The high season of university basketball begins this week with the launch of its popular 68-team tournament, which culminates with the Final Four and the crowning of NCAA Basketball Champion April 8 in Minneapolis.
Called affectionately "March Madness" for its dizzying assortment of dramatic games and inevitable bracket upheavals, this three-week sequence is a special time for many, a bridge from winter to spring and a last chance to see young men chasing their childhood dreams, many for the last time before graduation.
In the university basketball hall of fame, no one has done more on the field than the late John Wooden, UCLA's legendary and longtime coach. Nicknamed the "Westwood Wizard" for his 10 unprecedented championships in 12 years, the simple, cerebral style of this Indiana Indian contrasts with most of the larger-than-life marginal personalities of today. hui.
"Coach Wooden", as he called it, has been gone for almost 9 years. Upon his death in June 2010, at the age of 99, this highly regarded basketball genius was hailed and celebrated as a sportsman, and rightly so.
But even nearly ten years after his death, John Wooden's remarkable life can still teach us, especially at a time of cultural madness.
Until his death, the coach of the Pantheon of the Collegiate kept a folded sheet in his wallet. There was a 7-point handwritten belief that his father had given him as a graduation gift from the elementary school.
How did this little piece of cardstock play a role in the life of the UCLA coach?
According to Pat Williams, a friend and leader of the NBA, this has been decisive.
"I believe," writes Williams, "the character and achievements of John Wooden can largely be attributed to [that] A piece of paper that his father gave him the day he graduated from grade 8 at a small elementary school in Centerton, Indiana. "
Almost 100 years later, while the political, economic, sociological and even spiritual struggles were raging, it would be wise to also listen to the adages of this creed in 7 points:
1. Be honest with yourself. Do you live out someone else's plan for your life? Nothing can stifle creativity like conformity and uniformity. What is "your thing" – your unique ability? Nobody is here by accident. Everyone has been placed on earth for a specific purpose. Be comfortable in your own skin and pursue your dream.
2 Make every day your chef-d'oeuvre. It looks almost like a cliché, but everyone has the same time each day (24 hours and 1440 minutes). Do you treat it as a rare gift? On average, more than 150,000 people die each day. Do not take these hours for granted. The late Bil Keane, creator of the cartoon Family Circus, once said with emotion: "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery – but today is a gift, that's why we call it" the present Do not waste this day.
3 Never leave until tomorrow what can be done today. Charles Dickens once called procrastination the "time thief" – and he was right. We often think that tomorrow will be an extension of today, but this is not usually the case. Rather than treating time as a blank check, think about it – because today is all we have.
4 Help others. Narcissism is destructive. Take care of others and practice the blessed forgetfulness of self. As Dr. Tim Keller says, "Think no less about yourself, think about yourself." Call a friend, visit a sick person at the hospital, pick up garbage in your neighborhood, or volunteer in your neighborhood. community.
5 Drink deeply good books, especially the Bible. The late Pastor Adrian Rogers used to say, "What happens in the well is placed in the bucket." Pay attention to what you read and look at. The apostle Paul probably said the best of all when he advised: "All that is true, all that is noble, all that is right, all that is pure, all that is beautiful, all that is admirable – if something is excellent or commendable – think of such things and the God of peace will be with you. "
6. Study the friendship and make it a fine art. It is said that we are the product of the five people we spend the most time with. If so, do you choose your friends or do you let your friends choose you? Popular writer C.S. Lewis wrote about the origin of a nice company. "Friendship … was born at the moment," said Lewis, "when a man says to another" What! You too? I thought nobody else than me. . . "If you want to have good friends, take the time to be a good friend.
7. Pray to guide and count and give thanks for your blessings every day. Cultivating a discipline of prayer and a spirit of gratitude will transform your life. Albert Einstein once said, "There are only two ways to live one's life: as if nothing was a miracle, or as if everything was a miracle." We live in a time of daily miracles and many between us do not do it. t even realize it.
As the curtain fell back on his almost century-long life, Coach Wooden thought that, while trying to respect his father's creed, he had failed, claiming he was more like the one who once said : "I am not what I am. should be; not what I want to be; not what I'm going to be, but I'm grateful that I'm better than before. "
As a fervent Christian, Wooden saw basketball as it was, a game that revealed something more important in his life. "I've always tried to make it clear that basketball is not the ultimate.It's only of little importance in relation to the total life we live in." there is only one type of life that truly wins, and it is one who places faith in the Savior's hands. "
A piece of paper with Wooden's wisdom is now in my wallet, and it also reminds me that all the madness of this world is manageable – because all the foolishness is ultimately handled by a God who loves each one of us.