his medal for courage on the Wizard of Oz. Now, for the First Time Ever, Confidence is Auctioned on eBay. The age of mental skills training has fully arrived as eBay users can now bid on a one-hour mental coaching session aimed at teaching confidence, or any of 7 other critical mental skills important in success

Palm Beach, FL (PRWEB) November 27, 2005 — For the first time ever, a performance specialist in business, sports, academics, and healthcare is offering on Ebay a one hour mental coaching session by phone or in person aimed at teaching one of the 8 critical mental skills.

Bidding on Ebay starts at $10 and any amount above the normal fee for a one-hour session will be donated to charity. The item can be found on eBay here

Dr. John F. Murray, who authored the best-selling tennis book “Smart Tennis” (endorsed by world #1 Lindsay Davenport) and who works with busineses, healthcare personnel, NFL players, as well as professional golfers, tennis players, and other athletes, believes that it’s extremely important to get the message out about the benefits of training the brain.

“We’ve gone as far as we can go physically, but mental training is a territory with unlimited potential for improvement in business, sports, or life,” stated Murray. “With the mind, limitations are always self-imposed,” added the doctor.

Bidding starts at $10 and the winner will receive one hour by phone or in person. It should be made clear that this hour is not for psychological counseling or psychotherapy, but rather for a mental teaching session focused on one of the following mental skills: confidence, focus, energy control, goal setting, imagery, enjoyment, resilience or discipline.

Many pro athletes, teams, businesses, and organizations receive the benefits of mental coaching, but the general population is still often surprised to know that these services even exist, as there are few legitimate performance psychologists or other professionals to provide these services. “It’s truly a cutting edge science and profession, says Murray, but the benefits have been demonstrated time and time again.”

Dr. John F. Murray is a sports psychologist and clinical psychologist providing sports psychology and counseling services based in Palm Beach, Florida.

HOLIDAY PUT ON HOLD

{Note: Congrats to Matt Hasselbeck and Seattle! Click to Go to Super Bowl Ratings … you might be surprised to read what the MPI shows this year}

The Oregonian – Nov 24, 2005 – Geoffrey C. Arnold – The NFL’s demands alter how a family with two quarterbacks celebrates Thursday, November 24, 2005

Matt Hasselbeck will see his brother, Tim, this weekend, but they will not be eating turkey or sipping eggnog to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday.

The exchange of greetings Sunday instead will occur across Qwest Field as the Seattle Seahawks play host to the New York Giants.

Matt is the starting quarterback for the Seahawks; Tim is a backup quarterback for the Giants.

Like many families with professional and college athletes, the on-field meeting will be about as close as the Hasselbeck clan will get to enjoying time together during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

“A lot of families get together for Thanksgiving. Ours is a little different,” Matt Hasselbeck said. “We are not really going to get to hang out. It will be good to see him. I haven’t seen him in a long time so it will be fun and a little weird at the same time.”

It’s the combination of divergent schedules, travel and team obligations that prevents many athletes from gathering with their families during the holidays. However, like the Hasselbeck family (father Don Hasselbeck played nine seasons in the NFL), they know it comes with the territory.

It’s part of the reality of high-level sports, says Dr. John Murray, a sports psychologist who has worked with professional football athletes.

“Obviously, there are sacrifices. At the same time, there are enormous benefits to being in that line of work,” said Murray, who added that it’s important that family members and spouses understand the situation.

“It’s extremely difficult and you have to choose a partner that understands that and can deal with that.” Murray said.

Of course, watching a family member on television can help ease the pain of not having someone around on Thanksgiving.

“You have someone who is going to play on national television. In many ways, the family accommodates to that,” Murray said. “They realize what they’re dealing with and they realize it’s a short career.”

That’s what the members of the Harrington family of Portland can do today as the Detroit Lions play the Atlanta Falcons in one of the NFL’s two traditional Thanksgiving Day games. Joey Harrington, who grew up in the Laurelhurst neighborhood, plays quarterback for the Lions.

But he won’t be the only Harrington missing from the dinner table for sports-related reasons.

Another son, Michael, a quarterback at the University of Idaho, had to remain on the Moscow campus for practice during the week. He hopes to at least join his family, in spirit, by watching the Lions-Falcons game.

“Hopefully, we won’t practice when he’s playing,” Michael Harrington said.

The other NFL game today is Denver at Dallas, and the NBA has two games today: Cleveland at Indiana and Seattle at the Los Angeles Lakers. The NHL has three games today: the New York Rangers at Atlanta, Los Angeles at Nashville and San Jose at Vancouver.

Dr. John F. Murray is a sports psychologist and clinical psychologist providing sports psychology and counseling services based in Palm Beach, Florida.

TIMID MICE MADE DARING BY REMOVING ONE GENE

New York Times – Nov 18, 2005 – Benedict Carey – Scientists working with mice have found that by removing a single gene they can turn normally cautious animals into daring ones, mice that are more willing to explore unknown territory and less intimidated by sights and sounds that they have learned can be dangerous.

The surprising discovery, being reported today in the journal Cell, opens a new window on how fear works in the brain, experts said.

Gene therapy to create daredevil warriors is likely to remain the province of screenwriters, but the new findings may help researchers design novel drugs to treat a wide array of conditions, from disabling anxiety in social settings to the sudden flights of poisoned memory that can persist in the wake of a disaster, an attack or the horror of combat.

The discovery may well prove applicable to humans, the experts said, because the brain system that registers fear is similar in all mammals. Moreover, the genetic change did not appear to affect the animals’ development in other ways.

“Potential clinical applications could be quite important” for people with “fear-related mental disorders,” said Dr. Gleb Shumyatsky, an assistant professor of genetics at Rutgers, who led a team that included investigators from Columbia, Harvard, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Brain scientists who were not involved in the study said the study’s finding was unexpected.

“The way I see it, there are three types of studies in science: one that moves a theory along, one that closes it and another that opens a new door altogether,” said Dr. Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, which helped finance the research. “This one opens a new chapter, introducing an entirely new molecular candidate for the study of anxiety, and we’re going to be hearing a lot about it in the next 10 years.”

The researchers found the fear-related gene by analyzing brain tissue, in particular the tiny prune-shaped region called the amygdala, which previous studies had shown to be especially active when animals and humans were afraid or anxious. They found that a protein called stathmin, produced by the stathmin gene, was highly concentrated in the amygdala but hard to detect elsewhere in the brain.

Using genetic engineering, the scientists removed the gene from mice and bred a line of the animals, all missing the same gene. Those animals developed into normal adults, as far as the researchers could tell, and learned as ably on standard tests as a group of normal mice.

In one test, they learned to expect a small shock to their feet after hearing a loud tone.

“They looked normal,” Dr. Shumyatsky said. “They weren’t stupid. They would run away if you tried to pick them up.”

But when presented with the same loud tone 24 hours later, the genetically engineered mice froze in place – a standard measure of learned fear – only about 60 percent as long as the control group.

When left alone on an unfamiliar white surface, the engineered mice also spent about twice as long exploring as did the normal mice. This “open field” test is standard measure of innate caution.

To be sure that it was the gene change and not some other quality that explained the differences, the researchers tested hearing and pain sensitivity in the altered mice. Both were normal.

In the paper, the authors suggest that stathmin, the protein that the engineered mice were missing, may help brain cells form new memories in the amygdala, where unconscious fears appear to be stored. (Conscious memories are filed elsewhere.)

In theory, a drug that inhibits the activity of stathmin could prevent or slow that process. That, in turn, might blunt the impact of traumatic experiences in people who are vulnerable to disabling memories of those experiences.

Reducing stathmin activity in the amygdala might also allow people to overcome innate or learned anxieties. Dr. Shumyatsky said doctors already had a drug that acts on the same brain molecules as stathmin does; it is Taxol, a cancer drug.

Taxol works throughout the brain, however, and not exclusively in the amygdala, which the new study suggests is the best target.

“It would be very interesting to study things like this, but it is still very early,” Dr. Shumyatsky said. “This study is only a first step.”

Still, it is a step that could take the study of fear in a new direction. In an e-mail message, Dr. Joseph LeDoux, a neuroscientist at New York University wrote: “While we are a long ways away, it is possible in the future that we will be able to identify amygdala-specific genes that can be used to play a role in amygdala-specific drug therapy. Studies like this are the kind we need in order to get to this point.”

Dr. John F. Murray is a sports psychologist and clinical psychologist providing sports psychology and counseling services based in Palm Beach, Florida.