Monday, June 7, 2010

Coach Heads Home

“Coach Wooden never talked about winning and losing, but rather about the effort to win. He rarely talked about basketball, but generally about life. He never talked about strategy, statistics or plays, but rather about people and character. Coach Wooden never tired of telling us that once you become a good person, then you have a chance of becoming a good basketball player”

The world needs more coaches like John.

A coach who understood the meaning of his own words.

That he too, needed to be a good person first.

John passed away last week, but his contributions will extend far beyond his chosen sport for many decades to come. More than anything, John Wooden's brand of wisdom was something he exemplified for the past 99 years, modelling the words he shared in a fashion that can only be described as remarkable.

But, to truly understand what made John Wooden successful as a coach, one has to know what made him successful as a man. No matter how much the world and its values changed around him, John kept his eyes on a prize that really mattered, with an unparalleled love story for his high school sweetheart that transcended the 53 years of marriage they enjoyed until Nell's passing on March 21, 1985.

Wooden would never kiss another girl, and in fact honored Nell on the 21st of every month, writing her a love letter, adding it to the stack on the pillow where she once slept. John maintained that monthly ritual for 26 years before finally rejoining his beloved last Friday.

It is a love story like few others.

Because great men like John are few and far between.

"Material possessions, winning scores, and great reputations are meaningless in the eyes of the Lord, because He knows what we really are and that is all that matters"

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