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Issue 548 - My Favorite Dynamic Duo: Booker T. Washington and John Wooden: "No Pretense" (Booker T. Washington Part Twenty Nine)

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 11 Issue 548
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



Pretense is defined as: (1) An attempt to make something that is not the case appear true.(2) A claim, especially a false or ambitious one.
In 1973 a book about John Wooden entitled "The Wizard of Westwood" was published. The nickname stuck. John Wooden didn’t like it. "I don’t like that title. I am not a Wizard. I am a teacher."
When John Wooden was proclaimed as the greatest coach of all time. He rejected the idea. "There are many great coaches. If I were regarded as one of better ones I would be pleased."
John Wooden’s players were not allowed to pose or showboat. John Wooden’s position was simple: "I detest showboating."
In his 1902 book, Character Building, Booker T. Washington gave his students the same message:
"There is a great inclination to make things appear what they are not. For example: take the schools. There is a great tendency to call schools by names which do not belong to them. and which do not correctly represent that which in reality exists. Do not think that we gain anything by calling a little country school, with two or three rooms and one or two teachers, where some of the students are studying the alphabet, a university. No respect or confidence is gained by the practice, but, on the contrary, sensible people get disgusted with such false pretenses.
We make the same mistake when we call every preacher or person who stands in a pulpit to read from it, "Doctor," whether or not that degree has been conferred upon him. The habit is getting to be so common that in little towns the ministers are calling themselves Doctors. One pastor will meet another and say, "Good morning, Doctor," and the other, wishing to be as polite as his friend, will say, "How are you, Doctor?" and so it goes on, until both begin to believe they really are Doctors. Now this practice is not only ridiculous, but it is very hurtful to us as a race, and it should be discouraged.
Much the same criticism may be made of many of those who teach. A person who teaches a little country school, perhaps in a brush arbor, is called "Professor." Every person who leads a string band is called "Professor." Now, don’t suffer the world to put you in this silly, ridiculous position. If people attempt to call you "Professor," or by any other title that is not yours, tell them that you are not a professor, that you are a simple mister. That is a good enough title for anyone."
Booker T. Washington and John Wooden = "No Pretense."
What do you =?

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman




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Application Exercise



The Things They Mustn’t Touch

Been down to the art museum an' looked at a thousand things,
The bodies of ancient mummies an' the treasures of ancient kings,
An' some of the walls were lovely, but some of the things weren't much,
But all had a rail around 'em, an' all wore a sign 'Don't touch.'
Now maybe an art museum needs guards and a warning sign
An' the hands of the folks should never paw over its treasures fine;
But I noticed the rooms were chilly with all the joys they hold,
An' in spite of the lovely pictures, I'd say that the place is cold.
An' somehow I got to thinkin' of many a home I know
Which is kept like an art museum, an' merely a place for show;
They haven't railed off their treasures or posted up signs or such,
But all of the children know it—there's a lot that they mustn't touch.
It's hands off the grand piano, keep out of the finest chair,
Stay out of the stylish parlor, don't run on the shiny stair;
You may look at the velvet curtains which hang in the stately hall,
But always and ever remember, they're not to be touched at all.
'Don't touch!' for an art museum, is proper enough, I know,
But my children's feet shall scamper wherever they want to go,
And I want no rare possessions or a joy which has cost so much,
From which I must bar the children and tell them they 'mustn't touch.'

Edgar Albert Guest (1881-1959)






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