Timeout at the plate #4

Day 13

timeoutattheplate_copy.jpgIn this lifetime we will create many different “families.” Some you may create at church and some at work. People you met in school and grew up with may become “aunts” or “uncles” to your children. Sometimes we create families to enrich our lives and sometimes we find we are part of a bigger family who we rarely ever know.

This particular type of family is the one I highlight in today’s Timeout because this particular gal just recently graduated from my alma-mater and became part of an alumni I am proud to be part of- the University of Northern Colorado.

I was once a journalism student at UNC and became a professional journalist the day I
emily.pnggraduated. We are the Bears and I can still hear the fight cheer as the drums banged ,duh duh, duh duh duh duh- U-N-C Beaaars and I’m always happy to meet other alums and hear their story. There are many of us and some like my old suite mate, Aaron Smith, make millions and have won a Superbowl and some of us are like 23 year-old Emily of I live for This,  who are budding professionals looking for that break into their chosen profession.

I was happy to learn Emily would be joining the family and I found myself admiring her writing as open and candid on her blog. She obviously loves the Rockies and had no problem letting her writing speak for itself in that regard. Emily is also okay with explaining her journey in graduating and trying to find a job in the elusive sports psychology field. Just to help another Bear, I will also make the plea. If anyone knows a sports team looking for a sports psychologist Emily is eager and available to take on the task even starting from the ground up! Read all about it in her post and help this Bear get her start if you can! Emily I’m sure we can work out a nominal finders fee if you get a job! Wink.

Your header “I live for this” makes a bold statement and you compare yourself to “fever pitch” just for the Rockies. How much of role does baseball really play in your life?

There’s no dispute that I live for this as a header is a bold statement, and while I definitely wouldn’t say I’m as obsessed with the Rockies as the guy from Fever Pitch, I can’t help but be absolutely amazed by baseball. Not a day goes by where I don’t think about it. Toward the end of the last season, when Dan O’dowd was talking about getting rid of Matt Holliday, which he did, and Garrett Atkins, my friend and I tried to draw up this plan about how not to get rid of either of them. We talked about the trading potential of each player, and ultimately decided that Yorvit Torrealba, Jeff Baker, and Willy Taveras, those semi big names, could go, plus some of our pitchers. We obviously know how it turned out, but… well, ya know. But in all honesty, my friends make fun of me that I have a baseball blog, they think that I am in serious need of an intervention, and that I should probably get something in my wardrobe besides Rockies t-shirts. Baseball’s become a pretty important part of my life; besides the obvious ones like family, friends, the ability to think, et cetera, it’s up there in my top… four… five? No… let’s go with four.

In your blogs you have been pretty open about the idea of becoming a sports psychologist and your struggles finding a job opening since graduation. Is it your destiny to get into the minds of the pros or would you consider another career if you can’t be a shrink in baseball?

Sports psychology isn’t so much about being a shrink with baseball. However, besides something like golf, baseball is probably the sport that takes the most mental concentration and preparation. If you were to go into a sport like football, a sports psychologist would probably really only play a role with the quarterback, receivers, and the kicker. With something like soccer and hockey, it’s the goalie that you want to study with, and basketball… um… I’m not really sure; you’d probably have to work with players on free throws…? I guess.

What exactly is a sports psychologist?

Sports psychology is about preparing a player mentally for a game. Often times, if people go into a task believing that they’re going to fail, they will. Or if something is on their mind, it’s a distraction. Sports psychology is demonstrated through a lot of different ways such as relaxation, visualization, and other techniques. Ted Williams, probably one of the best hitters in baseball, would say that “50% of hitting is above the shoulders.” My belief kind of stems from Wilhelm Reich. Don’t go look him up though because you’ll find some weird things because the dude was totally weird. A lot of people kind of think my idea is a crock, but I’m someone who truly believes in what I want to do. Um, but his thought was that as human beings, we are electrical, and we have different kinds of energies flowing through us. However, because of stresses, defense mechanisms, whatever, we often experience a kind of energy blockage. So, if you study the way people sit, stand, walk, anything… I
mean, the body doesn’t lie, you’ll see it in their stance. Honestly, I’ve had some pretty heavy issues in my life, and because of that mixed with the way I held myself, I totally have a slight hunch back now, I think. It’s kind of gross. Anyway, I have issues with focusing on one thing. Um… the idea is to free those blockages and send that energy to where it counts. Now, I won’t exactly give you the details on how to do that, because sports psychology is actually a really competitive field, and so ya know… I have my ideas.
(sounds like a smart dude to me!)

Having just graduated from college what advice would you give an incoming freshman on life following the big day and getting to where you need to be upon graduation day?

Um… good question… I guess… hmm… I guess keep an open mind because you’re never going to know what you’re absolutely going to fall in love with. My grandpa always told me if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. I entered college as a journalism and mass communication major, and in one semester switched it to psychology, to social sciences, to secondary education with an emphasis in social sciences, back to journalism, to sociology, and then back to psychology. Don’t be afraid to branch out and experience something you’re not sure about. Like, throughout my entire college career, there was so much more I wanted to do. I was definitely pissed I didn’t discover my love for baseball until it was a little too late, but between that time, I wanted to be a shark biologist. Kind of… ya know… a 180 from where I was to where I am now.

You say your next team next to root for is the Red Sox. After the disater that was the 2007 World Series what would Freud say about this possible conflict and would it involve a parent(s) in some sick way?

Ha ha… ah yes, Sigmund Freud. Can’t go through psychology without talking about that guy. Um… well… hmm. I guess, being a psychology major, I should mildly defend Freud before I answer this question. When he talks about all the weird things he talks about, mostly pleasure, as humans, we are pleasure seeking beings. I mean, for the most part, we avoid things that hurt us. So, when he talks about pleasure, it’s not just… ya know… pleasure, but things that make us happy, so part of his work is often taken out of context. The other thing is, back when Freud was born which was in 1850… something, I mean, the role of women was really just to make babies. So, the idea was to procreate, so if the things he said were like… ya know… true, then it makes a little bit more sense. But onto uhh… the actual question. Um… Freud would probably say that it came down to the relationship between the id, the ego, and the superego; mostly the id though. Essentially, I guess the id kind of just psyched out the ego and then the result was… not playing well. Um… did that answer the question? (Yes, it did. Freud actually had some great ideas and I covered him in sociology as I was like 8 credits from double-majoring and had a lot of contact with ideas of the inidividual in regards to the multitude.)

Being considered a psychology professional now with your degree, in your professional opinion what is the toughest position mentally to play in baseball and why?

Every position is tough to play. Outfielders have to decipher where the ball is, where to throw, which way to run. But I’d say infield is a little tougher, with things like bad hops, runners, among other things. Pitcher’s have to go straight into playing defense, throwing a ball can be tough, which is where a sports psychologist would come in; third deals with knowing your reflexes, positioning yourself right; short stop gets the smallest margin of error, receiving the most balls; second often has to throw off balance throws; first is also about positioning yourself, reading your pitcher. But, I’d definitely say the toughest position mentally to play is the catcher. And I’d definitely say that’s because I, personally, expect a lot out of the catcher. The catcher is the one who has to call the correct pitch, which means that he has to know the batter and know his tendencies. Does he swing at things inside? Outside? High? Low? The catcher also has to be mentally prepared for any wild pitch coming at him and be able to stop it, which means he always has to be alert. He has to be able to react fast enough when someone is trying to steal second and make a sound throw. He also has to know where the ball is, know where the runner is, and know where the bag is when someone’s coming in to score. Yeah, I’d definitely say the catcher demands the most. Plus, all the physical stuff, getting hit with balls, crouching up and down over and over again, his position is so demanding both mentally and physically. So… yeah.

Finishing it up, how would you describe your perfect year in 2009 in regards to friends, family, work and baseball?

The perfect year… hmm… well, with baseball, as much as I’d like to see the Rockies go to the World Series, I just want to make it to some games. But I guess if we’re living in a perfect world, see the Rockies win the World Series at home, and I’d definitely be there. Oh yeah, that’d be amazing. Uh, as far as work… ya know, finding a job would be nice. Being poor kind of sucks, and while my perfect year would have me in my dream sports psychologist, awesome person in general job, it’s probably not going to happen considering the Rockies have issued a hiring freeze. So maybe the hiring freeze being lifted too. Uh… I hope I remain close to my family and, since I’m living with my dad, I don’t drive him crazy or vice versa. And for friends, I hope I meet a lot of new people. Being part of the blogging community has been awesome. Oh man, I was trying to tell my friend how awesome it was, and I use predicted text when I text message, and it definitely said “clogging community” and
then I envisioned if I was a clog dancer… yeah. But really, the people out there are so supportive and respectful of your opinions.

I’m really, really lucky that I chose to become apart of something as awesome as mlblogs. It’s been one of the greatest things of my life. Oh, and the other thing, would definitely be to make it into the top 100 blogs. I’m a really shy person, you probably can’t tell by this, but I get all hesitant when I want to comment on other people’s blogs like, “oh man, what if they’re like ‘oh, stupid ignorant girl'” or something. Anyway, so I’ve started trying to comment on more blogs and get mine out there too. So… maybe not be so shy is a good one either. I should probably make some new years goals while I’m thinking about it… But for the most part, yeah, I guess that’s it.

 

It’s a wrap and # 4 fun and done. Thanks Emily for taking the time and being a great sport and look for another Timeout soon as we get to #5 and all things blogged!

#

12 Comments

Great Timeout, Tom. I’m in complete agreement with Emily about the toughest position to play mentally for all the reasons she stated (although I’m sure she’s more of an expert that I am since I only took six classes to get my psych minor, one being sports psych of course). I can’t wait for the next one!
Jen
http://ajroxmywhitesox.mlblogs.com

What a great article about Emily! And it shows us what a small world it really is! You and she being grads of the same school! Thanks for helping us learn about another fellow blogger!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Tommy,
I really like this spotlight! Emily seems really cool, and sports psychology sounds great! I know I could’ve used it when I was pitching for my softball team. So tough mentally… at one point, I couldn’t pitch for a few months because I couldn’t take it. I think she would really add a lot to an organization!
-Elizabeth
http://redsoxgirl46.mlblogs.com

Elizabeth sounds like you were playing in one heck of a competitve league! A few months, wow, I hope nobody rushed the plate or anything!

Julia, yeah it was cool hearing another alum was rockin the blogs (no pun intended!) and I really like her writing because I can just imagine her in person.

Well Jen I honestly had no idea what a sports psychologist did so it was cool to hear from her perspective and I will look at catchers a little differently!

-tom

Very insightful, Tom, especially about the catching position. I once co-authored a book with a sports psychologist who worked with professional tennis players. She had all these great tricks for helping them focus and concentrate in tough situations. I say go for it, Emily. And please don’t be shy about commenting. Everyone’s very friendly here!

http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Tom,
You are far too good to me. I owe you so much for this and I can’t express my gratitude at all. The blogging world, and I, am incredibly grateful for everything you do and I hope that the world realizes how lucky it is to have you.
Emily
http://deconstructingthoughts.mlblogs.com/

Jane- maybe you should tell us of this book so Emily can pick up a trick or two in her profession!

Emily, you helped start it. Your kind gesture of wanting to make some baseball games to keep me company was very kind and that’s what Baseball Across America is about. Finding that kindness and sharing it with others. You started it with your gesture and this Timeout just helps people know a little more about a kind person! I hope you liked it and thanks again for being a great sport.

-tom

Wow, a lot of things I didn’t know about psychology. I could have used that playing sports. As an athlete, I never took failure very well. In hockey I was a goalie for a brief time, people told me I had talent, but I just got so down on myself went I was scored on. I couldn’t take being scored on, so I quit. I should have realized that all goalies in hockey get scored, it is a natural thing that happens. Goals are distributed between very frequently in any hockey game, no matter what level. As a kid though, I didn’t realize it. Oh well, thats my hockey story.
http://homerfoodandhistory.mlblogs.com/

Nothing nefarious about this post. Great reportage. I think we all live for this.
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/

Good blogging and hope you have safe travels with the experiment. By the way, I took an administrative liberty and linked your header’s descriptive text to your Baseball Experiment post, because otherwise no one could find it…it had cycled off the side panel of the blog and was tough to find. Happy to remove it if you’d rather it not be linked in bold up there but I figured that would be a benefit for you so people know what’s up. Happy New Year and congrats on the Latest Leaders inclusion!

Mark/MLB.com
http://mlblogs.mlblogs.com

Great entry! Now I learned more about a Rockies fan! It’s great to know something new and different people. I’m looking forward to timeout at the plate #5!
http://hyunyoung.mlblogs.com

Great Timeout! Very interesting. I hope Emily can find a job soon!
http://kaybee.mlblogs.com

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