By Ken Reed
One of my favorite sporting events — and favorite golf tournament — is taking place this week: The Masters.
I love watching the four majors in golf, the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open (called simply “The Open” by many in the golf world) and the PGA. Besides watching great golf shots, I love watching how elite golfers handle the immense pressure of major golf while thousands watch in person and millions watch on television.
Golf – even for the top pros — can be a frustrating, anxiety-producing, doubt-creating endeavor. In essence, the golf course is a battlefield for the mind. Confidence or doubt? Trust or fear? Over the course of a typical five-hour round, the question becomes who will be best at controlling his/her emotions?
Golf is a different animal than other sports. It’s the ultimate mental/emotional/spiritual game. Confidence can come and go quickly.
As golf instructor and author Fred Shoemaker puts it, “No matter where they are on the golf course, most golfers are always just two shots away from being crazy.” In other words, no matter how well we might be playing, a bad shot or two can change our entire experience and outlook.
That’s why I love watching the elite golfers in the biggest tournaments. It’s inspiring watching top players successfully mute the negative vibes of their egos and conquer their emotions on Masters Sunday. Of course, occasionally, the pressure gets to some of the leaders and they fall back from the lead. That only adds to the drama.
The true masters of golf are those who can master the mental game by muting out the fear messages floating around in their heads.
Shoemaker captures the challenge of golf perfectly:
The opposite of fear is letting go. The opposite of fear is trust. When the joy of letting go becomes more important to you than the quality of your shots, the quality of your shots will amaze you, and you will have truly become a golfer.
Whoever wins the Masters this Sunday will have done just that.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman, and has a long involvement with the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sport (now called the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition). We discuss the state of college athletics today, given the pressures of NIL, the transfer portal, sports gambling and huge media contracts. McMillen then provides great perspective on the poor state of physical fitness our young people are experiencing today.
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Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon