Monday, June 7, 2010

"A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment."

You would think that anything ever written about John Wooden would have to be about sports. You would think that the biggest impact a man who was responsible for the longest winning streak in college sports history, a man who won 8 consecutive national championships as a coach and was even enshrined as a Hall of famer as a player and a coach surely the only thing we can talk about is basketball right? Wrong. While all that I said about the man as a coach and as a player is true, what should be remembered about Coach Wooden is that he was a man of principle.

Anyone who is an avid follower of basketball has their own favorite John Wooden story. Be it Rick Reilly who told the story of how he never was paid more than 35,000 dollars a season and numerous times resisted the overtures to become the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and be paid ten times as much as he was being paid at UCLA. To Wooden education was one of the most important things one can acquire and he relished the opportunity to inspire young men for over forty years.

I think that while he instilled lessons through basketball, anyone who has read any of his maxims can attest to being able to take them and apply it to everyday life. While sports may not be important in the long run, Coach Wooden believed that the lessons learned from a game can be used to make you a better person. The seven point creed that he taught all of his players, given to him by his father, have affected millions in a ways some never thought possible by a sports figure. His pyramid of success has been used for years as a motivating tool and a template for succesful living. Pretty impressive for just a sports figure?

Would I say I am sad to see such a distinguished man pass away? No. He lived a full life, with no regrets in an honorable manner that is far too rare these days. I think I’ll end this with a few of my favorite quotes from the Wizard of Westwood.
"Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming."
"Be quick, but don't hurry."
"Talent is God – given. Be humble. Fame is man - given. Be grateful. Conceit is self - given. Be careful."
"A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player. Losing yourself in the group, for the good of the group, that’s teamwork."
"Sports don't build character, they reveal it."
And probably my favorite, his world famous seven point creed:
1. Be true to yourself.
2. Make each day your masterpiece.
3. Help others.
4. Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.
5. Make friendship a fine art.
6. Build a shelter against a rainy day.
7. Pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessings every day.

A Template for success

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