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Mind over matter is strength

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013 11:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013 11:16 a.m. CDT

“The most valuable thing we each own is our mind. Educate your mind and you are a very powerful person.”

Two years ago, former Kansas State University head basketball coach Frank Martin spoke to students at a Kansas school I covered. He told them it is true that a mind is a terrible thing to waste.

“I have three simple rules. Be on time. Be prepared. Give me what you’ve got,” Martin told the students.

“When you are on time, you get chances to do more. If you come prepared for math class or prepared for basketball practice, you learn more. And all I ask is give me all you’ve got every day.”

I was fortunate in the years Martin coached at Kansas State to meet the man. He definitely was passionate about basketball. Some did not like his style during games. I just told them to listen to me talk of his players, the sport, the school and life in general when the game is not in the way. Martin respected his players and enjoyed helping them become better people not just better players on the court.

During sporting events. fans yell things at coaches, officials and even players that make no sense. Knowing the game, which involves rules, is important. Unfortunately, those few fans behave a poor sports, spoil it for everyone.

When you face a “superior” opponent, you must have the mindset of I can do this or in this case — we can do this. Athletics are about teamwork and pushing not just your body to do its best, but your mind.

Martin talked of educating your mind and how powerful a tool the mind is for all of us. It reminded me of the story my Mom always read to us when we were little — The Little Engine Who Could.

“I think I Can. I think I Can, I think I Can, I think I Can.” And before he knew it, the Little Engine was up the hill and heading down.

No matter the odds, we have to approach games and life with a positive outlook. We have to think we can do something and then give it all we have until the end.

Maybe we don’t win the game but if we give our best to the final whistle, we can be proud of the progress we’ve made. You never know until you try what the outcome is really going to be.

Here in Iowa, we’re on the downside of the fall seasons. Today, the Newton boys play in the 4A golf district tournament, attempting to qualify of the state tournament this Friday and Saturday.

Volleyball teams just found out their regional assignments and pairings for later this month. Cross Country teams are heading into the final run of regular-season meets, readying for state qualifying mets on Oct. 24. The girls’ swimming teams found out regional assignments this coming Friday.

Football teams have three regular-season games remaining on their schedule. State playoffs for the fall sports are just a few weeks away.

All the athletes are working to peak at the right time. Developing the physical aspects for their sports but also the mental toughness to work through the rough spots and always moving forward.

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