March Wisdom

Read: Proverbs 2 and 3

March Madness is upon us!  The NCAA basketball brackets will be out soon and everyone will try to pick their teams to a championship.  Since March is here I wanted to use this week’s meditation to share some wisdom from legendary basketball coach John Wooden.  Proverbs 2 and 3 extol the importance of wisdom and the benefits that it brings to our lives.  One of the most beloved verses in all of scripture comes from chapter 3, verse 5 that says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Some of the excerpts that I will be sharing come from the 6th chapter of St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny’s book entitled “The Matheny Manifesto.”  He shares in that entire chapter how basketball coach John Wooden had such a profound impact on his life and the way he manages his team today.  He writes….

“Just in case you don’t know who John Wooden was: As head basketball coach of UCLA from 1948 to 1975, he led the Bruins to 10 NCAA national championships in his last twelve years, seven of those in a row, something never done before or since. During that time, the Bruins once won a record 88 straight games, and Wooden was named national coach of the year six times.”

Matheny writes that Wooden was a great teacher, mentor, coach, and person.  He also shares that John Wooden was a devout Christian.  Matheny writes, “He was a devout Christian and often said his beliefs were more important to him than basketball.  Wooden said, “Basketball is not the ultimate.  It is of small importance in comparison to the total life we live.  There is only one kind of life that truly wins, and that is the one that places faith in the hands of the Savior.”

Matheny writes more, “John was a daily Bible reader and a member of the First Christian Church.  He once said “If I were ever persecuted for my religion, I truly hope there would be enough evidence to convict me.”  To end this week I would like to share some of the wise sayings that John Wooden imparted over the years.  They testify that this man was a man of faith even before he was the greatest basketball coach that has ever lived.

John Wooden’s Maxims….

“Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.”
“Happiness begins where selfishness ends.”
“If we magnified blessings as much as we magnify disappointments, we would all be much happier.”
“You can do more good by being good than any other way.”
“I never yelled at my players much.  Artificial stimulation doesn’t last long.  It’s like love and passion.  Passion won’t last as long as love.  It’s the same with yelling.”
“You discipline those under your supervision in order to correct, to help, to improve, not to punish.”
“Kindness makes for much better teamwork.”
“Never be disagreeable just because you disagree.”
“Be slow to correct and quick to commend.”

There are many more where those come from.  Matheny mentions that coach Wooden never claimed that any of his many quotes were all original with him, but it seemed he had one for every occasion.  “Bill Walton says he used to write these quotes on his son’s lunch bags when he sent them off to school.”  As we watch the games this March and pull for our teams let’s remember the importance of wise teaching, wise examples, and Godly character.  Coach Wooden passed away on June 4, 2010, four months short of his 100th birthday.

Make it Personal:  Wise and valuable quotes are always inspiring and helpful but coach Wooden would be the first to tell us that none of those can compare to the wisdom and value of the Bible.  Many of his quotes were actually inspired by scripture.  Read Proverbs 2 and 3 this week and renew your value in Godly Wisdom!

Have a blessed week (and Month), Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church