Random thoughts on a variety of subjects
By Sam Redman
I just read a news report saying that Tony Romo (the Dallas Cowboys quarterback) had been put on injured reserve, so that he will now officially be out for the season. He started the season with a 1 win and 7 loss record, but his play was ended (perhaps fortunately for him) by a slam-to-the-turf “sack,” which resulted in a broken collar bone injury. So, Tony can now focus, ostensibly, on recovery and rehab in the off season and come back with a refreshed and renewed body (and mind) to face the new football year. However, I wonder if Tony, who does show remarkable skills at times in his passing and and in his ability to mount successful drives in critical situations, can ever achieve that elite level of being a consistently winning quarterback. It appears that Tony has a different mental approach than the winning quarterbacks whom I have observed over the years. He seems to have learned a fascinating psychological concept which he evidently has adopted wholeheartedly… probably one which has been taught to him by gurus who believe that they know how to take the mind of an athlete into a state of being where winning is automatic and natural.
Once Tony got his 65 million dollar deal… is when he developed his zen-like attitude, which could be paraphrased as, “Losing a football game isn’t something to be frustrated about… it’s not the most important thing in your life.” He then became a relaxed happy guy without a worry in the world.
Now, I do think he does take the game seriously, however not with the kind of anxiety that other players feel (that “want to win” anxiety that Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, talked about), but instead he seriously pursues his way of just going out there and having some fun… and if that fun time results in big plays or even a win, then he is very pleased and excited. But, in this insouciant special mental place, if he throws interceptions or ends up losing, then he just doesn’t “sweat it.” After all, there are more important things to ponder like falling in love and making trips to exotic places (the old “que sera, sera”). In many ways, I sort of admire him for being able to detach himself from the anxiety of winning or losing and play with that devil-may-care smiling attitude, because it is actually possible that it could work to bring about wins…. sort of mentally getting in “the zone” and just letting nature take its course to achieve athletic perfection.
I truly think that he has embraced this theory (probably based on many positive winning experiences from play when he felt he was “there” in his happy place zen zone)… that the old “be happy, don’t worry, everything is gonna be alright,” will eventually make him that ultimate super quarterback, if he just can do it with the total abandonment where he achieves that child-like zeal and pleasure of “let’s just go have some fun.” Once his contract was inked… then he was free to explore those mental experimentations into the world of not worrying about winning or losing but, just becoming a free spirit playing a kid’s game.
However, I don’t think he can achieve it. I like the premise, but I don’t think it works enough of the time to make “be happy, don’t worry” a workable way to play football. But, of course, after football he will have a great and wonderful wealthy life with all the pleasures that a 65 million dollar deal can bring. Maybe then he can lecture and write a self help book about, “just going out there and having some fun.”