Saturday, June 5, 2010

Coach John Wooden

Just before falling asleep last night, I learned that Coach Wooden had died.  I woke up thinking about nights at Wooden Camp, films in a small theater and then Coach would talk about life.  I'm sure it was intentional that these were the last events of the day.  You worked hard, really hard, all day and then when your body is exhausted your mind and soul are truly ready to receive.  You are then left, to fall asleep, with those lessons bouncing around in your head.

I've never liked phrases like, "give 110%", "busting my ass" or "gave it everything I had".  They're just rarely true.  Even in our greatest accomplishments, there are flaws.  Even our greatest efforts have weakness embedded in them.  I've always been drawn to phrases like one attributed to Steve Prefontaine, "fatigue makes cowards of us all".  I'm sure these feelings started with Coach Wooden's definition of success, “Success is a peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”  I love sports, love watching an 8 year old celebrate a made basket, and love watching adults act like 8 year olds when they win.  But I think true feelings of success are quiet moments, all alone, with yourself.

Coach Wooden had almost as much influence on my life as my father, and now they are both gone, leaving me only with their words.  From my father, "It's not what you do today, it's what you do every day that counts". And from so many wonderful Coach Wooden quotes, my simple favorite, "Be quick, but don't hurry".

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