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Issue 135 - Success is Never Final, Failure is Never Fatal, It's Courage That Counts

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 3 Issue 135
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



This famous quote, most often attributed to Winston Churchill, was used by Coach Wooden as the epigraph to introduce Chapter 17 of his book They Call Me Coach. In that chapter, Coach discusses his years of coaching at UCLA before his teams had won a national championship.
It has been frequently mentioned that Coach Wooden’s teams won 10 national championships in his last 12 years of coaching.
It is important to remember that he coached 29 years before he won the first one.
The earliest recorded evidence of this quote was in 1938 in an advertisement for Budweiser beer, which was printed in multiple newspapers. This very famous, often used quote was probably constructed by a copywriter for an advertising series of the Anheuser-Busch brewing company.
The following is the original text of the ad:
Men with the spirit of youth pioneered our America…men with vision and sturdy confidence. They found contentment in the thrill of action, knowing that success was never final and failure never fatal. It was courage that counted. Isn’t opportunity in America today greater than it was in the days of our grateful forefathers? Good!
A newspaper ad written in 1938 still provides a great perspective today!
It has been said that courage, like love, must be nourished with hope. The following is a story Coach Wooden gave me which combines courage, love and hope with an amazing result:
A few years ago, at the Seattle Special Olympics, nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100-yard dash. At the gun, they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with a relish to run the race to the finish and win; all, that is, except one little boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times, and began to cry. The other eight heard the boy cry. They slowed down and looked back, and then they all turned around and went back -- every one of them. One girl with Down’s syndrome bent down and kissed him and said, “This will make it better.” Then all nine linked arms and walked together to the finish line. Everyone in the stadium stood, and the cheering went on for several minutes.
Courage and love nourished by hope is an amazing combination.
Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman
Twitter: @woodenswisdom




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Application Exercise

Favorite Poetry




True worth is in being, not seeming,—
In doing, each day that goes by,
Some little good—not in dreaming
Of great things to do by and by.
For whatever men say in their blindness,
And spite of the fancies of youth,
There's nothing so kingly as kindness,
And nothing so royal as truth.

We get back our mete as we measure—
We cannot do wrong and feel right,
Nor can we give pain and gain pleasure,
For justice avenges each slight.
The air for the wing of the sparrow,
The bush for the robin and wren,
But always the path that is narrow
And straight, for the children of men.

'Tis not in the pages of story
The heart of its ills to beguile,
Though he who makes courtship to glory
Gives all that he hath for her smile.
For when from her heights he has won her,
Alas! it is only to prove
That nothing's so sacred as honor,
And nothing so loyal as love!

We cannot make bargains for blisses,
Nor catch them like fishes in nets;
And sometimes the thing our life misses
Helps more than the thing which it gets.
For good lieth not in pursuing,
Nor gaining of great nor of small,
But just in the doing, and doing
As we would be done by, is all.

Through envy, through malice, through hating,
Against the world,early and late.
No jot of our courage abating
Our part is to work and to wait
And slight is the sting of his trouble
Whose winnings are less than his worth.
For he who is honest is noble
Whatever his fortunes or birth.

Alice Cary 





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