Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wisdom that Never Grows Old

Slammin' Sam on Sports Media

Coach John Wooden has written nine books. You may have even read one, or at the very least you are familiar with his maxims.

A little more than a week before his UCLA Bruins tip off their regular season and less than two weeks after his 99th birthday, here is a look at his newest collection of wisdom, “A Game Plan for Life.”

Read "A Game Plan for Life" because:

1. The book is on mentoring. Wooden shares his definition: “Anywhere there is a sharing of knowledge or a teaching of experience, there is a mentor. Every piece of knowledge is something that has been shared by someone else. If you understand it as I do, mentoring becomes your true legacy.” (4)

Especially in today’s world that is changing and more unstable than ever, we need to root ourselves in foundational truths. In “Game Plan” Wooden focuses on seven people who have mentored him as well as seven people who he has mentored.

2. Going along with the present uncertainty and adversity that many people encounter today, Coach Wooden shares how he has been mentored by the works and readings of Mother Teresa.

At some point in his life, Wooden became an eager student of her writings and speeches, and the way she expressed her beliefs affected him in a profound way. “An insulated life that never reaches out is something of a waste. Life should be a complex network of relationships and encounters that all serve to grow an individual and others,” he gleaned from her work. (65)

From reading her inspirational published diary, Wooden gained strength from the idea that, “The answer during times of doubt is not to walk away from service to others, but to seek it out even more than before.” (72)

3. Andy Hill wouldn’t admit it until well after his playing days, but the longtime CBS executive now finds the words of his former coach resonate again and again.

Embittered by a lack of playing time during his time at UCLA, Hill walled himself off from his former coach/mentor until he couldn’t help but realize the Wooden’s principles remained instrumental in his life.

Later, his son reminded Hill of one of his former coach’s foremost lessons. “I was prepared, and that’s all I can control,” the younger Hill told his father. (134)

Wooden’s wisdom undoubtedly has spawned books with similar messages. Hopefully those books have motivated people to live like the legendary coach as well.

Sam Miller/Free Keon

Note: I will be away for the rest of the week. My twice weekly feature will return next Tuesday. Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

  1. Nice summation Sam, sounds like a great read. Hard to believe that Wooden is 99 and still going strong. If Bruce Weber retires and John can still walk and talk, Illinois should totally go after him :)


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