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Mental Training without Games or Practices

In Basketball, Mental Training by Brock Bourgase

In a lockdown, players and coaches must be adaptable to train. Going outside, running hills, cross-training… creativity is a requirement when so many facilities are closed and activities suspended. Finding the motivation for physical training is as much of a challenge as the exercises themselves. It is equally challenging to train mentally during this time. Without games and scarce practices without defense, the incentive to prepare for them may be lacking. Nevertheless, technology and the power of habit give players a chance.

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Cobra Kai & Leadership

In Coaching, Leadership, Television by Brock Bourgase

Watching Cobra Kai on Netflix, I was thinking about how this highly unrealistic show could be applied in the real world. Certainly, basketball coaches shouldn’t covert their clubs into gangs that brawl with their neighbourhood rivals but I thought of some other ideas and sent them to the Internet. Spoilers after the break.

The Iron Lady

In Films by Brock Bourgase

Following recent trends, Meryl Streep won an Academy Award for a convincing portrayal of a recent historical figure in a biopic that was enjoyed by many (following Sean Penn in Milk, Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote and Jamie Foxx in Ray). Others portrayed dynamic characters and captivated audiences but Streep truly brought The Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher, to life. Looking back at a nearly forty year political career while suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, Streep (and Jim Broadbent who played Denis Thatcher) soar to heights that the plain film is incapable of reaching.

The Adventures of Tintin

In Films by Brock Bourgase

The Adventures of Tintin is the film that Steven Spielberg has always aspired to make. Combining 3-D and motion capture technology, the director actions action scenes which defy physical and leap from the screen in the realm of absurdity. The film cannot capture the audience’s imagination because it goes well beyond that; Tintin is action for the sake of action, innovative because it showcases scenes few had conceived before. Though many current films may follow the same mantra of “watch now, think later”, they cannot replicate Spielberg’s panache. For better or worse, the film entertains consistently throughout its concise 144 …

Monsieur Lazhar

In Films by Brock Bourgase

After an elementary school teacher hangs herself in the classroom, a school is left shaken. The principal cannot find a substitute teacher to take over the assignment and the students are coping with their grief over the death of their popular teacher. Monsieur Lazhar, claiming to be a teacher from Algeria who is a permanent resident in Canada but cannot obtain a permanent job, arrives and is tasked with restoring some order to the class.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Part II

In Films by Brock Bourgase

Remakes sometimes prove weak derivatives of the original film but The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo deserves to stand on equal footing as the Swedish original. The strengths of the original film – an enigmatic title character, dark themes and a cold setting which is not often portrayed on film – remain intact as do the weaknesses, such as the stilted plot and anti-climatic conclusion. The first chapter of the Millennium Trilogy is more suited to film, where it can be edited and altered to retain the audience’s interest, than a 631 page tome. Many films follow Akira Kurosawa’s model …

The Artist

In Films by Brock Bourgase

An ode to silent films and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen, The Artist could easily become camp yet manages to rise above the novelty of black and white scenes, dialogue replaced by caption cards and a 4:3 aspect ratio. The film succeeds because it preserves the magic of Hollywood, not the techniques of 1920s filmmaking. Ultimately, the purpose of films is to entertain; silent films became obsolete when viewers wanted to see “talkies” and black and white films were replaced when colour was demanded. The Artist aspires to entertain the audience with a simple and charming story and …


In Films by Brock Bourgase

Carnage, based on the play God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza, is a brief but charming comedic film. Much like Reza’s other Tony award winning play ‘Art’, it features a group of people who come together for a seemingly innocuous reason only to slowly annoy, provoke and antagonize each other. Instead of three friends coming together to view an all-white painting, Carnage describes how two set of parents meet after their sons get into a fight at a nearby playground. Penelope and Michael Longstreet – played by Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly – host Nancy and Alan Cowan – …

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

In Films by Brock Bourgase

The problems with Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows began with the poster prominently displayed outside the theatre, featuring the protagonist grasping a revolver. This is a misunderstanding that envelops the entire film, substituting explosions, MMA and cross-dressing for the thoughtful detective work of the novels. The film looks fantastic and brings Europe at the turn of the twentieth century to live but neglects to do likewise for the titular character. Unfortunately, the eccentricities of Sherlock Holmes are exaggerated far too much by Robert Downey and he is made to be a comedic figure. While Arthur Conan Doyle created a …

Margin Call

In Films by Brock Bourgase

More than one audience member felt that the reason Margin Call seemed so depressing was that the events depict on-screen actually occurred, a small group of traders leaving the economies of the world to deal with their reckless actions. Like the real word, the film a large financial firm is populated by a myriad of people some who are very well-paid and do very little and others who are very effective but wield little influence. Margin Call recounts a thirty-six hours period when a risk management analyst realizes the precarious position that the heavily-leveraged firm has created for itself and …

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

In Films by Brock Bourgase

This past weekend, two films opened that allowed views to choose between their amygdala and prefrontal cortex. Those who wanted to react could watch Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and relish the ceaseless action and those who wished to reflect could screen Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and revisit the intrigue of the Cold War. There is nothing wrong with explosions and fisticuffs but I wanted conspiracies and mysteries so I chose the latter. I was happy with my choice but others in the theatre were not, believing that there was not sufficient violence for their liking. Based on the 1974 novel …


In Films by Brock Bourgase

Shame exemplifies a recent trend in cinema to portray an emotion – or a moment in time – rather than a narrative or a story. Dialogue and plot development may be minimum but the audience is shown a realistic and intense exposé about the effects of addiction on individuals and relationships. There really is no moral, other than the message: “this is out there, it is what it is and we need to be aware of it and deal with it.” Michael Fassbender stars Brandon, initially a seemingly successful executive whose life gradually comes apart after his sister Sissy, played …


In Books by Brock Bourgase

Ryan Gosling’s unnamed protagonist is as enigmatic as Drive itself. Mixing genres between film noir, tragic hero and 1980s crime thriller, Drive certainly showcases a fair amount of style as it could have been directed by Miami Vice’s Michael Mann. When it endeavours to tell a story, it falls short because the film relies solely on the viewer taking it all in from afar rather than scrutinizing the brush strokes. Undoubtedly, the film is unique as Gosling’s character, who works as a getaway driver, auto mechanic and stock car racer. He is elusive at first when he is introduced as …

Broken (Bullpen) Telephone

In Leadership by Brock Bourgase

During Game 5 of the World Series, the St. Louis Cardinals were placed at a disadvantage when a miscommunication occurred between the dug out and the bullpen and incorrect pitchers were warmed up. Consequently, the Texas Rangers score two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, enabling them to win a pivotal game.

Of Gods and Men

In Films by Brock Bourgase

Trappist monks who lived in the monastery of Tibhirine existed in harmony with Muslims in the mountains of Algeria until a civil war erupted in the 1990s. Seven monks were captured by the Armed Islamic Group and were killed two months later, although the exact circumstances of their deaths remain unclear. Director Xavier Beauvois revisits the tragic events in his film, Of Gods and Men, chronicling how the monks debated whether or not to remain in North Africa amidst rising tensions between Christians and Muslims. The monks weigh the issue thoroughly, understanding that although they play no role in the …

The Interrupters

In Films by Brock Bourgase

In many respects, The Interrupters showcases the dichotomy of documentary filmmaking: the execution of the film is flawed but the story is spellbinding. Shot over the course of a year, the documentary follows “Violence Interrupters” affiliated with the group Cease Fire as the roam the streets of Chicago’s most at-risk neighborhoods, mediating confrontations and diffusing dangerous situations. The group’s goal is two-fold: to reduce violence as much as possible because acts of violence beget violence and lobby to address some of the root causes of which violence is a symptom. The group is founded by a doctor named Gary Slutkin …