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Issue 499 - "The Greatest Gift" (Bill Russell Part 5)

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 10 Issue 499
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



In Bill Russell's 13 years in the NBA (1956-69) his Boston Celtics won 11 championships. For the last two championships (1968 and 1969) he was the player-coach. Sports Illustrated named him "the greatest team player in history."
Although his mother, Katie, passed away when he was twelve, she still lives in his heart and mind. In his book, Russell Rules which he wrote with David Falkner, Coach Russell, discusses his mother's influence:
"My mother taught me to stand up for myself, to use my brainpower on my own behalf. She followed me around from day to day even though she wasn't there. Wherever I went, she accompanied me even though she was somewhere else.
One day, when I was twelve, she became ill and was taken to the hospital. A week later she died, a complete and overwhelming shock. But even then, more strongly than ever, she stayed with me—in my thoughts, my goals, my aspirations. She appeared to me in dreams. Sometimes she was just an image; other times she talked to me as though she were there in the room with me, counseling me, advising me.
Try to do the best at whatever you do, respect all people, even ones you don't like, acknowledge the common humanity you share with everyone.
Her teachings remained with me when she was not around. Nothing would have worked if I had perceived her as simply an authority, a lawgiver. She got into my life and stayed there because she had the power to make herself invisible so that I might all the while focus on my own life, on what I had to do to become responsible for my success. I have often wondered what it was that gave her the power of invisibility, and the only meaningful conclusion I have come to is that it was love. The power of her love for me was that strong."
The greatest gift we can give is to have a positive influence on the thinking and heart of someone else long after we are gone. All it takes is love.
Who will you influence?

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman




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Application Exercise



Under The Skin Of Women and Men

Did you ever sit down and talk with women or men
In a serious sort of a way,
On their views of life and ponder then
On all that they have to say?
If not, you should in some quiet hour;
It's a glorious thing to do:
For you'll find that back of the pomp and power
Most women and men have a goal in view.

They'll tell you then that their aim is not
The clink of the yellow gold;
That not in the worldly things they've got
Would they have their stories told.
They'll say the joys that they treasure most
Are their good friends, tried and true,
And an honest name for their own to boast
And peace when the day is through.

I've talked with women and men and I think I know
What's under the toughened skin.
I've seen their eyes grow bright and glow
With the fire that burns within.
And back of the gold and back of the fame
And back of the selfish strife,
In most women and men you'll find the flame
Of the nobler things of life.

Edgar Albert Guest (1881-1959)


*With the greatest of respect for Mr. Guest I replaced “Men” with “Women and Men” to make this poem meaningful to my Granddaughter Emi who I hope will read this one day and share with her brother Carter. – Craig Impelman 6/6/2021





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