Coach: ‘Be more concerned with your character’

Published 9:10 am Thursday, June 10, 2010

John Wooden passed this week at age 99, and it saddened me quite a bit.

One of the best sports books I was ever given was “They call me coach.” It was a book about John Wooden and how he did things. He was a teacher and a coach, but he taught more than sports or basketball. He taught life.

One of the things that I admire most about him is that he wrote a love letter every month to his wife, Nell, who died in 1985. He did not show this letter to anyone, but just wrote the letter and kept it to himself. His love of family and his thoughts on life are really what should be taught in school. I will list a few of my favorite quotes so that you can enjoy a piece of this remarkable man. Rest in peace, Coach.

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“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

“Be quick, but don’t hurry.”

“You can’t let praise or criticisms get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.”

“You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.”

“What you are as a person is far more important than what you are as a basketball player.”

“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”

“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.”

“Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.”

“Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.”

“Talent is God-given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.”

Little League baseball is coming to Albert Lea!

June 18-20 the Albert Lea Knights will be hosting a baseball tournament for kids ages 9 to 12.

It will have 32 teams from Mason City, Red Wing, Brooklyn Park, Mankato, Kasson, Forest Lake, Blue Earth, St. Francis, Sioux Falls and Austin competing for a spot at the state tournament.

So if you want to watch baseball played just for the love of the game, stop down to the ball fields at Snyder Fields (south of Northbridge Mall) in Albert Lea and cheer on your hometown Knights.

Good luck, Knights!

Want to volunteer for something awesome!

Volunteers are needed to help with the third annual April Sorensen Memorial Half Marathon and Relay Race on July 10.

The race starts at 8 a.m. and usually lasts about three hours.

Volunteers are needed July 8 and 9 for registration and shirt distributing.

On the day of the race, volunteers are needed for registration and to help at aid and water stations along the route. People can get the form to sign up at

The half marathon is in memory of April Sorensen, a Hayward native who was murdered in her home in Rochester on April 17, 2007, at the age of 27.

Please help out this great family’s cause.

Tribune Publisher Scott Schmeltzer’s column appears every Thursday.