Coach John Wooden arguably remains one of the most revered basketball coaches in sports history, the most notable public figure at UCLA, and an inspirational role model whose grace and genuineness is hard to come by. Known endearingly as Coach to his mentees, he taught college basketball at UCLA for 27 years out of his illustrious 29-year coaching career. In 2010, Coach Wooden passed away, four months shy of his 100th birthday. His obituary in The New York Times reminds me of the movie Serendipity, in which Jeremy Piven’s character says, “You know the Greeks didn’t write obituaries. They only asked one question after a man died: “‘Did he have passion?’” Did Coach Wooden have passion? My answer is a resounding yes. Wooden’s life was all about loyalties; for the majority of his life he lived in one city, coached for one school, and was married to one wife who was also his first love. One thing that stuck out to me most in his obituary was the message from his father that he always carried with him on a piece of paper. It read:
Be true to yourself.
Make friendship a fine art.
Make each day a masterpiece.
Build a shelter against a rainy day.
Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.
Pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessings every day.”
What messages do you carry with you? How will others reflect on your life? Do you have passion?