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PSYCHOLOGISTS NEEDED

Scotty Bowman made his share of mistakes as Sabres coach/general manager but there was at least one place where I thought he was right on track: when he brought in a team of sports psychologists/counselors to help with the team focus and motivation.

It troubles me when sports critics declare that all these athletes should be self-motivated: "don't blame the coach or owners or fans or reporters." Which is nice but presumes that most of us come out of adolescence with plenty of positive reinforcement, healthy self-esteem and an open and secure feeling about our world and our place in it.

The truth is that most of us grow up with mixed messages from family, peers, coaches, etc. The athlete with promise is driven to excel; competitiveness, self-sacrifice, cooperation, winning, losing, worth, integrity all get muddled. Common sense is uncommon, communication is ambivalent, especially because real men don't admit mistakes, and they are never afraid.

My point is not that we should be affixing blame but merely that we should throw out our presumptions and get the psychologists back in. Let the owners, management, coaches and team be brought together in therapy. Don't fire or trade anyone.
REV. GUY F. SIRACUSE
Niagara Falls

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