Unwrinkled Wooden Socks

It’s the mid 1960s in the United States of America.

Racial and social upheaval and renewal is swirling around as the country attempts to mend some of its tattered and poorly sewn founding fabric. The fight for equality and access. The fight for justice to be led by righteousness instead of prejudice. Marches, protests, beatings, arrests, speeches, sacrifices, forging relationships, courageous acts, and death collide on streets all around the nation.

 

Picture used from this article.

 

While dreams and revolutions are being whispered throughout every corner of the country, schools are beginning to integrate. As a result sports are taking on new challenges and becoming better. It’s a hard fought road that took time to pave. However, thanks to some forward and godly individuals, the process of integration in basketball started earlier. The first time collegiate post-season basketball was integrated was during the 1947-1948 season. It was integrated by the Indiana State Teacher’s College, which would become Indiana State University (that little school Larry Bird went to). Who was the coach? John Wooden.

 

See the source image

 

Going forward again to the mid-1960s, John Wooden is now the coach at a school by the name of UCLA. In coaching at this school for twelve years, he won ten national championships and seven of these were in a row. [By the way, UCLA has the most National Championships of any other school with 11; yes, Wooden won 10 of their 11!] This streak is unheard of even to this day! Needless to say, he created a basketball powerhouse; a dynasty that caused havoc for the rest of college basketball. A journey that started with humble roots on an Indiana farm is now making thunderous waves in the sports world in the context of tumultuous cultural times.

It’s true in any sport, winning attracts talent as the best players want to be on the best teams. Imagine you were one of these players coming to the campus of UCLA in the mid-1960s. You arrive at the school as one of the best high school players in the country. When you meet your new coach, what’s one of the first things he teaches you about the game? A new unstoppable offensive play? A havoc inducing defensive play? Does he start a conditioning program? No! None of the above. Instead he sits you down and teaches you how to put your socks on! What would you be thinking as one of the best athletes in the country? I know how to do that! Well, this is the type of thing that set Wooden apart as a coach.

Why did he do this? He told his players that it’s simple. If you do not put your socks on correctly, you will end up with blisters. If you get blisters you will not be able to play at your highest level. If you are not able to play at your highest level, the team will not be as successful as it could be. Foundations. The little things.

This post really isn’t about Civil Rights, the 1960s cultural upheavals and renewals, or even basketball. It’s about our habits; the small things that make up our foundation. How are we putting on our socks?

At work these last two days, our team forgot to put air into a hub. Something so simple. Three little seconds of air into a rubber lining of a metal shaft. Outcome? Due to no air holding the rolls in place, they moved on the shaft and it shut down the production line for over two hours! Three seconds = over two hours. The small blisters that pester our production. This story of Wooden came back to my mind when these things were occurring and caused a pause in me.

How am I putting on my socks? My work socks? My husband socks? My father socks? My writing socks? What small habits am I discipling myself with, or ignoring, that will inevitably have an outcome on my production?

 

It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen. – John Wooden

 

I hope you find your socks in good condition today!

Published in: on 7 AMpThu, 30 Jan 2020 09:50:07 -050050Thursday 2016 at 9:50 am  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Awesome message.

    • Thank you. I appreciate that.

      • You’re welcome.


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