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    Mar 19, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks new president Phil Jackson sits in the stands during the first quarter of a game against the Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

“Be in concert with one
another in times of need”

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Written by Bernadette Carter-King, September 21, 2014, 9 Comments,
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“Be in concert with one another in times of need.” ~ Phil Jackson

One afternoon when I was shuffling off to Buffalo at Jeanne Benson’s Dance Academy in Ocala, Fl, the entire Dunnellon High School Fighting Tigers football team slunk past the main observation window.

I’ve never forgotten the juxtaposition of my fellow classmates, dressed out in tights and heads hung low, lumbering toward a practice room while the most delicate classical music gracefully glided through the studio.

Certainly I would have rather impaled myself on the clarinet I played in marching band than have football players see me in dance attire but those guys looked so miserable I felt sorry for them.

When the Ocala Star Banner’s article (complete with a huge picture of the fellas in full on arabesque position) about Dunnellon coach Richard Kennedy making the Tigers take dance classes hit Marion County mailboxes, the community went berserk.

Oh the naysayers.

Yeah?

Well in 1978 and ‘79 Coach Richard Kennedy lead the Dunnellon Tigers to 36 straight wins and back to back state championships. Further, Mr. “He Done Lost His Mind” coached 104 games for Dunnellon – 49 of which were shutouts and 27 allowed for just one score from the opposing team.

Based on the article’s opening it would be tutu obvious for me to suggest Muschamp usher our Gators on down to the local dance studio and have ‘em twirl around it a time or two.

But I’m a woman. This means I have something far more ridiculous in mind.

Now, ballet classes certainly couldn’t hurt our team’s performance. If you’re rolling your eyes, stop long enough to read about Pittsburgh Steelers nose tackle Steve McLendon, who, yes, takes a weekly ballet class at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.

However, where I’m really going with this is the forward and “there is no box” thinking that coach Kennedy employed, the results of which speak for themselves.

Kennedy is not alone in his adoption of ‘off the beaten path’ practices.

Legendary NBA coach Phil Jackson takes his teams off the path of being beaten by utilizing mindfulness and meditation.

Oh, and FYI, I’m bringing Oprah to the table today, too. She is the mother ship after all.

BTW, I can hear you and the cacophonous, “This is why women shouldn’t be sports writers!” does not deter me in my mission.

Besides, I’m not a sports writer. I’m a Padawan of the psychological aspects of human performance.

And how could mindfulness and meditation help the Florida Gators and Will Muschamp?

Meditation and the Florida Gators

We may become legal adults at age 18 but emerging neuroscience tells us the human brain doesn’t “mature” until age 25.

In this, the prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain that helps one inhibit impulses and plan and organize one’s behavior to reach a goal) of our player’s brains are not yet fully developed.

So now we have 85 young fellas a few years away from full brain maturity running around trying to get their own act together as well as work in harmony with the others who are trying to do the same. 

Yeah. You couldn’t pay me enough to be a ball coach.

Rather than waxing scientific on lateral and medial prefrontal cortices or gray-matter density in the hippocampus and amygdala I’ll bottom line it:

Our brains are like silly putty (neuroplasticity) and we can morph them at will.

MRIs administered before, during and after meditation have shown remarkable changes to the shape and density of differing parts of our brain.

These changes of formation could allow our Gators’ brains to help them;

  • focus;
  • alleviate stress;
  • achieve longer-lasting emotional stability.
  • look at potentially dangerous or upsetting situations in a more calm and rational manner;

Mindfulness and the Florida Gators

If you’re not familiar with the practice of mindfulness, it is the bringing one’s complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis and experiencing those moments without judgement.

There are those who would say potato/potahto to mindfulness/being in “the zone”. Though a subject for another day I disagree if for no other reason than practicing mindfulness is what gets you to the zone and gives you the ability to stay in it.

At 1:10 in the video below, Phil Jackson speaks of how mindfulness can help a player reseat after a bad call, bad play, etc.

Please don’t send hate mail because I posted an Oprah video. I practice mindfulness so I’m able to issue bans while looking through the eyes of non-judgment. ;)

We’re all in this Swamp together

Ray built this site because of his deep love and respect for UF athletics.

As Gator Country is the largest and one of the longest running (since 1996) Gators sites on the Internet, could there be any argument that GC and its online community is one of the ultimate supporters of the Florida Gators and their fans?

What’s more, just about anyone who has anything to do with the sports programs at Florida reads Gator Country – including family and friends of teams, coaches and staff.

Therein lies the rub.

In the four years I’ve been at GC, there’s been an awful lot of chatter on the forums about what the team/coaches did/are doing wrong but precious few offers of potential solutions.

That’s contradictory to mission of Gator Country.

If we’re true fans, we’ll each offer support in whatever way we’re capable.

When those players, coaches, staff, family and friends read Gator Country let’s let them see that we’re in this with them, not working against them.

Though my writing a sports related article for GC may seem to have come out of, well, left field I’ve done so in a sincere effort to offer helpful suggestions in my own fashion and based on my skill sets, passions and pursuits.

I’ve no idea what kind of cerebral calisthenics coach Muschamp has the team involved in, if any. Not that I didn’t try to find out but Spivey says they won’t tell me because the mind meld methods used by coaches are highly classified and noneya.

Nonetheless, I’ve contributed.

How about you?

Do you have an idea or practice regarding human performance that you can share?

I’ll bet you do. I’ll also bet someone in our Great Gator Nation will benefit by learning about it.

Hey.

Will ya look at that?

It’s a win-win.

Bernadette Carter-King

About Bernadette Carter-King

Bernadette has been the COO at Gator Country since 2011. That is all. Carry on.

  1. thecrusherSeptember 21, 2014, 7:22 pm

    Good article. Well here’s my solution for the Gators current issues. Start Driskel this week but start putting in Treon Harris more. Maybe by the LSU game both qb’s can be splitting time right down the middle (this is all assuming Driskel stays the same). If Harris is the better player then we start him the next week and from there on out. As far as coaching goes, I think this should be Muschamp’s last year. Let him go at the end of the season and quickly hire Dan Mullen. This would create a conundrum though because Kurt Roper knows what he’s doing offensively (Yes I still believe that. He just needs the QB to execute) and so does Mullen. I don’t think Roper will adjust his offensive traits to Mullen’s style though so unfortunately Roper will probably have to go (but not because he’s done a bad job). I think UF needs a DC that runs more man to man coverage as well. Too often Durkin calls zone on 3rd and forever and too often it gets beat with ease. UF has great man to man cover corners. Use them. That’s my solution.

    • Bernadette Carter-King
      Bernadette Carter-KingSeptember 22, 2014, 7:16 am

      Thanks for the kudos and the thoughtful solutions. If, hypothetically, UF did hire Mullen, are there any particular reasons you believe Roper wouldn’t adjust and would “have to go”?

    • thecrusherSeptember 22, 2014, 10:53 am

      Roper and Mullen both run a spread concept but there’s some glaring differences. When you compare the offenses of the Tebow/Harvin years to this years, they both run 3 and 4 WR sets pretty often but that’s where the similarities end. Roper would probably leave simply because if Mullen were the HC he’d want to run his style and only Mullen knows that style best. Roper COULD adjust but it wouldn’t be ideal for Mullen, Roper, or the Gators and for that reason I think Roper would go too. Roper’s offense will work if Mullen were to keep it but I don’t think he would. Mullen’s offense is just as effective. So if Mullen’s in, then Roper would be out unfortunately.

  2. malscottSeptember 21, 2014, 7:23 pm

    I appreciate the effort, Bernadette. And, I agree, mindfulness, meditation and being in concert with the coaches, players and what they are trying to do is of utmost importance. But after years of floundering about, coming up short-and watching and waiting, the faithful are a bit uneasy, as they should be. Foley has been maybe too patient. In these times people expect results and they should. After four years the Gator faithful have actually been quite tolerant. Did you see the crowd at the Bama game? Have you seen the empty seats in the Swamp? Us Gators want back in the conversation. Not purgatory and irrelevance. Maybe we can squeak back into the top 25 sometime soon…maybe.

    Those kids, our kids at Florida deserved to be coached up by the best!

    While we can accept the developing minds of student athletes, we have a harder time accepting the questionable mindsets of grown-up coaches with big salaries. Particularly when we see results at other schools- particularly when we know what we used to be -particularly when being an elite program was the norm. It took years and years to get there and we haven’t had a whiff of it in a while. And yes, it ebbs and flows, but if I didn’t know better I would think we had NCAA sanctions against us!

    I suggest that our passion has us deeply involved. I think our love of the sport and all things Gator have us deeply entrenched in our school and the players. So, I get the idealistic approach to school support-I guess we could be like Vandy and go to games in hope that we might win and accept that athletic mediocrity (with hope) and be grateful. Not at Florida. I’m sorry. The athletes and coaches that built us to prominence worked through adversity to become great. They clawed their way to the top. And we all reaped the glory. While all Gators stick together-and we should when we’re down, we are also knowledgeable enough to see the records, the disappointments and know their hearts,( the players and coaches), hurt too. But this is Florida, a major public landmark University and some folks simply won’t make it here…players and coaches alike. So I appreciate your sentiments, well-stated and also see the need for us to speak up. And I also get some people are just pissed off! Change is good. Whether it be a paradigm shift in a player or coach or a coaching change. Not all that comfortable-I get it.

    Whether it is changing our mindset, changing the first-string players or changing the coaches. Four years is a long time…let’s see what happens from here on out. The team has my support and change will happen from either the inside or the outside depending on the need…Go Gators.

    • Bernadette Carter-King
      Bernadette Carter-KingSeptember 22, 2014, 7:56 am

      Thank you for the heartfelt reply.

      All your sentiments ring true (to me) but the one that stands out the most is…

      “After four years the Gator faithful have actually been quite tolerant. Did you see the crowd at the Bama game? Have you seen the empty seats in the Swamp? Us Gators want back in the conversation. Not purgatory and irrelevance. “.

      This is actually what my next article is about and I’ll be publishing a quote by Foley that I’ve been sitting on for over a year now. It may be a “meh” to some but it caused some serious shock waves at GC.

  3. theo1918September 22, 2014, 6:03 am

    so we have now relegated ourselves to jedi mind tricks to calming Gator nation? awesome. good luck with that.

    lets try something else, like blocking, tackling and covering an All-American WR down the middle of the field when he runs the post route. a check down out of a play when the corners show a blitz off the edge. change up the D line schemes when we need to put some pressure on the QB

    the bottom line is we play scared and on our heels more than we don’t. that starts at the top. i have been a supporter of this coach since Day 1 and am beginning to believe he is in over his head. these guys need to cut these kids loose, have fun and play with no fear…

    • Bernadette Carter-King
      Bernadette Carter-KingSeptember 22, 2014, 7:59 am

      Well now I’m just embarrassed. You caught me. I was trying to pass credible science off as Sci Fi.

      Ray’ll really have to keep an eye on me. Next thing ya know I might go all New Agey.

      Should that happen, however, I have my light saber at the ready and pledge to fall on it if it will help the Gators have a winning season.

  4. BazzaSeptember 23, 2014, 8:53 pm

    Hi Bernadette – thanks for the positive article – I get what you are saying. Right now I think what we need most is to get our QB position where it needs to be.

    I do have a request – if possible – the default font on the forums is gray in color and very small – and thus a little hard to read, IMHO. I spend a small amount of time on other talk forums and every one is much more legible than this one. If there’s any way you could look into this and if you agree try to effect a change (black colored font would be a nice start) it would be much appreciated.

    Thank you,
    Baz – class of ’72 IFAS

    • Bernadette Carter-King
      Bernadette Carter-KingSeptember 24, 2014, 8:28 am

      Hi Baz,

      I totally agree about the font. A quick fix is to increase the font size in your browser. If you don’t know how to do that, just give me a call at the GC office 352-416-0018 and I’ll walk you though it.

      In the meantime I’ll bug Ray again about increasing the font size and making the color darker.

      I see you didn’t say which QB you think we should be going with right now. Would you mind sharing your thoughts?

http://www.gatorcountry.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Phil_Jackson_New_York_Knicks_USAToday-150x150.jpg Bernadette Carter-King FeatureFootball ,,,,,,,,
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“Be in concert with one another in times of need.” ~ Phil Jackson

One afternoon when I was shuffling off to Buffalo at Jeanne Benson’s Dance Academy in Ocala, Fl, the entire Dunnellon High School Fighting Tigers football team slunk past the main observation window.

I’ve never forgotten the juxtaposition of my fellow classmates, dressed out in tights and heads hung low, lumbering toward a practice room while the most delicate classical music gracefully glided through the studio.

Certainly I would have rather impaled myself on the clarinet I played in marching band than have football players see me in dance attire but those guys looked so miserable I felt sorry for them.

When the Ocala Star Banner’s article (complete with a huge picture of the fellas in full on arabesque position) about Dunnellon coach Richard Kennedy making the Tigers take dance classes hit Marion County mailboxes, the community went berserk.

Oh the naysayers.

Yeah?

Well in 1978 and ‘79 Coach Richard Kennedy lead the Dunnellon Tigers to 36 straight wins and back to back state championships. Further, Mr. “He Done Lost His Mind” coached 104 games for Dunnellon – 49 of which were shutouts and 27 allowed for just one score from the opposing team.

Based on the article’s opening it would be tutu obvious for me to suggest Muschamp usher our Gators on down to the local dance studio and have ‘em twirl around it a time or two.

But I’m a woman. This means I have something far more ridiculous in mind.

Now, ballet classes certainly couldn’t hurt our team’s performance. If you’re rolling your eyes, stop long enough to read about Pittsburgh Steelers nose tackle Steve McLendon, who, yes, takes a weekly ballet class at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.

However, where I’m really going with this is the forward and “there is no box” thinking that coach Kennedy employed, the results of which speak for themselves.

Kennedy is not alone in his adoption of ‘off the beaten path’ practices.

Legendary NBA coach Phil Jackson takes his teams off the path of being beaten by utilizing mindfulness and meditation.

Oh, and FYI, I’m bringing Oprah to the table today, too. She is the mother ship after all.

BTW, I can hear you and the cacophonous, “This is why women shouldn’t be sports writers!” does not deter me in my mission.

Besides, I’m not a sports writer. I’m a Padawan of the psychological aspects of human performance.

And how could mindfulness and meditation help the Florida Gators and Will Muschamp?

Meditation and the Florida Gators

We may become legal adults at age 18 but emerging neuroscience tells us the human brain doesn’t “mature” until age 25.

In this, the prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain that helps one inhibit impulses and plan and organize one’s behavior to reach a goal) of our player’s brains are not yet fully developed.

So now we have 85 young fellas a few years away from full brain maturity running around trying to get their own act together as well as work in harmony with the others who are trying to do the same. 

Yeah. You couldn’t pay me enough to be a ball coach.

Rather than waxing scientific on lateral and medial prefrontal cortices or gray-matter density in the hippocampus and amygdala I’ll bottom line it:

Our brains are like silly putty (neuroplasticity) and we can morph them at will.

MRIs administered before, during and after meditation have shown remarkable changes to the shape and density of differing parts of our brain.

These changes of formation could allow our Gators’ brains to help them;

  • focus;
  • alleviate stress;
  • achieve longer-lasting emotional stability.
  • look at potentially dangerous or upsetting situations in a more calm and rational manner;

Mindfulness and the Florida Gators

If you’re not familiar with the practice of mindfulness, it is the bringing one’s complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis and experiencing those moments without judgement.

There are those who would say potato/potahto to mindfulness/being in “the zone”. Though a subject for another day I disagree if for no other reason than practicing mindfulness is what gets you to the zone and gives you the ability to stay in it.

At 1:10 in the video below, Phil Jackson speaks of how mindfulness can help a player reseat after a bad call, bad play, etc.

Please don’t send hate mail because I posted an Oprah video. I practice mindfulness so I’m able to issue bans while looking through the eyes of non-judgment. ;)

We’re all in this Swamp together

Ray built this site because of his deep love and respect for UF athletics.

As Gator Country is the largest and one of the longest running (since 1996) Gators sites on the Internet, could there be any argument that GC and its online community is one of the ultimate supporters of the Florida Gators and their fans?

What’s more, just about anyone who has anything to do with the sports programs at Florida reads Gator Country – including family and friends of teams, coaches and staff.

Therein lies the rub.

In the four years I’ve been at GC, there’s been an awful lot of chatter on the forums about what the team/coaches did/are doing wrong but precious few offers of potential solutions.

That’s contradictory to mission of Gator Country.

If we’re true fans, we’ll each offer support in whatever way we’re capable.

When those players, coaches, staff, family and friends read Gator Country let’s let them see that we’re in this with them, not working against them.

Though my writing a sports related article for GC may seem to have come out of, well, left field I’ve done so in a sincere effort to offer helpful suggestions in my own fashion and based on my skill sets, passions and pursuits.

I’ve no idea what kind of cerebral calisthenics coach Muschamp has the team involved in, if any. Not that I didn’t try to find out but Spivey says they won’t tell me because the mind meld methods used by coaches are highly classified and noneya.

Nonetheless, I’ve contributed.

How about you?

Do you have an idea or practice regarding human performance that you can share?

I’ll bet you do. I’ll also bet someone in our Great Gator Nation will benefit by learning about it.

Hey.

Will ya look at that?

It’s a win-win.

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