A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from March 05, 2013
“Get your head in the game” (act smarter)

"Get your head in the game” means that one should act smarter, pay attention and stop making mistakes; “keep your head in the game” is similar advice. “Keep your head in the game” has been cited in print since at least 1904 and “get your head in the game” since 1911, although the context of these quotes didn’t involve sports. “Get your head in the game. Do that over again and right this time” was said by Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne in 1930.

“Get’cha Head in the Game” was a song (directed at a basketball-playing student) in Disney’s movie musical, High School Musical (2005).

26 October 1904, Oelwein (IA) Register, “manner of Marking Ballot,” pg. 4, col. 1:
When you get into the voting booth November 8, remember that there are only two ways of marking your ballot if you expect to have it counted. it is not difficult if you keep your head in the game.

11 January 1911, Brownstown (IN) Banner, pg. 2, col. 5:
So, Brother Farmer, get your head in the game and lead or follow.

28 August 1922, Ironwood (MI) Daily Globe, “It’s All in the Slant,” pg. 6, col. 2:
KEEPING YOUR head in the game is a big factor.

18 October 1930, Charleston (WV) Gazette, “Knute Predicts Loss for ‘Boys’ in Tussle Today,” pg. 6, col. 5:
“Get your head in the game. Do that over again and right this time.”
(Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne—ed.)

24 December 1956, Morning Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA), “Set the Hook Hard” by Bob Scearce, pg. 4-B, col. 1:
Briefly they are this: carry only empty guns; no horseplay—every gun is a loaded gun as far as you’re concerned; be conscious of that muzzle at all times, never let it stray close to a hunting companion; keep your head in the game at all times—day-dreaming might be costly; ...

Google Books
7 February 1964, Life magazine, pg. 106:
(A photo shows a basketball player’s head obscured by a basketball—ed.)

26 August 1967, Boston (MA) Herald Traveler, “Let’s Make Hay Here In Chicago” by George Scott (Red Sox First Baseman), pg. 1, col. 1:
I mean bearing down, keeping your head in the game.

Google News Archive
29 January 1973, The Ledger (Lakeland, FL), “Designated Pinch Hitter” (Associated Press), pg. 4B, col. 5:
“I think a player might become lazy going to bat only every second or third inning,” Killebrew said. “It might be difficult keeping your head in the game just sitting on the bench and waiting to hit. I’d rather play both ways.”
(Harmon Killebrew of the Minnesota Twins, speaking about the designated hitter position—ed.,)

Google News Archive
6 February 1974, Palm Beach (FL) Post, “Maravich Suspended Indefinitely” (Associated Press), pg. D3, col. 2:
After the game, Fitzsimmons criticized Maravich’s playing and said he obviously “didn’t have his head in the game.”

OCLC WorldCat record
High school musical.
Publisher: [United States] : Walt Disney Music Co. : Wonderland Music Co. ; Milwaukee, WI : Distributed by Hal Leonard, [2005]
Edition/Format: Musical score : Musical revues & comedies : Multiple forms : Popular music : English
Get’cha head in the game

OCLC WorldCat record
Keeping Your Head in the Game: Sport-Specific Imagery and Anxiety Among Injured Athletes
Author: Eva Monsma; James Mensch; Jennifer Farroll
Edition/Format: Article : English
Publication: Journal of Athletic Training, v44 n4 (200907): 410-417
Database: CrossRef
Other Databases: ArticleFirst; British Library Serials; ECO; MEDLINE; Elsevier

OCLC WorldCat record
Parents! : get your head in the game
Author: Teri McCarthy, M.A.
Publisher: Edina, MN : Beaver’s Pond Press, ©2010.
Edition/Format: Book : English
A no-nonsense, practical book to assist parents in dealing with tough parenting issues. Step by step solutions are offered that have been proven effective for parents that have implemented these strategies.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Tuesday, March 05, 2013 • Permalink