Monday, June 14, 2010

Remembering John Wooden

John Wooden's Pyramid of Success

Recently the "toy department of human life," has offered up a lot to ponder. That's especially true for this lifelong LA sports fan. We've got the Lakers-Celtics again in the NBA finals and the NCAA's ridiculous sanctions against USC football. We've got the US tying England in soccer.

Then, in a whole different category, there's the passing of John Wooden.

Coach Wooden

I grew up a Laker, Dodger, Ram and Bruin basketball fan. Back then, UCLA basketball was just amazing to watch -- the stifling full court press, Kareem, Walton, and the rest. Ten NCAA championships in a dozen years. Nothing like it before or since. But, as dominant as UCLA was in the 60's and 70's, you always knew there was more to those teams than just basketball. There was the person and the teaching of John Wooden.

Coach John Wooden died June 4 at the age of 99. He coached his last game in 1975, yet what the man taught was so enduring and so compelling that 35 years after his retirement his death was front page news across the nation. By "the numbers," he ranks as one of the greatest coaches of all time -- regardless of sport. But, remarkably, almost all of the buzz (and there's been a lot of it) is not about basketball. The Internet is filled with story upon story of Wooden's teaching, his upright life and his devotion to his wife, Nell.

Wooden's life began in 1910 in a house with no indoor plumbing and it ended this month with his life and his teaching splashed across the World Wide Web. Through it all, he was guided by a seven part creed given him by his father, an Indiana farmer. Kind of bedrock rules for living, the creed stood the tests of time and place -- from Wooden's schoolboy days in Martinsville, IN to Westwood in the tumultuous 60's and they anchor his legacy today.

I've enjoyed the celebration of Wooden's life and reconnecting with Wooden's teaching. Now, make today your masterpiece... and be quick, but don't hurry....


Brenda's Arizona said...

Very nice tribute. Wooden seemed to be a very respected and honorable coach and man. Thanks for the link to the seven part creed, too!

Mister Earl said...

Wooden was truly a unique human being. Among the amazing things was his life-long relationship with former players, many of whom called him very often. Some called every day.

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