When Coach left us last year to reunited with Nell, I thought eventually I will write that one post that will perfectly encapsulate how I feel inside about the greatest Bruin of all time. I keep waiting for inspiration and the perfect combination of words never came. I don't think it will ever happen because it is impossible to sum up the range of emotions and reflections we have about Coach. So I will start this note by sharing these words from College Basketball Hall of Fame and NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton:
After my father, Coach Wooden has had the most profound influence on my of anyone in my entire life. I was touch by Coach Wooden's greatness - he set a standard I have been trying to live up to ever since. He is as positive as you get. He taught us the values and characteristics that could make us not only good players, but also good people. He taught us how to be true to ourselves while also striving to be our best.
Now I am forty-four years old and I'm telling my four teenage sons what Coach Wooden used to tell his players. I'm even writing his maxims on their lunch bags and then listening to them complain about it, just like I used to complain.
They'll see. My kids will learn. Soon enough they'll come to understand and appreciate the great wisdom of a very wise man: Coach John Wooden.
I have nothing but the greatest love and respect for Coach. Thanks for your sacrifice, gifts and patience.
The Big Red shared those reflections in Steve Jamsion's "Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court." I was thinking of Bill's words today while watching the incredible video T put together. Mrs. N and yours truly are now just days away from the expected arrival of a Little Jospehine Bruin. One thing I have always dreamed about is writing out those little maxims on the lunch bag of my daughter when she goes off to school. I will probably never be able to write that perfect post or essay in honor of Coach. What I am looking forward to today is trying to live up to his standards as a Bruin father.
I always had the dream of meeting him some day and perhaps getting him to share his thoughts with this amazing community. It never happened. I never got to meet him as a student. I had many opportunities as I attended almost every game while I was on campus as one of those student fanatics going crazy along the sidelines. But I was always nervous about bothering him for an autograph because I felt like he got bothered enough with hundreds of people lining up to meet him whenever he came out Westwood. So, I can't lie. Part of me will always feel little empty for not getting a chance to say simple hello to the greatest Bruin of all time.
I miss Coach. I miss watching our basketball games and not having the camera zero in him with that approving smile after UCLA makes a defense induced run in a frenzied Pauley. But as bruinbabe2000 said in this incredible post from T, he is in heaven hanging out with Nell:
So I can't really complain.Thank you again Coach for being our intergalactic treasure.
He is "Forever Young" and forever in our Bruin hearts.