Skip to main content

The First Life Coach

There's a lot of buzz in today's world about coaches, including life and career coaches. Coach John Wooden was truly the first of them all. He left this world on June 4, 2010, just four months shy of his 100th birthday. He was a winning coach of 10 NCAA basketball championships and played basketball for Purdue in college.

He could motivate without selling or proselytizing. He inspired by example. He lived every word he said. He knew that "work was love made visible." He was an Olympian every day and set the highest standards possible for both star athletes and for anyone else who wanted to, as Wooden advised, "make each day their masterpiece." He was a brilliant coach; a truly good man; a Christian teacher; and would have made a Zen master proud.

He also deserves mentioning because his life and his work stand in such stark contrast to much of what we see in the sports world today. In fact, Wooden is the antithesis to most of what that world has come to represent, as it has increasingly become a business empire. Wooden reminds us of what both the sports world can return to being and what we can make of our own lives with some key sports values: Practice, honesty, hard work, and short, teachable snatches of wisdom we can remember, learn from and rely on in hard times.

Below are some of Wooden's more well-known quotes from Brainyquote. For more information, see the official Coach Wooden Website.

If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?

If you're not making mistakes, then you're not doing anything. I'm positive that a doer makes mistakes.

It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.

It's what you learn after you know it all that counts.

Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It's courage that counts.

Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.

You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.

The worst thing about new books is that they keep us from reading the old ones.

And one of my favorites:
Never mistake activity for achievement.

Comments

BarbeeAnne said…
Thanks...I'm going to send the quotes to Evan. He will appreciate them. Hope life is treating you well...love the short haircut.
B Todd said…
Having grown up in the Los Angeles area in the 60s I'm quite familiar with the "Wizard of Westwood". It is unfortunate that fewer and fewer people these days know of him or how he taught. So many of his ex-players would talk about how he taught them not only basketball but about life.

I use him as an example with my music students for the importance of paying attention to the details, to the little things. One of the first things he would teach new players was how to put on their socks. If a player didn't smooth out the sock around the little toe, a fold appears there that, with all the running involved, would irritate the skin and lead to a blister which would take the player out of the game. Small things can make a huge difference.

Popular posts from this blog

Mil Cosas

Mil Lubroth was an American artist of Polish and Russian descent who came to settle in Madrid, where her chic, short name took on an extra meaning. In castellano, Mil means a thousand. Just right for an artist whose work could never be "pinned down," or categorized by any one theme or direction.

To experience Lubroth's work is akin to hearing a chorus of voices from Sheherazade's 1001 nights: it is to see and feel a thousand things united in one intriguing and beautiful visual journey. If you are anywhere near Madrid during October, invite yourself to a banquet of Mil's "mil cosas" atAnnta Gallery. The exhibit that opens October 5th is the first retrospective of Lubroth's work since her death in 2004.

Spanning 50 years, these works reveal an artist who was never less than mature and skilled in her work. There is no sign of awkward beginnings, improvement over time or deepening development. Here is Minerva, beginning her artistic trajectory fully f…

Booked on Sugar

Sometimes the television remote control finds the channel for Destiny. I believe I was indeed destined to see Marc Aronson'sand Marina Buddhos's presentation to students at the Brooklyn Public Library based on their recent book, SugarChanged the World. Their program certainly changed my world. While written for a youth audience, this is a book that adults will enjoy, and naturally, a great book for parents to share with their children.

I often wonder at the parallels between drug addiction and food addiction in our culture. I know I'm not alone in this. You can't miss the similarities:  "Betcha can't eat just one.  Crave the crunch. Do you dream in chocolate? Hershey chocolate is bliss."  And, as noted in my earlier posts on  Super Bowl ads, when you see a man "snorting" Dorito crumbs .... well, I rest my case.

I've also thought about how quickly we "judge" people with substance abuse problems while the US clearly suffers from foo…

A Cat, a Dog, and Shakespeare: The Perfect Sunday Afternoon

One reason I keep paying a cable bill is to be able to watch Turner Classic Movies. I had just finished a batch of Sunday chores and was resting a moment on the couch, wedged between Chatterly the cat and Gypsy the dog (an Australian Kelpie), and saw that TCM was about to air Julius Caesar, directed by Joseph Mankiewicz, and produced in 1953. 


I read Julius Caesar for the first time when I was in sixth grade. It was a great time to read it, because it seemed fresh and real to me, even though some of the centuries-old English was challenging. 


The movie made me wish that Joseph Mankiewicz had directed more of Shakespeare's works for cinema. The balance the movie strikes is oh, so totally just right. It does not go so far into cinematic territory that we lose the work's theatricality, but travels far enough by camera that it provides a sense of seamless reality only a movie can create.  The casting was brilliant.  James Mason was at his best as Brutus, and he carries the film on h…