The most impressive NCAA college basketball player this year is a woman, Paige Bueckers who plays for Connecticut. Only a freshman, she seems to be a better all around game than Diana Taurasi, who I had considered the best women’s college basketball player that I have seen.
With the announcement of the resignation of Roy Williams at North Carolina, the five best college basketball coaches in my lifetime:
- John Wooden
- Mike Krzyzewski
- Dean Smith
- Roy Williams
- Jay Wright (this choice may be a bit premature but I wanted a Big 5 coach on my list)
I would not need to sit on a jury for an hour, a day, a month, two months or however long the trial of Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd takes. I had the correct verdict figured out in nine minutes and 29 seconds.
Many years ago I bought and read a book by Lawrence Shames and Peter Barton titled Not Fade Away: A Short Life Well Lived. This book reflects the thoughts, actions and philosophies of Barton, a successful businessman who was dying from cancer in his early 50s. Barton began his book, “There’s not one thing I regret or wish I could redo. There’s not one thing I wished I done, and didn’t. I’m contented and fulfilled.“
Barton died at age 51.
Here are some sections of the book I have underlined as constant reference as I get older…
“The stories of our lives have a due date, like books at the library.
A problem that can be fixed by money… is not a problem.
If I have anything at all to teach about life, it probably comes down to these two simple but far-reaching notions:
Recognizing the difference between a dumb risk and a smart one, and
Understanding when you need to change direction, and having the guts to do it.
I promised myself that I wouldn’t have a bad day for the rest of my life. If someone was wasting my time, i’d excuse myself and walk away. If a situation bothered me or refused to get resolved, I’d shrug and move on. I’d squander no energy on petty annoyances, poison no minutes with useless regret.
I would only work for someone I thought was wildly smart.
Duration, for him (Barton), is no longer quite the same as it is for most of us; he sees time not in terms of days or hours but in episodes of energy, bursts of attention.
There’s just one final thing I want to say. Probably it’s how everyone wants to be remembered. But that’s OK. I’ve said from the start that I make no claim of being special; I’m just one more person dying, revisiting his life. I think my father would’ve said the same thing, in the same words, If he had had the time. It’s simply this: I really tried. I did my best.”
Coincidently I have just finished a book by William R. Irvine titled the Stoic Challenge: A Philosopher’s Guide to Becoming Tougher, Calmer and More Resilient. I reommend the book. Barton epitomizes the stoic philosophy that Irvine promotes. Barton comments on his acceptance of his diagnosis and prognosis, “My frame of mind was something I could still control,. Doing so would be a sort of victory I was not accustomed to valuing – – a totally inward, private victory – – but a legitimate accomplishment nevertheless. I resolved to control my own discomfort, to rise above them if I possibly could. In doing so, I came to understand the deep truth that, while pain may be unavoidable, suffering is largely optional.“