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Mike Saunders: His life sentence should also be yours

March 21, 2022 Andy Furman
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For 27 years he cared for the top professional athletes in our town.

He said it was “his calling.”

Mike Saunders, the trainer for the New York Knicks taped ankles, rubbed shoulders, stretched legs – and perhaps more importantly took time to listen to stories and quotes that inspired, motivated and empowered.

And today, the 1970 grad of Newtown High School has put those collections of quotes and stories in a book – “Life Sentence.”

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“Great quotes always resonated with me,” he told the Brooklyn Eagle, “And motivated me each day. I would collect them on business cards and saved them in a card holder.”

He said he’d look at them periodically and realize how powerful the collection had become.

“It did little good to be hidden in my desk drawer,” he said, “I needed to share it with young people.”

Here’s a sample:

The dictionary is the only place where SUCCESS comes before work—Author Unknown

Saunders attended CCNY where he majored in Biology.

“I was interested in Marine Biology,” he said. 

Surprise Lake Camp (Cold Spring, New York) was his summer home. He also coached baseball and basketball for the Police Athletic League (PAL).

“I soon changed my major to Education, hoping to coach and be a Physical Education instructor,” he said.

That all changed during his junior year

“I read an article in the school newspaper about the hiring of Joel Rosenstein—a Brooklyn College graduate — as the new Athletic Trainer. Something in the article told me that he was looking for volunteers for the training room. I went that day to introduce myself and went back every day after that,” he said.

The fireworks went off, he remembered, and knew this was his calling.

I’m not in it for the income, I’m in it for the OUTCOME – Author Unknown

Saunders got his first break with an amazing opportunity to go on tour with the New York Cosmos of the then-North American Soccer League.

He says his career with the Knicks, 1978 to 2005, was filled with daily challenges and interesting events.

“For my first 12 years or so,” he recalled, “the team traveled commercially, as opposed to charter planes. You can imagine going from city-to-city with a dozen giants during snow storms and other weather difficulties.”

Early on, Saunders served as a Teachers’ Aide at Manhattan’s Julia Richman High School.

“I was one of the few trainers who was also a Physical Therapist. Everyday was interesting,” he said.

He said he once had an Executive who was in a bad mood. His reply as to why he was in such a mood was, “It’s Monday.”

Saunders said: “I realized I never had a Monday.”

I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that’s why I succeed. – Michael Jordan

Michael Saunders taped ankles for professional athletes for years. 

He used that time not only to help those athletes, but through his Life Sentence, he can now help others.

Life Sentence is great for people of all ages and careers,” he said. “It is particularly tailored for athletes and would be a great gift for a father or grandfather to give as a gif to a loved one.”

Life Sentence is $17.95 including postage, and can be ordered at: PO Box 480123, Delray Beach, Fla. 33448.

One final thought, Young Thomas Edison:

Young Thomas Edison came home from grade school one day with a note his teacher had given him. He handed the note to his mother and said, “My teacher gave me this paper and told me you are the only one to read it. What does it say?”

His mother read the note with tears in her eyes. “You son is a genius. This school is too small for him and doesn’t have enough good teachers to train him. Please teach him yourself.: His mother did just that until she fell ill and passed away.

Many years later, after becoming the greatest inventor of the century, he came across tat folded note his teacher had sent home. He opened it, and it read: “You son is mentally deficient. We cannot let him attend our school anymore. He is expelled.:

Edison got very emotional and wrote in his diary: “Thomas A. Edison was a mentally deficient child whose mother turned him into the genius of the century.”

A positive word of encouragement can help change someone’s entire life.

Andy Furman is a Fox Sports Radio national talk show host. Previously, he was a scholastic sports columnist for the Brooklyn Eagle. He may be reached at: [email protected] Twitter: @AndyFurmanFSR

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