Me and My Mohawk · 27 May 2012

Photos courtesy Tim Kennedy

Recently, I let it slip that I wanted to get a Mohawk. Or more correctly, a fade or faux hawk. I just wanted to see how I looked with such a fancy new hairdo (provided by Jeannie, the mother of one of my javelin throwers). I rarely get a different style of haircut, but a Mohawk just seemed like it would be a fun style to get.

Actually, one of my athletes, Justin, asked me if I would get a Mohawk since he and some of the others on the Track and Field (T&F) team had them. It was the end of the season and he had a chance of going to state for throwing the javelin. The second half of the district meet was two days from the day he asked. Since he to finish in the top four throwers on Friday, I simply replied that I would get the do, if he qualified for the state T&F meet.

Justin got so excited he could hardly stand it. He asked if I was serious. Then, he wanted me to promise or shake on it. When I replied that I would do neither, he wanted me to say it again in front of the head coach, who had just walked up, so he could have a witness. Bruce said, “If Miyoshi said he would do it, he’ll do it. He’s a man of his word.”

That reply got Justin even more excited. If he could have qualified for the state meet right then, he would have thrown the javelin out of the stadium and into the record books. But of course, he had to wait a couple days to punch his ticket. And ensure my new haircut.

Friday came and the boy’s javelin competition was at the latter part of the meet. Justin must have told everybody about me getting a haircut if he qualified for state because it seemed they all asked if I was serious. Of course I was serious. It was just what I wanted. Justin not thinking about throwing.

Now I am not much of a sport psychologist, but I always tell my athletes they need to do all their thinking during practice. Then, during games or meets, they need to turn their brains off and just do their thing. I let them know that when they think during competition, they lose a step and are not able to perform as well as if their brains are off. When I told Justin I would get a Mohawk, I was trying to keep his mind off throwing. I was trying to get him to relax and turn his brain off.

The competition was fierce and suspenseful. The outcome was not known until the final competitor threw. While Justin was competing, people told him to think about me getting the haircut so he would throw farther and qualify for state. I took my hat off and ran my hand over my head several times when Justin was between throws looking my way. I did not need to give him instructions or coach him; I just needed to keep him mind turned off so he could perform well. Needless to say, Justin finished third and qualified for state. And I got a haircut at practice on Monday.

Lots of people have commented on my new hairdo. They say I look younger or tougher or something-er. And they all want to hear the story of why I got it cut in the first place. I tell them the story, but only a few of them get the psychology of it all. Only a few of them understand that getting a fancy haircut was a small price to pay to get an athlete to turn off his brain and qualify for the state meet. And only a very few of them believe the lie that I really just wanted to get a Mohawk.

[Note: Justin got second at the 2012 State 2A Track and Field meet with a throw of 177’5”. People kept telling me it was because of the Mohawk.]

© 2012 Michael T. Miyoshi

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