5 years ago i was living in the Valley and I had a buddy who had an office in Encino... we started to meet for Happy Hour at the Valley Inn in Encino... great little bar ... filled with memorabilia of Dodgers Lakers, Rams, Bruins and even Trojans even though the owner Sophia was a Bruin alum..... after we got to know her and she found out how big me and my friend Michael were as Bruin fans she told us that the Valley Inn was Coach Woodens favorite place and that she would introduce us to him at some point.
So one night she comes into the bar and asks us if we'd like to meet Coach... we of course said yes and were able to sit at his table for 15 minutes .. this was duirng one of our NCAA runs to the Final Four and I remember asking him... " are you proud of our Bruins ?" and he said " im always proud of the Bruins"
Fast forward a couple of months when the HBO documentary was debuting ... Sophia comes into the bar and asks us if we'd like to watch in the Dining Room ..we did.. joining two other UCLA alums ... as we were watching Sophia comes into the room and asks us if it would be ok if Coach Wooden came in and watched with us .. are you kidding ?? so he does .. watches the rest of the documentary with us and making comments and small talk .... so now ive met him twice in months.
Fast forward another 6 months ... im at the Valley Inn and im leaving .. as I go to exit and grab the door handle .. the door swings open and its Coach Wooden .. he says " David ... how have you been ? are you teaching yet " ..... I was like ... Coach Wooden remembered my name !! ME !! he talks to hundreds of people and he remembered my name .....those 3 encounters are burned into my memory.... and why last night was so emotional for me.
REST IN PEACE and love your sweet Nellie !