Friday, June 11, 2010

Examples and lessons from America’s greatest coach
Many things in sports depend on luck, but some elements within a sport don’t depend on luck at all.

For instance, the free-throw shot in basketball.

According to Mick McCormick, “During one stretch in the 1935-36 season, Wooden hit 134 straight free throws.”

That’s not luck, that’s conditioning one’s mind and body to do things the right way. It’s no wonder that Wooden would become a teacher and a coach.

Wooden was a self-described “liberal Democrat” who, like others of his generation, had a conservative disposition.
Another thing I like about the early ’60s (the stylish continuation of the ’50s that unlike the hippies actually accomplished things) and before: such politics did a lot of damage, like termites, and deserved to be fought as hard as possible, but I like these people. (The magic of the Kennedy era.) Part of the reason I like Helen Thomas besides being pro-Palestine is I knew two women reporters from the same period, one, an Irish Catholic from Mississippi who smoked and drank, was interviewing the Mercury astronauts back in the day (she stopped out to raise her kids and came back as a small-town editor which is how I knew her) and gave me my break in the newspaper biz (her picture is on my desk at home). The other had the same reporting job since 1963 and was so liberal she left the Unitarians for being too conservative. We got on famously.

It turns out Wooden had practical reasons for at least two of his seemingly rigid, old-school rules.

Joe Sobran probably would agree that he was an example of a fine kind of Midwesternness but sometimes you need a little assertiveness (not arrogance):
As ESPN’s Colin Cowherd said, one lesson of Wooden’s life is that if you don’t ask to be paid what you deserve, you won’t be.

He was full of good quotes. Perhaps my favorite is this: “Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights.”

It is yet another re-formulation of the Golden Rule, and states it in a very practical way.
From RR.

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