John Wooden was one of the most respected college basketball coaches in history. As the coach of the UCLA basketball team in the 1960s and 1970s, Wooden won ten NCAA titles.
Columnist Rick Reilly wrote of the coach before he died in 2010: “Of the 180 players who played for him, [he] knows the whereabouts of 172. Of course, it’s not hard when most of them call, checking on his health, secretly hoping to hear some of his simple life lessons that they can write on the lunch bags of their kids ... Never lie, never cheat, never steal. Earn the right to be proud and confident.”
The respect Wooden earned reminds us of something his father gave him when he was twelve years old. It was a list of things to keep in mind each day:
1. Be true to yourself. 2. Help others. 3. Make each day your masterpiece. 4. Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible. 5. Make friendship a fine art. 6. Build a shelter against a rainy day. 7. Pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessings every day.
Coach Wooden did his best to live this way. As a result, very few people in the history of American sports are as admired as he is.
Like John Wooden, turn “your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding.”