Sunday, January 12, 2014


        When any of these top eight players gets
"IN THE ZONE",; any one of these
guys can beat any of the others.        

        Getting "in the zone" is what this blog
is all about.
          There are specific ways to do it, ways
to get there... But we are really entering
into the area of meditative techniques.
          There is such a thing as meditation
in action. That's part of what the dervishes
are all about.
          There are also yogic techniques
that apply.
           It's not a method you can use just
anywhere - I try not to get into too
deep a meditative state on my bicycle, 
for example.
           But tennis is a game well-suited
for meditation in action. I'll have to
get a better phrase for this discipline -
the "Art of Ecstasy" comes to mind, but this
is not a phrase that I have invented.
           Getting "in the zone" is a good
phrase. You know you're 'there', when
there are no thoughts in your mind,
just a intense, burning attention to
every movement you see across the net.

          Runners know  about "the zone".
In fact, a combination of the feeling
that you have when the endorphins start
to click  in - plus that sense of utter
concentration that comes with hard
breathing and strong exercise -
this is why many distance runners run.
Also, more casual runners who run
just for  exercise and  health,
who are not necessarily racing a stopwatch,
they know about "the zone" also.
           Let's face it, this moment of the
intense concentration of a mind
that is fully aware is a delight!
The game is to find the joy at
the core of things, without being
burdened with an endless train of 
           Full concentrated awareness
without content, while in the midst
of focused activity - this is the joy
of sports! But I must say, tennis
is particularly relevant  to this
kind of awareness, this joy of the
           There is a lot of empty
space in tennis. The situation
you are facing is more cosmic
than cluttered.
            Across the area in which
you play is a net full of holes - more
empty space! And an opponent some
distance away... firing balls in your
direction at high rates of speed.
             And you are running and reacting
in a court that is exactly big enough
to challenge even the best athelete.
The area and size of the tennis court
is a work of art, almost a work of genius.
          Any larger, and nobody would be able to
make it to the lines. Any smaller area
between the lines, and the challenge would
start to disappear - the elegance of the
strokes would become constricted.
          Tennis is the enemy of the enslaved,
monkey-like mind.

          Like in the martial arts, the player
is in a situation where any thought at all
impedes reaction times.
           Intense concentrated awaresness
without content, aided by pain-killing endorphins
fed with the energy of a fully functioning 
cardiovascular system - this is the joy of 
the game! And tennis is the game of life!
       Yes, and so is hockey!

       The Martial Arts, Tennis and Hockey - it's all about
clearing reaction time.


         I realize a severed or badly-cut tendon
can be a worse injury than a broken leg. Tendons
are hard to repair and take time healing.
      This is well known. But Dave Bolland seems
to be some kind of a magic man for the Toronto Maple
Leafs, and as his fortunes go, so do the fortunes
of the team.
      I remember thinking the moment he had that
injury - "There goes our season!" And damn it,
I wish for once I was wrong!

      Get well, Dave! And even if you can't play.
Come and sit down beside the bench. Because
whatever you have, we need it bad!
       I know it's your playing we need, but you seem
to possess some kind of invisible 'mojo' as well.

       I know there's no superstition in sports...
ha! ha! That was a joke!

       Having been raised in a country where voodoo
is practised, let me tell you. 'mojo' is real. And we need
yours now! 
                Here's hoping you're feeling a little better.

          And... sorry for the 'Mojo Magic Man' handle. That's the kind of thing that sticks.

Thursday, January 9, 2014


My last article on hockey and The Zone was

Tennis is a game in which the mental aspect
of the game has to be tuned...sharpened to a fine point
which is essential for fast reaction.In fact, the word, "sharpened" is incorrect. The mind must be emptied
of all content, until only focus remains.

Tennis is a game in which keen awareness is essential;
it's one on one. Utter attention across space is necessary.

But hockey is really not that different. When you watch
a great goal scorer sweeping down towards the net , like an eagle, you'll notice there is no hurry about his movements, only utter deliberation, intense focused sight.

Great speed, perhaps, but no hurry. Fluidity rather
than hurry.  The no mind, the empty mind allows great co-ordination to arise without impediment.

And a sense of NO TIME...

This calm in the midst of frenetic activity
is MIND which partakes  of the ZONE...

this is what sports is all about.

I have become knowledgeable in this study, 
having lived at  high intensity  for  most of my life.

Because of the extremes of my own personality,
it was necessary for me to learn how to sit still
and watch the river flow within me, watch as the muddied
stream slowly, slowly turned clear again.

Working  hard, trying hard, this was not difficult
for me. What was difficult for me was learning
how to not try - how to let the river flow on
its own, how to leave well enough alone,
and not try to control the country of the soul.

Make no mistake, whether the activity you pursue
is music, or sports, or courtroom battle -
these activities can best be carried out in a state
of no mind... an intense state of utter attention
without specific content. 

Thoughts like: "I wonder who Mary's with now?"

                                                 or: "The coach is going to hate me for that
                            last move."

or: "My whole family is gone..."
or: "I'm going to break that fucker's neck!"

All these thoughts hinder fast reaction.
When you think about it - and if you're a professional
athlete you'll already know this: extraneous thoughts
slow reaction time.

Right now I'm only talking about instantaneous thoughts.

But there is a whole way of thinking that can screw you
up deeply --- an unconscious wave of negative thoughts ...
and these waves repeat and repeat, the same stream
of ugly self-destroying thoughts... over and over
again.... this is THE NEGATIVE SCRIPT...


And this will screw you up - whether you're performing in the rink, in the courtroom, or on stage - you do not need
the negative script.


 Hang onto #38 MacLaren.
Do NOT trade him.  

 RE: David Boland's Injury. The Leafs' Season died with his
       injury.I'm not saying it was deliberate, but...
       It occurs to me, the rules should be changed --- Any
player who causes an injury to another that causes him
to lose over one month of play, should be made legally
liable. The injured player ought to be able to pursue
a civil suit against any player in the NHL who causes that lengthy an injury.
       You'll see long-term injuries fall off in number,
considerably. And you'll see deliberate moves to injure
fall off to nearly zero.
        With a civil suit, the situation is much more serious
than a mere fine in punishment. A year's lost wages,
if the guy's getting paid $3 million a year. That hurts
a whole lot more!