I'm not a NY Giants fan. Really. But as you know from my previous diary entry, I was rooting for a Giants win a couple of days ago. And then they actually win the game in dramatic fashion. I'm sure many of the BruinsNation had some of the same thoughts that I had running through my head: How cool it was that some 97-year-old guy in Encino we all admire had some not so insignificant impact on that game. I wanted to find out more about the Coughlin-Wooden connection and came up with this:
The words inside, to a large degree, changed his life.
"His words are so simple but profound, and you can't help but be attracted to the way the man thought and to his philosophy," Coughlin said. "And that's how I think of him: As a great philosopher. He has very simple explanations for a lot of things."
-"Wooden Anchor," New York Post, Jauary 19, 2008
Read the full article here, which was written before the conference championship game against the Packers. It goes into a bit more detail than the TV interview does.
I also stumbled upon this from a Wake Forest blog, of all places: I swear the announcer just said that Tom Coughlin is at this [UA at UCLA] game tonight.
I'm just wondering that, if true, is it a good idea to be 300 miles away from Phoenix less than 24 hours before the biggest game he has ever participated in? Seems a little unorthodox for a coach to leave his team the night before any game, let alone the Super Bowl. Pretty implausible, but since the Giants won, maybe it will become one of those urban legends.
I could just leave it at that. More feel-good stories about good ole Coach. However...
What makes being a Bruin different? Yes, we have a winning tradition and an outstanding academic institution. But many other fans can claim the same thing. We can claim we have the classiest fan base - certainly classier than the nuts at The Pit(s). But in our hearts we know there's always that small segment of any fan base that can embarass us. What kind of Bruins were we during seven years of basketball purgatory, and the last five years of football mediocrity? What kind of Bruins are we now becoming with 100 NCAA Championships, back-to-back Final Fours with high expectations for more, the football Dream Team coaching staff having us actually believing in championships? What kind of Bruins do we want to be?
I'm thinking of that little guy who won 10 Championships who is as relevant today as he was over 30 years ago. And not just about basketball. Back to the NY Post article: For Coughlin, heeding the words of the Wizard did more than make him look at football differently, it allowed him a fuller picture of his own life. We rarely get a glimpse of the human Coughlin, the one family and friends insist has a wry sense of humor and a distinctly human touch. Some coaches lose those things altogether. It's an easy thing to do.
"It's so difficult in this business, after you strive your whole life to reach a certain place to come to grips with who you are," he said. "Coach Wooden says if you prepare, and give your effort, you win no matter what the final score says."
Fortunately, we have an anchor to keep us balanced no matter the circumstance. Ironically, a Wooden Anchor. He has given us all we need to know what it is to be a Bruin through his written words. I'd gotten a copy of the "Wooden" book for my daughter (who plays basketball and loves to hear about Coach). While I know the bits and pieces of "Wooden-isms" that I've heard and read in stories over the years, I realized that I hadn't actually read his books. (I feel ashamed!) Last night I pulled out the book and started reading, because now that the Bruins Universe really seems to be on fire, I need to maintain my balance and hang on to The Anchor.
"Wooden - A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court"
Be a true Bruin.