Famous UCLA basketball coach John Wooden led one of the greatest dynasties in sports history, winning 10 NCAA Championships in 12 years. Toward the end of his life, he was asked what one day from his storied career he would choose to re-live if given the chance. His answer may surprise you.
Given his professional achievements, you’d think Coach Wooden would be eager to re-live one of his national championships, his selection into the Hall of Fame, or one of his teams’ greatest come-from-behind victories. Instead, he suggested he would conduct one more day of practice in the gym. Why? Because, he said, “each day of practice was, by far, the most fulfilling, exciting, and memorable thing I did as a coach. [That’s where I taught] those under my supervision how to achieve success as members of a team.”
Think of it: Here’s one of the sport’s most respected coaches who worked with some of basketball’s brightest stars, picking up numerous honors along the way. And, yet, if given one day to live over, he’d spend it in the shadows – running drills with his team in a largely empty gym.
In other words, he found joy in the journey.
Coach Wooden saw something we often miss. While it’s easy to believe that our deepest joy comes from the mountaintop experiences of our lives, it’s finding meaning and purpose in our day-to-day activities that brings true satisfaction. God yearns for us to take joy in the journey, to make even our seemingly mundane moments a recognition of His purposes.
“I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good as long as they live; and also that every man should eat and drink and see and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.”