"What you are as a person is far more important that what you are as a basketball player."
John Wooden, exalted man and basketball coach of the UCLA BRUINS passed away last night. He is said to be the greatest college coach in history who, aside from his incredible streak of NCAA championships (10) and his "first" of being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and coach, is attributed with an unbelievable number of quotes about life and the game. (Reference LA TimesSports Blog.) His words of wisdom extend beyond sports. ( I am thinking better than motivational greeting cards here people.)
On June 2, last Wednesday night, if you haven't heard by now, during the baseball game between The Detroit Tigers and The Cleveland Indians, Tigers' pitcher Armando Galarraga was robbed of a "Perfect Game" in the ninth inning, with 1 out to go. Umpire Jim Joyce made a bad call that left a man on first base, thus ending the chance for a perfect game. It was a mistake. There was outrage; replays on TV show quite clearly that the call was bad and really it was a perfect game. But baseball does not use instant replay so the call stands. The Perfect Game remains, in the record books, a Non-Perfect Game.
After the game, Jim Joyce, with tears said regrettably and sincerely that he made a mistake. Armando gracefully moved on. publicly recognized his mistake. What the fans got was not a perfect game but a display of integrity, grace and class.
Sportsmanship, grace, kindness and forgiveness for a major mistake in the world of sports. Life lessons delivered from the playing field - the beauty of sport.