Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Book & A Movie

For those who read my blogs regularly, and thank you for that, as you can see the posts are not coming at you at the rate they once were. There's two reasons for that.

It is, finally, the end of a long curling season and two, for those of you who visit Facebook will know, I have purchased a home (see photo) on the south end of Lake Cowichan about 1.5 hours north of Victoria. One of my lake neighbours is Elaine Dagg-Jackson (although she and husband Glen are only summer residents and are at the north end of the lake [I can hear her now, "There goes the neighbourhood"]). Now that the move in process is winding down, I've been able to put feet up and get caught up on some reading and watching a movie that has been on my "must see" list for a few months. I don't make it a habit of foisting my likes and dislikes upon others and as a result, I'm not one for saying, "Heh, I read this book or I saw this movie and you just have to read it and see it!". Well, in light of what I've just said, you do have to read "The Gold Mine Effect" and see, if you haven't already, "Seven Days in Utopia"! First, the book.

"The Gold Mine Effect" is the work of author Rasmus Ankersen, a Danish footballer whose professional career was stopped before it got started due to injury. When his elite football (soccer for those reading in NA) was over, he turned to trying to solve a mystery in the world of sports, notably why pockets of the world were producing world class athletes at a disproportionate rate. Why does a track & field club in Jamaica with no running track, save a grass oval, produce so many elite sprinters? And why do two towns, one in Kenya and the other in Ethiopia, produce so many of the world's great middle and long distance runners (it's not genes nor topography)? What's happening in Russia and Korea to spin out so many highly skills female athletes in tennis and golf respectively? And what's with the coaches (author Ankersen calls them "godfathers") in these "gold mines" that none played the sport they now coach? Ankersen wanted to know what the secret was in these gold mines. You'll be surprised to learn the secret (hint, there actually isn't one)!

Those of us in North America (athletes & coaches) are going to have our core beliefs sorely tested by what Ankersen uncovers (better tighten that chin strap once again)!!!

"Seven Days in Utopia" is the story of a golfer (Luke Chisolm [played by Lucas Black]) who, after a disastrous first outing on the pro tour lost his skill set, or at least he thought he did until, quite unexpectedly he wound up in a Texas town, population 373, called "Utopia" and met up with "Johnny Crawford" (played by Robert Duvall) who demonstrated that his skills had not vanished. But how Johnny Crawford did it will, quite frankly put a chill up your spine and make your hair stand on end. It's one of those "feel good" movies that seem so rare today. Warning; there's no sex, violence or computer animation! It's about the human spirit and how we "think" makes us what we "are"! You'll find out why the young golfer, Lucas, puts S-F-T on his golf balls.

There is a surprise ending, at least an ending that will make you wonder, "Did he make the putt?" and lead you to a web site for the answer. For coaches, it shows us that there are many more ways to help athletes than by taking them to the sport specific venue for some intensive, coach-directed training. But enough said, enjoy the movie. You'll not see the world quite the same again!

THE GOLD MINE EFFECT - Rasmus Ankersen ISBN 978-1-44342-057-0

SEVEN DAYS IN UTOPIA (available on iTunes & Google Play to buy or rent) starring Robert Duvall

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