Sacred Hoops : Spiritual Lessons of a Hardwood Warrior
by Phil Jackson
Taken from wikipedia:
"Philip Douglas "Phil" Jackson (born September 17, 1945) is a former American professional basketball player who coached theChicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers. Jackson is widely considered one of the greatest coaches in the history of the National Basketball Association (NBA)."
I was surprised that a coach could be so philosophical and deep in thoughts. Phil called himself "Zen Christian". He was brought up in a very religious Christian family - his father was a pastor and his mother would drill the kids to do Bible study and attend Church etc... Interestingly, he also embraced Zen Buddhism when he grew up, and incorporated a lot of Zen philosophies in his attitude towards life and coaching.
Below are some of the insightful quotes from the book:
"...I wanted to sit through the fear, to experience it as fully as possible..."
"Success tends to distort reality and make everybody, coaches as well as players, forget their shortcomings and exaggerate their contributions. Soon they being to lose sight of what made them successful in the first place: their connection with each other as a team. As Michael Jordan put it: Success turn WE's back into ME's.."
"Losing is a lens through which you can see yourself more clearly and experience in the blood and the bones the transient nature of life."
"My obsession with winning had robbed me of my joy in the dance....I realized that I had been trapped for years on an emotional roller coaster of winning and losing, and it was tearing me apart. I wasn't alone. Our whole social structure is built around rewarding winners, at the perilous expense of forsaking community and compassion... Eventually, everybody loses, ages, changes. And small triumphs - a great play, a moment of true sportsmanship - count, even though you may not win the game....As strange as it may seem, being able to accept change or defeat with equanimity gives you the freedom to go out on the floor and give the game your all."
"...losing is as integral a part of the dance as winning... Buddhism teaches us that by accepting death, you discover life... only by acknowledging the possibility of defeat can you fully experience the joy of competition..."