SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Monday, June 07, 2010

One of My Mentors Passed Away

The great dance choreographer Twyla Tharp once remarked that she had dozens of mentors, and all of them were people she had never met. When I read that quote in an article in Harvard Business Journal (sorry if I am "journal name dropping", but I had to attribute the source), I smiled, because I had always felt the same thing. In what seems to be an ever-increasing impersonal world, it can be hard to find mentors. (Perhaps as hard as it is for people who want to be mentors to find juniors who actually want to sit and take the time to discuss and listen).

Anyway, I felt a tinge of sadness when I read of John Wooden's passing. His life is to be celebrated for many reasons, including working hard and patiently for 16 years at UCLA before winning his first national championship and for the wisdom he bestowed on his players and, through his writings, shared with the world, including me. One of my favorite sayings of all time is "failing to prepare is preparing to fail." I deploy it at home and at work, because I can't stress enough the value of preparation. School work, games, real world work all go better when you take the time to plan in advance. Coach Wooden summed up this virtue succintly, and he did with his discussions on other topics. When I think about various principles that define me, I think about some of the wonderful people who spoke them, among them, John Wooden.

His life is to be much celebrated, an shining example of a life well-lived.

Rest in peace, Coach Wooden!

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