Friday, November 28, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Wooden always provided examples to live by

BruceGallaudetW

By
March 24, 2011 |

Every so often I re-read some of my John Wooden books … just to make sure I’m not slipping, or to be reassured I’m dealing with something in the best manner possible.

If you like basketball — and you think some self-help wouldn’t hurt — “They Call Me Coach” is a terrific, easy read.

(Just in case you’ve been in the Himalayas since the early 1900s, John Wooden is the late, storied coach of the UCLA Bruins during a period in which his school won 10 NCAA championships in 12 years. He had one losing season — his first year coaching high school in Kentucky — and is the only person ever to have won national titles as a player — Purdue in 1927 — and coach AND be enshrined in the college Hall of Fame as both player and coach. He was the nation’s first three-time All-American in the 1920s.)

Anyway, Wooden has been an inspiration since I first discovered him while I was in high school in Los Angeles in 1961. Coach took a couple of fairly short teams to back-to-back NCAA crowns in the mid-’60s. Then, when Lew Alcindor (Kareen Abdul-Jabbar) arrived, Wooden kept the championship trophy on his credenza for eight of the next nine seasons.

Having had two opportunities to sit down with The Wizard of Westwood in the 1970s, I once thought — because of my age and drive at the time — that those encounters were lost opportunities. Thanks to a couple of things that have happened to me in the past 20 years, I realized I was wrong. Wooden’s words sank in …

He told me a little story — one that he mentions in another of his books simply titled “Wooden.” It was about two travelers who stopped at the same gas station a week apart. Wooden was making a point about writers at the time, but the story has guided me over the years since.

The first traveler at the station asked the attendant, “What kind of people do you have in this town? I’m thinking about moving here.”

The attendant asked the motorist: “What kind did you have where you came from?”

The visitors replied, “Mean-spirited, dishonest, always trying to grab the spotlight.”

As he closed the gas flap to the driver’s car, the attendant answered, “You’ll find about the same here.”

Next week another man came to refuel. His inquiry echoed the previous visitor: “What kind of people do you have in this town?”

“What kind did you have where you came from?” the attendant responded.

“Trustworthy, helpful, honest people. Everybody was trying to help their neighbor,” came the reply.

“You’ll find about the same here.”

Wooden’s moral was eye-opening. We find what we look for.

While I Have You Here: OK, so I look for the silver lining in what I report on. Sue me. But remember I said I learned a COUPLE of things from Wooden in those meetings…

The other is something every youth-sports coach should know once he gets his team assembled: fit your style to the abilities of your players.

No round pegs in square holes. If you have 10 basketball players who are 5-foot-2, run like the wind.

Three trees at 7 feet tall? Slow it down. Crash the boards.

Also, find the one or two things your players do very well and take advantage of those skills. Build them up and use them, but try to develop a COMPLETE player. If you can’t teach your fastest base-paths runner to hit home runs, don’t worry, he’s still fast. Fall back on his bunting and running abilities.

However, as Wooden said so often, “You never know unless you try.” And that’s where the personal satisfaction in coaching or playing comes from: knowing you’ve tried and given it your best shot, regardless of score.

One of the winningest coaches of all time said he never cared about the score. It was always about the effort. I think, for the most part, Davis gets it right. I’m guessing Wooden’s second traveler was looking for our town.

— Bruce Gallaudet is a staff writer for The Davis Enterprise. Reach him at bgallaudet@davisenterprise.net or (530) 747-8047.

Comments

comments

Bruce Gallaudet

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Shop-local focus highlights Small Business Saturday

    By Bob Schultz | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Looking for the gift of life

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    The artistic process of a neighborhood legend

    By Lily Holmes | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Davis MRAP didn’t go far: Woodland

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

    Explorit: Water expert will speak Dec. 15

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A3

     
    Ceremony Tuesday celebrates MU bus terminal

    By Dave Jones | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Horse owners needed for online survey

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Sierra Club calendars on sale Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Enterprise holiday decorating contest is back

    By Kimberly Yarris | From Page: A4

    Free bike clinic, ride set Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Locals come through for families in need

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Travel the world at Logos Books

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Dormant-season pruning tips offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Junior high students set walkathon fundraiser

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Flyway Nights talk focuses on sea otters of Elkhorn Slough

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Chamber of Commerce lays out 5-year plan

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Holiday gifts galore available at crafts fair

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    Shakespeare folio discovered in France

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Students come together for sustainability

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

    Workshop will answer financial aid questions

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Wolks share their unique perspective on Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Christmas Bird Count workshop planned Wednesday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Watch, then make, a holiday floral decoration

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

    .

    Forum

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

     
    Tom Elias: Utilities look to soak small users

    By Tom Elias | From Page: A6

    Cheers and Jeers: Thankfully, no jeers

    By Our View | From Page: A6

     
    Many thanks for a great benefit

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    It all started at the bookstore

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    What can we do to help?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    What if we really need it?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    Aggies out-Fox Utah State after dramatic Les shot to forces overtime

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Defense, depth lead Aggie women to home win

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Seahawks shut down San Francisco

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Youth roundup: 10 titles for the Diamonds Level 3 gymnastics squad

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B4 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

     
    ‘Horrible Bosses 2′: Fire ‘em all!

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    Mumbo Gumbo plays for post-Thanksgiving dance party

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

     
    .

    Business

    Sonata evolves into more sophisticated car

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    John Walter Neves Jr.

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, November 28, 2014 (set 2)

    By Creator | From Page: B3

     
    Comics: Friday, November 28, 2014 (set 1)

    By Creator | From Page: A10