Psychoanalysis of Bode Millers Reconciliation with Ted Ligety, Marco Sullivan, TJ Lanning, et al

Posted By: Zeke Piestrup on September 25, 2009 2:25 pm

Bode Miller has moved back home with his teammates.  It’s reconciliation time, a new day and a renewed marriage.  Certainly much of the credit for Bode’s return goes to U.S. men’s alpine head coach, Sasha Rearick

But, this relationship is not just about the star skier and his coach.  It also involves other siblings, namely Bode’s teammates.  Eric Fisher, Ted Ligety, Marco Sullivan, TJ Lanning, how will the other A Team members react to Bode’s returning to the fold?

In the aftermath of the once fractured relationship, The Ski Channel spoke with renowned Beverly Hills psychoanalyst Dr. Peter Wolson about the issues Bode Miller and his teammates now face after a prolonged separation and reconciliation.

So doctor, what causes separation in the first place?

“Frequently separation is caused by a need for autonomy, independence.  Just like in music, Sting separates, or John Lennon, wanting to do your own gig where you have your own autonomy, not be under the pressure of compromising with others.”

Compromise?  Glenn Beck would not be stoked.  Well, what issues will Bode face now that he has reconciled with the team?


“The issue is the feelings, if there’s other members who are hurt by Bode leaving.  There could be resentment, or envy towards him for starting his own primacy, where he would be the most salient, that he could do it without them.  There could some feelings of betrayal.”


Betrayal?  Envy?  That’s very soap-opera-y!  Can these feelings be overcome?


“I think the fact that he did poorly the second year, would reduce any envy by teammates, or that sense of betrayal.  Doing poorly that second year…  That feeling of envy could be modified to some extent since he did poorly that second year.  He obviously saw some value in rejoining the ski team.  That in itself is humble.  People could appreciate that.”

What about the new head chief, Sasha Rearick?  How can he succeed where other head coaches have failed?

“Just like with the Lakers, they had various basketball coaches and those coaches failed.  They had to give these excellent prima-donnas their autonomy.  I think it’s important for the team to respect Bode’s autonomy, supporting him to do as well as he can, as opposed to trying to control him in any way.”

Got it.  Control, bad.  Bode’s now off to train with his teammates.  How should both sides handle this delicate reunion?

“Relationship wise, it’s important that he does not rub in the fact that he had one of his best years without them and be sort of arrogant about that, that he did so well on his own.  On their side, not wanting to rub in the fact that he did poorly the second year on his own.  There should be an attitude of forgive and forget, if there is resentment about his leaving.  He respects their authority and the goodness of being a part of a team, and not blowing his horn about being independent.  Welcome him back, the prodigal son comes home.”

Prodigal son, indeed.  Bode is the man!  So what can the Bode and his teammates do to make the reconciliation successful?

“Just try to deeply understand the other person’s perspective, and have empathy for that person, and have the subjectivity to understand why they did what they did.  Working through whatever pain, resentment, hurt, betrayal, anger, working that through, to have a forum to be able to express those feelings in a safe environment and not be punished for them.  Each side of the couple can express these bad feelings, so they can have a catharsis.”

Wow.  Thanks, doctor.  I feel much better.  Just send the bill to Steve Bellamy.  Yeah, that’s B-e-l-l…

Zeke Piestrup ( More Posts)

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