Today I had the opportunity to hear a young UCLA coaching legend speak.
Valerie Kondos Field is in her 23rd year coaching the UCLA gymnastics team, though she was also an assistant coach for eight years before taking the reins. I have always admired Coach Val because she is famously not a gymnast; in fact, she was a ballerina when she applied to be the dance coach for UCLA's team in the 1980s.
Coach Val told all about her background and then told us about her connection with John Wooden. Also famously, the two coaches became close friends over the last two decades of John Wooden's life. My favorite anecdote she told was about a day when a reporter interviewed the coaches together and asked something about whether Coach Val would be the next John Wooden. Apparently Coach Wooden chuckled and said, "Why would she want to be the next John Wooden when she can be the best Valerie Kondos Field?" Oh, Coach.
The biggest aspect of Coach Val's speech that inspired me was her three tips for success for her athletes.
- Improve 1% every day.
- Ruthlessly attack your weaknesses.
- Observe without judgment.
As for the original legend, Coach Wooden's definition of success (perhaps the most famous ever written) is:
That guy just rocks. (These photos are from a statue newly erected at UCLA in honor of our beloved Coach.)
We spent the rest of the day at a UCLA volunteer retreat for young alumni, always fun, and always an opportunity for me to take cheesy pictures.
When we got home around five, I forced myself to throw on a yoga video. At first I wasn't excited at all, but halfway through I felt great and managed to get through the whole 45 minutes. Honestly, I felt fantastic at the end; I really needed the stretch and core work that only yoga can give me.
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