It is an interesting irony that I work in the psychological field and my main sporting hero had the nickname ‘Psycho.’
On my private and personal Facebook account, I posted the fabulous news that my footballing hero Stuart Pearce is about to become the manager of my beloved Nottingham Forest this Summer. The official announcement has just been made, despite media rumblings and gossip for a wee while.
I notice that a number of the fans on social media sites have mentioned that Stuart Pearce does not look too thrilled about his new position in any of the photos. I agree, he does not look really happy, but during his 12 years as a player for Nottingham Forest, did he ever really look happy? He was not the sort of guy that skipped around, that hugged and kissed or had arms covered in modern tatoos that look like they’ve been heavily, fashionably biro’ed (Pearce’s are more honest, less pretentious, in my heavily biased opinion), nor would he coiffure his hair to seal a date with a soap star or wannabe fashion model.
One of the things I liked about him the most was that he celebrated his goals with a sort of release of pent-up aggression, almost stoic at times but with a strong calmness. He was assured. He was humble.
As a player he was indeed known as ‘psycho’ – not because he was a dirty player, oh no, he was no Mark Dennis, Vinny Jones or Julian Dicks – who had far too many red cards to mention in their careers. Stuart Pearce was fiercely competitive, he was fiercely strong in the tackle, but he was fair.
Back in 2009, I was lucky enough to meet my hero at a Charity dinner, here we are together, you can tell that he was really, really pleased to meet me:
I asked him about a couple of his playing career moments….. Pearce played in the European Championships for England in 1992, we sadly failed to win any of our group games… But Stuart had a thunderous free kick strike the underside of the crossbar and bounce away from goal in a drawn game against France. Moments before taking the free kick, Pearce was headbutted, off the ball, by French defender Basil Boli, leaving a gash on his cheek.
When England won the free kick Pearce immediately disregarded his injury and rushed to take it. The referee insisted on Pearce having the blood wiped from his face first, but Pearce soon returned and unleashed his thunderbolt, which only just failed to go in.
These days, players roll around crying and complaining and trying to get other players into trouble. That was never Stuart Pearce’s style. He just got on with things. When he spoke about this incident when I met him, he was still gracious, gentlemanly and firm with who and how he is and I just love that.
When I see footballers rolling around on the field of play when virtually no contact has being made, I want to tell them to read about Stuart Pearce and to watch video footage of him. Speaking of which, here is a great clip of some of his goals for Nottingham Forest… Check out how long his run-up is in number 6 and 3, hahahaha. 2 and 1 are awesome, I saw both as they happened on the telly when I was younger…
The thing is, I have aspired to be like Stuart Pearce in many areas of my life – in business, in my approach to running, as a Father even – to be hard and fair, to be humble and to put in some full-blooded application of myself as well as being tenacious and wearing my heart on my sleeve.
Whilst I love Stuart Pearce for all he did as a player with us, and he is one of my all time footballing heroes (have I made that clear?), I initially shared some of the fans worries that with him being such a club legend, what if things did not go to plan with him at the helm as our manager – I can’t imagine our hero Psycho losing his legendary status if the team do not do well under his command… Then I watched his press conference…. and then I remembered his steely nerve as he scored THAT penalty against Spain in 1996 in the quarter final match having missed a crucial one 6 years previously in the 1990 World Cup semi-final against West Germany.
He roared when the ball went in. The nation roared with him. I still feel that roar.
That roar reminded me of the man that he is and I am certain he’ll do wonders for Nottingham Forest. That is not my main point here today though….
With everything that has been going on in my life this year (I have a 2 year old and a 1 year old at home and as most people, have a crazy workload and life currently), this blog has failed to roar for a little while. As of next Monday, it’ll back and firing on all cylinders. Keith and I have decided that my weekly ezine is going to start being very different as of next week (subscribers look out!) and this blog is about to be a fizzing hunk of relevant, topical, psychological joy for my regular readers (and new ones) to get their teeth into…
It is good to have heroes that have qualities we can use to inspire us from time to time, and who we can model facets of when we need to draw upon strengths. It is funny how timely the appointment of Stuart Pearce has been for me personally… If you have heroes or figures you aspire to be like, and you also have some things that you need to get on with or change, let those figures inspire and drive you or simply offer up a different pathway than the one you were on…
I am off to run my hypnotherapy practitioner diploma course this weekend… Have a great one, I’ll be back on Monday.