A lot has happened in the world of sport in the last few weeks. Phil Mickleson wins a major in his fifty’s and the Toronto Maple Leaf’s blow a 3-1 series lead to the Montreal Canadians.
Personally, I am not a Mickleson fan and as for Leaf’s I dislike their obnoxious fans and the Toronto media that plans the Stanley Cup parade every time they go on a two game winning streak. However, if you look at both situations there is a connection.
Mickleson and the TML have great talent and abilities. Both look really good getting off the bus and your imagination begins to wonder about how good they could be. However,that is where it ends. Mickleson made a decision to drive his own bus. He realized that if he wanted to win again he needed to make changes. At the age of fifty this was a very challenging situation. He made the conscious decision to eat better, improve his flexibility, but more importantly he took care of his mind. You see, Phil should have two or three more majors, but his mental fitness cost him. Major championship golf like playoff hockey is so much different than a regular PGA tour event and an NHL regular season.. Fairways are narrower, greens are quicker and tricky, but most important is how they mess what with your mind. All the players that compete are great players, but those with a high golf and emotional EQ separate themselves from the pack. He got behind the wheel of the bus and decided where he wanted to go.
The Leaf’s on the other hand had an opportunity to drive their own bus. But they were just too cool for school. They used their talent to go up 3-1 in games to Montreal. Being up 3-1 does not guarantee a series win. People may think that being up 3-1 that there is no pressure, but I beg to differ. To apply your talents and abilities under the pressure of competition requires character, and preparation for that moment. They brought in Foligino, to complement Spezza and Thornton, but their big boys Matthews, Marner, and Nylander slept in and missed the bus not once but three times. For an athlete or a team to be great must cross over from the edge of being average to that next level. Elite teams and athletes keep moving forward and do not get stuck in the comfort zone. Sheldon Keefe is a good coach who has won at every level, but perhaps he took his foot off pedal in pushing his top end talent. Athletes and teams become elite by using the talent with a physical and mental work ethic that relentless. It requires so much emotional energy, energy that these talented athletes did not want to expel.
Mickleson drove his bus to another major championship, while the Leaf’s drove there bus to the golf course.
Kind of ironic, isn’t it!
Until next time.
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