“The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team.”
This quote of Coach John Wooden’s summarized an important idea that he felt was critical for any individual involved in a group activity to recognize.
In a 2005 radio interview, Coach Wooden was asked two very interesting questions:
1. You’ve been in a unique position to see the top young basketball talent from all over the country for over 20 years now. Is there a pattern that you observed among the very best? Do they have something in common?
Coach replied: They were very competitive.
2. When you had to make that hard decision between two highly skilled young players, was there some quality you looked for? Was there anything that would tip the decision one way or the other?
Coach replied: Quickness and unselfishness.
These two simple responses were very insightful. True greatness by an individual can only be achieved when that person is competitively great, but also recognizes that only with the help of others can the team truly reach its potential.
The truly great competitor is not just willing to share the spotlight, but rather is unselfish enough to be eager to shine the spotlight on his or her teammates.
Simply put, the truly great competitor knows that the main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team.
Coach recognized that a great competitor has to have a certain amount of ego. In his book with Steve Jamison, Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations On and Off the Court, Coach discussed the need to keep that ego under control:
Ego and Arrogance – Everyone has a certain amount of ego, but you must keep that ego under control. Ego is feeling confident and important, knowing you can do the job. But if you get to feeling that you are too important, that you’re indispensable, or that you can do the job without real effort and hard work, without the correct preparation, that’s arrogance. Arrogance is weakness. That’s why I like this poem:
when you’re feeling important;
Sometime when your ego’s in bloom
Sometime when you take it for granted
You’re the best qualified in the room,
when you feel that your going
Would leave an unfillable hole,
Just follow these simple instructions
And see how they humble your soul;
a bucket and fill it with water,
Put your hand in it up to the wrist,
Pull it out and the hole that’s remaining
Is a measure of how you’ll be missed.
can splash all you wish when you enter,
You may stir up the water galore,
But stop and you’ll find that in no time
It looks quite the same as before.
moral of this quaint example
Is do just the best that you can,
Be proud of yourself but remember,
There’s no indispensable man.
So if we ever forget the main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team, we just have to get a bucket of water and get to work!