I LOVE John Wooden and always think of the following poem I found years ago in his book Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations on and Off the Court whenever a new sports season starts for my little guy. By the way, that is a must read book if you have kids involved in sports. My husband, who is a college volleyball coach, reads it once a year. It’s one of those books more about life than sports which means that someone like me loves it, too.
A Parent Talks to a Child Before the First Game
This is your first game my child. I hope you win.I hope you win for your sake, not mine.Because winning is nice.It is good feeling.Like the whole world is yours.But, it passes, this feeling.And what lasts is what you’ve learned.And what you learn about is life.That’s what sports is all about. Life.The whole thing is played out in an afternoon.The happiness of life.The miseries.The joys.The heartbreaks.There is no telling what will turn up.There is no telling whether they will toss you out in the first five minutesor wether you will stay for the long haul.There is no telling how you will do. You might be a hero or you might be absolutely nothing.Too much depends on chance.On how the ball bounces.I’m not talking about the game, my child.I’m talking about life.But, it is life that the game is all about.just as I said.Because every game is life.And life is a game.A serious gameDead Serious.But, that is what you do with serious things.You do your best.You take what comes.You take what comesAnd you run with it.Winning is fun.Sure.But Winning is not the point.Wanting to win is the point.Not giving up is the point.Never being satisfied with what you’ve done is the point.
Never letting up is the point.Never letting anyone down is the point.Play to win.Sure.But loose like a champion.Because it’s not winning that counts.What counts is trying.