Be Careful Filling Out Your Character Bracket

Former UCLA Basketball Coach John Wooden
Former UCLA Basketball Coach John Wooden

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”Coach Wooden

Since it's the eve of March Madness, I'm filling out my bracket tonight.  However, before I rush through the names and seeds, I felt it appropriate to remember (and repost) a reflection on the great one:  The Wizard of Westwood.

Coach John Wooden was so much more than a legendary basketball coach - he was an amazing man.

He invested 40 years of his life coaching basketball (27 of them at UCLA) and left the game without corruption, scandal, or hypocrisy. Coach Wooden's perseverance was legendary (he was coach for 15 years before winning a championship), and fame never went to his head (when UCLA named the court after him and his wife Nell, he insisted they put her name before his). His life was not merely long, but well-lived.

Coach Wooden's legacy makes every UCLA grad stand taller during the NCAA tournament not simply because of his unmatched records on the hardwood, but because of his character. Personally, I can't begin to describe the depths of his leadership principles.

I have to restrain myself from quoting him every day in my blog (you may remember quotes here, here, here, here, and here!), though somehow I don't think he'd mind.

However, today I quote without apology. After all, as we start March Madness, no one deserves attention more than Coach Wooden.  Perhaps my favorite principles are summed up in Coach's simple and elegant Seven-Point Creed. Truly, these are words to live by:

  • Be true to yourself.
  • Make each day your masterpiece.
  • Help others.
  • Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.
  • Make friendship a fine art.
  • Build a shelter against a rainy day.
  • Pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessings every day.

Did you take notes? How different would our world look if we all lived like this? Wow!

For a few more facts on Coach Wooden, check out this LA Times article or spend 3 minutes with the fitting video tribute below.