“Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best you are capable of becoming.”
“All you have to do is try your best. And don’t worry what the outcome is going to be. Just try your best.”
–John Wooden, when asked what his best coaching advice was (from the last interview he gave before he died at age 99)
The two John Wooden quotes above span decades. The first one is from his famous “Pyramid of Success.”
He developed this definition of success over a period of many years early in his career, starting when he was a high school English teacher and coach in Indiana. He was frustrated that his students and their parents focused almost solely on grades in the classroom and wins and awards on the court.
Wooden came to the realization that every individual had certain strengths, weaknesses and limitations. He also realized a lot of what society called “success” was outside the individual’s complete control. He understood that all we can fully control is our effort and attitude. And if a person gave 100% in those two areas, they were successful, no matter what the outside perceptions might be.
The second Wooden quote above is a powerful testament to the staying power of Wooden’s philosophy. The man who was voted the greatest coach of all time (across all sports), the man who won 10 NCAA basketball championships in 12 years, continued to believe until his last day on Earth that true success was trying to do your best by focusing on the things you can control: effort and attitude.
He believed that’s all anyone had the right to expect from an athlete, no matter what the scoreboard said after a game.
The beauty of Wooden’s definition of success is that it doesn’t matter if it’s sports, school, work, relationships, or anything else in life, all you’re asked to do is make “the effort to become the best you’re capable of becoming.”
Moreover, it is an egalitarian definition of success. All of us have the opportunity to meet Wooden’s standard — no matter how gifted we are athletically, how intelligent we are, or how good looking we might be.
And that realization brings peace of mind.
–Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.” We discuss overzealous adults in youth sports, the dangers of sport specialization, youth sports entrepreneurs and the profit-at-all-costs mindset, and the growing socio-economic gap in youth sports.
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Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan.
Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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