The Psychology of the Here and Now in Sports

UH Cougar Football Coach Tom Herman A man dedicated to leaving no psychological stone unturned in service to the goal of winning.

UH Cougar Football Coach Tom Herman
A man dedicated to leaving no psychological stone unturned in service to the goal of winning.


Remember Craig Biggio – that guy that played second base for the Astros in the era prior to the coming of Jose Altuve?

Among so many other things he did here during his twenty-year Hall of Fame career, Biggio also charted some repute for that same answer he gave reporters who invariably asked him how tonight’s game (whatever good or bad it was) may have effected the rest of the season. – “We will just have to take it one game and time and see. That’s all we can do.” Biggio would say – in words to that effect. It was the classic cliche in sports, but let’s remember – true cliches are based upon the redundant utterance of a truth that almost everyone knows, but fewer practice to any great degree. Especially so – is it true for this one.

UH Football Coach Tom Herman understands that lesson too, apparently. In a USA article today, Herman won’t even allow the young Cougars to even speak of their Peach Bowl win over Florida State last season. When it comes up at all, its referenced and credited only to last year’s team.

“We’re never gonna refer to it again as ‘we,’ or ‘us,’ ” Herman says. “We didn’t win the Peach Bowl. That championship team (from 2015) won the Peach Bowl. We haven’t done anything yet.”

Good call, Coach Herman! – And do these points also have some application to the 2015-2016 Astros teams?

And the same kind of thinking applies to the 2016 Astros. They are not the same to-the-lip-of-the-cup club that took us to the brink of a second World Series appearance for Houston in 2015. Even if you make the point that that the 2016 Astros are essentially the same club and leadership group as they were in 2015, they are not the same. And this is a different moment in time. Need an example? Which version of Dallas Keuchel would you prefer taking the mound for the Astros – the 2016 Dallas Keuchel – or the 2016 model of the same bearded man?

The Here and Now is the Only Place and Time We Own.

Whether it’s football, baseball, or taking out the garbage on pick up days, we can only do something about those things that come up in life in the here and now – over which we have some control. If a tornado enters our here and now, we may be reduced to freeze, run, or duck and lay low as our choices, but life is like that sometimes, isn’t it? In the end, the here and now matters because it is the only real time we ever have – and the only time that truly exists. The past and future are respectively the products of memory and projection. While we hope to learn from the past and plan for the future, in reality, we are always truly in the constantly shifting moment we call the here and now.

Knowing that everything happens in our lives to teach us something, we change and grow from painful experience. If we do not understand even  that much, however, refusing the lessons of a painful life experience simply guarantees that we shall get to see it again in some form. This goes on until we either get the lesson – or the refused lesson gets us.

The Wisdom of Coach Herman, Briefly Expanded

  1. Last year’s great success entitles none of the returning UH players from 2015 to take anything for granted in 2016.
  2. 2015 is history. This is the 2016 UH Football club coming up next fall. As members, you’ve done nothing to prove anything.
  3. Nobody’s entitled. You don’t get the win for simply showing up – and suiting up – in a new season.
  4. Everybody has to do their job – one called play at a time – or, as in the Astros case, one pitched ball at a time.


Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas




5 Responses to “The Psychology of the Here and Now in Sports”

  1. Sam Says:


    Your points are RIGHT ON!

    I am going to take the liberty to reflect on a broader perspective of your blog but not necessarily out of realm of consideration.

    Aside from the current state of affairs with regard to Houston Sports Teams and in particular with the Houston Astros, you are only as good as or as bad as the game you just played. Enjoy the moment of victory because victory is elusive but not necessarily true of defeat that happens more than we would like to see. If you are good in baseball (3 out of 10 at bats is considered pretty good — a .300 hitter) it means success is fleeting to a novice observer or perhaps not even appreciated.

    The big lesson to appreciate from victory is enjoying it for the moment but not allow it to rule your attitude that you are far superior in comparison to your opponents!

    If we had someone like a Craig Biggio or a Coach Herman, back in the day when UH was growing up as an athletic prowess, there is a good chance UH would be in a big money conference compared to where we are today.

    The error of our ways is that we rubbed our successes in the noses of the very people who are key decision makers today and thus influence the wishes and desires of Cougar fans.

    Using the statement from the Houston Chronicle article: All that matters, Herman says, is this: “What are you gonna do this year — who knows?”

    Criticism, blustering, crying foul will get you nowhere!

    It is important to appreciate every Houston Sports Team is seeking to improve their product. In deed it is easy to say “be patient”; if you think about it what else is there for Houston Sports Fans to do?

    As for the University of Houston and its athletic programs, choose your words carefully; someone else owns the Golden Goose!

    And, follow the good wisdom of Coach Herman!

  2. stanfromtacoma Says:

    In baseball you are going to win 60
    lose 60 and it’s what you do in the other 42 that counts. I imagine that this year the Astros have lost some of those 42 and the first place Mariners have kwon some of those 42. Stayed tunedl to see how this year turns out. I think the Astros have more talent than the 2016 Mariners but if sports was just about talent would anyone pay attention?

  3. don matlosz Says:

    zen concepts=the moment and impermanence
    Milton Berle you are only as good as your last corn beef sandwich

  4. Sam Says:

    And, Yogi Berra said it best:

    “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

    “You can observe a lot by just watching.”

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