July 24, 2010
Thinking about copperhead eggs
I am sitting waiting here in my writing area finishing up a daily journal entry. Shortly I will run by the school to clean and feed animals in my room. In a few weeks I will be waiting on the bell to ring to start back a new semester, a few new students but many that I have seen and known some for four years. As always I am sitting listening to Native American cedar flute music as I do so often. Late in the week I will rearrange my room at school a bit but not enough to upset my normal routine and those kids who have been with me before. I am excited about heading back to school and teaching it does not take long and a few former students will pop in to say hello and a few will be missed, who will not be back due to some poor choices in their lives. As I sat thinking a quote I found many years ago came up.
“To admit you were wrong is to declare you are wiser now than before.” Unknown author
When I saw this I had many flashbacks to arguments over the years. One of my favorite was copperhead eggs. That was many years ago, (copperheads do not lay eggs they give live birth) when a UGA vet student who also at the time was my brother in law could not be persuaded otherwise. I knew that herpetological fact from about second grade. Admitting in life you were wrong is probably one of the hardest and most difficult tasks we could ever have. Even when it is only a silly argument or discussion on copperhead eggs or who was best baseball or basketball player. It is that letting go of ego is difficult. This man never has gotten over that one argument and in being stubborn and ego filled he seemed to be the champion at least in his own mind.
“An inflated consciousness is always egocentric and conscious of nothing but its own existence. It is incapable of learning from the past, incapable of understanding contemporary events, and incapable of drawing right conclusions about the future. It is hypnotized by itself and therefore cannot be argued with. It inevitably dooms itself to calamities that must strike it dead.” Karl G. Jung
I do think Jung may have over did it a bit in his idea but ego is such a hard task master and so often in life we all sooner or later fall victim to ego.
“If someone is blessed as I am is not willing to clean out the barn, who will?” H. Ross Perot
Looking back on my own life and I was never really a Perot fan but I happen to like the thought of a third party and candidate. In life who but ourselves is there to clean out the barn so to say. I found a sign with the word EGOS in bold lettering on it and then the red circle for NO across it. I placed several up around the school a few years ago and the only one that survived a few hours and it was on my door, others were down very quickly. People in general do not want to be wrong or questioned.
“If you think about yourself then you’ve lost sight of the ball.” Mike Willesee
Ever wonder how a pro basketball team either succeeds or collapses? It would seem all in all most pro teams are very close in ability. It is dealing with egos that makes or breaks a team being able to de-egoize a team is a true sign of a great coach.
“A particular shot or way of moving the ball can be a player’s personal signature, but efficiency of performance is what wins the game for the team. “ Pat Riley “
“Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.” “Nothing will work unless you do. “John Wooden
Many of you may never have heard of John Wooden, who passed away recently at 98 years of age and he was perhaps the greatest College basketball coach of all time. I believe he won more NCAA championships, ten than any other coach and more in a row something like eighty eight. He lived a simple philosophy of life.
“You cannot attain and maintain physical condition unless you are morally and mentally conditioned. And it is impossible to be in moral condition unless you are spiritually conditioned. I always told my players that our team condition depended on two factors — how hard they worked on the floor during practice and how well they behaved between practices.” John Wooden
Recently a few months ago I found an article on the sports page by a former Wooden player who did not get to play much. He was interviewing Bill Walton a now sports broadcaster and former great of UCLA’s glory days under John Wooden and now in the NBA hall of fame. The player who did not play much had the same respect and love for Wooden as did Walton, both carried “Woodenisms” in their wallets still twenty plus years after college. Setting the example was the key to Coach Wooden’s philosophy of life.
“Live the life as well as play hard” John Wooden
EGO had no place on a Wooden team and if an ego cropped up you probably will be sitting on the bench or playing at another university. Wooden was successful because he did not skirt the edges so many in the newspaper schools have done. He won through practice (players were glad to get off his team as his practices were so hard) and behavior between practices. Imagine a world where the aura was gone from Pro sports and players played because they wanted too not for millions of dollars. Imagine where newspapers would have to print about the team getting all A’s instead of how many team members were arrested for shop lifting and sexual harassment. EGOS can destroy not only an individual but a team and a society.
“Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.” John Wooden
I will close with that last statement from John Wooden in life not just sports but character will keep you there, a good thought to remember. Please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.