When they first announced the Wooden/Scully affair at the Nokia center I was very excited and quickly looked into getting tickets but for some reason I didn't pull the trigger, and as the date approached I still had no tickets. My wife was going to get me tickets for fathers day(not that I'm a father) but schoolwork got in the way of her plans so neither of us did what we set out to do.
Luckily for us, my friend Craig called us on Wednesday Night and invited the both of us to the event as his guests. An offer sent from Heaven cannot be refused so we removed all obstacles and freed up Friday Night and it was well worth the effort. Tonight, I was subjected to a litany of pearls of wisdom.
The whole affair was put together by TJ Simers to benefit the Childrens hospitals in Los Angeles. Think Cure was part of the package as the McCourts continue to do their part for this community even as they mishandle management of the Dodgers by putting Giants in charge. TJ Simers was as loud and obnoxious in voice as he is in print but maybe he has the "beauty within" since it was all for a good cause and he put it all together. I wasn't a big fan of his questions but I loved the answers. Wooden continues to be quite funny while using only a few choice words, and he was quick with the quip.
Late in the evening John Wooden recounted a poem from heart. It was impressive for anyone, for a 97 year old person to do it, it became inspirational. The poem was written by Swen Nater a 7 foot giant of a man who won two national championships while playing for Coach Wooden especially for Coach Wooden.
Once I was afraid of dying,
Terrified of ever-lying,
Petrified of leaving family, home and friends.
Thoughts of absence from my dear ones,
Drew a melancholy tear once,
And a lonely, dreadful fear of when life ends.
But those days are long behind me;
Fear of leaving does not bind me,
And departure does not host a single care.
Peace does comfort as I ponder,
A reunion in the Yonder,
With my dearest who are waiting over there.
At the beginning of the show, before the legends would appear, TJ spoke a few minutes about why we were here tonight. He mentioned one doctor who he admired because he was able to work with such sick children. The doctor mentioned that since 8 out of 10 of these kids would live that it was easy to be happy with his work. Right after he said that I said to myself then why did the two kids I knew die? Why did these brilliant children make up the wrong end of 80%?
Later in the evening, TJ asked Vin how he was able to deal with the adversity that life had thrown his way. First Vin talked about faith, and then he said you just have to stop asking "why". For a brief moment I thought he was talking to me. I have to admit that when I've visited the childrens hospitals I get tangs of resentment and wonder why they are alive and William Christopher Caldwell isn't. I've been asking a question for three years now instead seeking the relief and satisfaction for those 80% who are able to beat the odds. Even as I near 50 I still have many holes in my character and I need to strive to become better. It is easier with role models like Coach Wooden and Vin Scully.
One of the highlights of the evening was getting to sing "Take me out out to the Ballgame" with Vinny in the lead. It never sounded so beautiful.
Thank you Craig for calling, it was a night I'll never forget.