Pyramids of Success: A Fitting Eulogy
If you seek truth, you will not seek to gain a victory by every possible means; and when you have found Truth, you need not fear being defeated.
The Golden Sayings of Epictetus, CXLIX
God wishes to say a few words in epitaph about John Wooden and he has asked to do it through my computer.
Anyone who cared enough about the subject of this article to click on its link wouldn't be surprised by the foregoing statement.
For anyone old enough to remember Coach Wooden in his prime (at 45 I just barely make this category), and for the rest who are aware of his legend, it is clear that he played, coached and vanquished mightily the simple game of basketball for one simple purpose: to show the rest of us the Way, with a capital "W."
John Wooden is the enlightenment of basketball. His unsurpassable achievements in the game--ten national championships in 12 years, including 7 in a row, along with many other lesser known feats--stand like modern-day medieval miracles that force us to question our understanding of the laws that govern the universe.
More than once I've corrected my own mother, who is not particularly a basketball fan, reminding her that Coach Wooden was not born in Kentucky, though his autobiographical They Call Me Coach sits on her bookshelf not too far down the line from the Holy Bible. Basketball is part of the culture here, like polygamy is to Islam. Her persistent desire to claim one of the Titans of the game as one of her own is symbolic of basketball's importance here.
But the region from Terre Haute, east into Dayton, south through Bloomington, Louisville, Cincinnati, Lexington and on into the Kentucky Mountains could rightly be styled the Basketball Belt for its continuing importance to the college game. And Hall, Indiana, Coach Wooden's birthplace, sits precisely at the philosophical center of a mentality for which state borders are meaningless.Continued on the next page