What Does a Parent Say To Their Child Before Their First Game?
This is your first game, child. I hope you win. I hope you win for your sake and not mine. Because winning is nice. It's a good feeling. Like the whole world is yours. But it passes, this feeling. And what lasts is what you've learned.
And what you learn about is life. That's what sports is all about. Life. The whole thing is played out in an afternoon. The happiness of life. The miseries. The joys. The heartbreaks.
There's no telling what'll turn up. There's no telling whether they'll toss you out in the first five minutes or whether you'll stay in for the long haul. There's no telling how you'll do. You might be a hero or you might be absolutely nothing. There's just no telling. Too much depends on chance. On how the ball bounces.
I'm not talking about the game, child. I'm talking about life. But it's life that the game is all about. Just as I said. Because every game is life. And life is a game. A serious one. Dead serious. But that's what you do with serious things. You do your best. You take what comes. You take what comes and you run with it.
Winning is fun. Sure. But winning is not the point. Wanting to win is the point. Not giving up is the point. Never being satisfied with what you've done is the point. Never letting anyone down is the point.
Play to win. Sure. But lose like a champion. Because it's not winning that counts. What counts is trying!
Wooden: A lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court by former UCLA Coach John Wooden
Published in 1966 Sports Illustrated