Dick Harmon: Motivational Speaker's Motto Should Remind BYU, Utah and USU That It's Mind over Matter

By Harmon, Dick | Deseret News (Salt Lake City), October 11, 2017 | Go to article overview

Dick Harmon: Motivational Speaker's Motto Should Remind BYU, Utah and USU That It's Mind over Matter


Harmon, Dick, Deseret News (Salt Lake City)


PROVO — Mind games.

Great plays are tattooed in the brain, the body’s CPU, before action. It takes great mental courage and motivation to win and winning breeds confidence.

You could go on and on.

Utah State stumbles against Colorado State, Utah’s two interceptions in the fourth quarter doom the Utes against Stanford, and BYU loses leads against USU and Boise State and, well, kind of melts under the lights.

Mental toughness.

This week BYU assistant coach Ed Lamb, the Yoda of Cougar coaches, made the following statement as the Cougars battle a 1-5 start:

"As coaches, we have to be on high alert for players who don't have the mental toughness to fight through a situation like this."

Football is hard.

But it isn’t as hard as what Art Berg went through. And he earned a Super Bowl ring from a wheelchair.

I first met Berg at Thanksgiving Point for lunch and an interview 16 years ago. What I saw was a man in a wheelchair who radiated such mental fortitude you could feel it a mile away.

His belief in himself, regardless of circumstances, was stirring.

Berg, who died at 39 in 2002 of complications from a dose of pain medication, told me he was on his way to meet his fiancée, back in 1983. He was driving along a freeway in Nevada when he was involved in a head-on collision that broke his neck and left him a paraplegic.

His girlfriend was Dallas Howard, 1981 Utah Junior Miss, and the love of his life. A man who would never walk again decided he would continue to chase his love, marry and tackle everything else in his life that he wanted. And he did.

Berg became an author, created his own business, and was inducted into the National Speaker Hall of Fame. He stood along Tony Robbins as a motivational speaker and spoke to corporations and youth and church groups, inspiring masses. He became a wheelchair athlete, a rugby player tethered to his chair. He pushed himself from Salt Lake to St. George in that chair. He and his wife had four kids and she became Mrs. Utah in 1992.

Berg earned a Super Bowl ring. And here’s the football intersect.

Before the Baltimore Ravens won the 2001 Super Bowl, they had Berg speak to them one morning during two-a-days before preseason games began. …

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