Words of widsom from Wooden; tweet gone bad

My son played his first three games of AAU basketball Saturday and enjoyed the competition.

He enjoyed the physicality and everything about playing that brand of basketball.

He did tell me, though, that, in so many words, parents are nuts.

Not that I didn’t know that already, but, apparently there is another level of nuts when it comes to travel ball.

And, I am guessing, that is true in all travel ball sports.

With that in mind, I received an e-mail that is a clip lasting 17:36 of John Wooden speaking in 2001 in Monterey, Calif. He died in 2010 at age 99, so this speech puts him at 90 or 91.

I am an unabashed Wooden fan.

Every teenage female who played basketball for me at Jefferson County Christian knows far more about the former UCLA men’s basketball coach than most females their age.

We talked a lot about him.

In this speech, Wooden talks about the difference between winning and succeeding and how he came up with his definition of success.

Eighty years ago.

“I coined my own definition of success in 1934 when I was teaching at a high school in South Bend, Ind.,” he said. “Being a little bit disappointed and disillusioned, perhaps, by the way parents of the youngsters in my English classes expected their youngsters to get an A or a B.

“They felt a C was all right for the neighbor’s children because the neighbor’s children were all average. But, they weren’t satisfied with their own and would make the teacher feel that they had failed, or the youngster failed and that’s not right.

“The good Lord, in his infinite wisdom, didn’t create us all equal as far as intelligence is concerned, any more equal as far as size or appearance.

“Not everybody could earn an A or a B and I didn’t like that way of judging.

“I wanted to come up with something I hoped would make me a better teacher and give the youngsters under my supervision, whether it be in athletics or in the English classroom, something which to aspire, other than just a higher mark in the classroom or more points in some athletic contest.

“I thought about that for quite a spell. I wanted to come up with my own definition, because I thought that might help.

“I was raised on a small farm in southern Indiana and my dad tried to teach me and my brothers that you should never try to be better than someone else, always learn from others and never cease trying to be the best you can be – that’s under your control.

“If you get too engrossed, involved and concerned in regard to things which you have no control, it will adversely affect the things over which you have control.”

Wooden came up with his definition of success, which is “peace of mind, attained only through self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the best of which you’re capable.”

Wooden had three rules when he coached.

1. Never be late.

2. Never use profanity.

3. Never criticize a teammate.

Those rules, he said, came from his dad.

Along with:

1. Don’t whine.

2. Don’t complain.

3. Don’t make excuses.

Wooden once said, “promise to give so much time improving yourself that you have no time to criticize others.”

He also said you can lose when you win and win when you lose.

I simple photo made the rounds of Facebook and I shared it.

It had two T-ballers on opposing teams looking at each other.

One says, “I see your dad is still yelling at you from the stands.”

The other says, “yeah, he thinks I’m going pro next year!”

Last month the New Hampshire Basketball Coaches Organization named Pat Welch of Pembroke Academy as its Division II Boys Player of the Year. Two days later, the organization took it back, along with two opportunities to play in postseason all-star games.

Welch sent out a tweet to the team his team beat for the state championship.

“Shout out to Portsmouth, you may have won in the regular season…… But we won the ship you suck” and finished it with an expletive for a hashtag.

According to the Concord Monitor, the statement from the NHBCO read:

“The NHBCO is disappointed to announce the unfortunate decision to rescind the Division 2 Player of the Year awarded to Pat Welch from Pembroke Academy. Last week, Pat Welch was named by the Division 2 coaches as their Player of the Year. Since that time, it has come to the NHBCO executive board’s attention that Pat Welch displayed flagrant un-sportsmanlike behavior. We have contacted Pembroke Academy and informed them of our decision.

“Pat Welch will not be allowed to represent his school at either the senior games being held at NHTI this Sunday nor at the Twin State game vs Vermont this summer. It is with great sadness that this committee has to act on this situation, but we strive to uphold the tenet that this award is not based solely on a basketball player’s ability but also on that player’s character and demonstrated sportsmanship.

“It has been decided that Jourdain Bell from Bishop Brady will be selected as the Division 2 Player of the Year.”

Welch later wrote an apology to Portsmouth and apologized to the community.

He told Concord Monitor columnist Ray Duckler: “I want people to know that I’m really sorry about what I said. This is a learning experience. It’s something that will never happen again. For kids who look up to me, think about your words before you put them out there.”

To top things off, Welch’s coach called the punishment too severe.

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at mmathison@heraldstaronline.com and followed on Twitter at @MathisonMike)