Let the Game Come to You

George Mumford has helped athletes, business owners, and prisoners alike navigate their thoughts and emotions, allowing them to perform at their peak. Let go of trying to make things happen, he says, and you can find “the masterpiece within.”

Steve Hailey, whom Mumford mentored as an athlete at Boston College, shares a relaxed moment with his old coach and friend. Photograph by Erik Jacobs

This wasn’t exactly the kind of life-changing moment he had in mind.

George Mumford had just emerged from a detox center in Dorchester, Massachusetts, and it was the first time he could remember being sober for 21 days straight. George had been drinking pretty heavily since he was a teen and had gotten hooked on painkillers in college, which later morphed into a full-blown heroin addiction. For a long time, he’d been able to hide his habit and hold down his job as a financial analyst for a digital equipment manufacturer, but after his marriage fell apart, he turned to Alcoholics Anonymous and that inspired him to try to get clean.

As he walked down Morton Street that day toward the house in Mattapan where he was living, he had a surprising revelation. “This was the first time that I’d ever really seen my street,” he recalls. “It was as if I had been living in fantasy my whole life.”

The next morning George had a strong compulsion to use again. But instead of going out and trying to score some heroin, he went into the bathroom and recited the Serenity Prayer. He said it over and over until slowly…

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