This is your first game, my child. I hope you win. I hope you win for
your sake, not mine. Because winning’s 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 but in an
afternoon. The happiness of life. The miseries. The joys. The
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 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, my 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 game. Dead
serious. But that’s what you do with serious things. You do
your best. 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 up is the point. Never letting
anyone down is the point. Play to win. Sure. But lose like a champion.
It’s not winning that counts. What counts is trying.
~“A Parent Talks to a Child Before the First Game” from
Wooden: A lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court by former UCLA Coach John Wooden.
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