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We’re Not There Yet - Black History Month

black history month mental fitness mental toughness myths sports psychology Feb 23, 2023

Take me out to the ball game. Take me out with the crowd. Ever wonder why we sing this? We are already there.  


This is Mental Fitness Fridays, and I’m Hans Skulstad.


February is Black History month. History is a great teacher. On the topics of equality and race, we’re not there yet.  


I’m not going political, just human. I have worked with many athletes who have faced racial slurs and taunts. Not subtle ones — obvious and intentional ones. We’re not there yet.


Jackie Robinson could be the definition of courage. In the movie 42, Branch Rickey tells Jackie he wants a player who has the courage to not retaliate. Those who were angry about Jackie in baseball were using the mental toughness myths. Each attacks an athlete’s human value, along with their character, intelligence, sanity, genetics and belonging. We’re not there yet.


Jackie was a baseball and a mental fitness pioneer. Even though that mental fitness didn’t “exist” then.  


He always had to stay composed, even more than his teammates.


Today’s athletes get attacked more for their play, but Jackie was attacked for who he was. We’re not there yet.


When I watched the scene in 42 where the Phillies manager loudly and openly taunts him, I instantly felt disgusted and angry. We’re not there yet.


Despite that treatment, bean balls, spikings, and death threats, Jackie won the rookie of the year. He hit .297 with 12 home runs, 125 runs scored and 29 stolen bases.  


When they played Pee Wee Reese’s hometown, Reese put his arm around Jackie in the infield as a show of acceptance.  Use your courage to say or do something when someone dehumanizes and stigmatizes others with the mental toughness myths. No matter what it’s about.  


Do it by changing the conversation. Share our emails and share us on our social channels. 

Mental Fitness Fridays

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