It was quite a day yesterday -- one filled with frustration and fun, but ended with sadness...
Employment Numbers Released -- In the morning, the Obama Administration released the May employment numbers for the country and their policies and the impossible-to-fail stimulus bills have created a whopping 20,000 private-sector jobs. The other 411,000 jobs created in May were ALL government jobs and mostly temporary Census-related jobs. Absolutely incredible! We added more than $1 trillion of debt with all the promises made about all the new jobs that would be created. Hopefully, citizens will learn that government doesn't stimulate real jobs, only the private sector can do that. Sadly, additional burdens on small businesses like Obamacare will make it even more difficult for job creation.
Nationals Win! -- Went to my first Nats game of the year last night and saw the rising Nationals beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-2. There was definitely a different atmosphere in the stadium in terms of those coming out to the park. It seems like the team's overall improvement and the anticipation of Stephen Strasburg's arrival next week has attracted the "20-30 somethings" in town. There were fans tailgating near the public lots and just a different environment. It was nice to see especially with the low crowds of the past few years. The team has the No. 1 pick in Monday's draft so they are definitely on the right track. Ryan Zimmerman continues to show why he is the best third baseman in the National League, both with the glove and the bat.
Legendary Coach John Wooden Passes Away at 99 -- Towards the end of last night's Nats game, I went to ESPN.com on the BlackBerry and saw the news flash that legendary UCLA coach John Wooden had passed away at 99. Coach Wooden is not only recognized as the greatest sports coach in American history, he is also considered one of its greatest motivators. His coaching record speaks for itself -- at UCLA, he won 620 games in 27 seasons and 10 NCAA titles during his last 12 seasons, including seven in a row from 1967 to 1973. His UCLA teams also had a record winning streak of 88 games and four perfect 30–0 seasons. They also won 38 straight games in NCAA Tournaments and a record 98 straight home game wins at Pauley Pavilion. Wooden was named NCAA College Basketball's "Coach of the Year" in 1964, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, and 1973. He is in the basketball hall of fame as both a coach and a player (Purdue). He was recognized as such a great coach and motivator that the Pittsburgh Pirates offered him the manager's job in the early 1970s, even though he had no substantial baseball experience.
What made him so successful? It was his attention to detail. The stories are legendary. Each year, his team's first practice did not include basketballs. All of his players spent the practice time working on putting on their socks properly. Why? Because if they didn't put their socks on properly, they would develop blisters and then the player would not be effective for the team. The second day of practice, the players graduated to lacing shoes, making sure that they put an equal amount of tension on each set of eyelets. These first two days of practice took place each and every year, even when UCLA was at the height of their dominance. Can you imagine the look on the faces of 10 McDonald's All-Americans when they come to UCLA as freshmen and practice putting on socks and shoes?
His greatest impact to his players was off the court. He remained close to all of his players after they graduated and many of them remained close to him even 40 years after graduating.
I could go on and on about Coach Wooden -- his only love in life whom he met when he was a teenager, his wife Nellie who passed away 27 years ago (he wrote her love letters every month after her death); his "Pryamid of Success" (download here), which I keep next to my desk at work; and his strong sense of faith.
Here is ESPN's tribute to the great Coach John Wooden:
To learn more about Coach Wooden and his inspirational life, visit http://www.coachwooden.com/.