John Wooden would have turned 100 October 14th 2010. When he left us in June of this year, I immediately thought of my good friend Craig who used to tell me of the days when he and his dad used to go to the Pauley Pavilion. He sent me the following email
I remember meeting Mr Wooden.
The first time was a UCLA-USC bball game in 1970 or 1971. The game was part of the miracle 88 game win streak. I still have the ticket stub and program in a box somewhere.
My dad took me to 5 of those 88 games, and I still have the old tickets saved.
The attached picture is the program and ticket stub from victory #71 of the 88.
Paul Westphal, the USC guard, dove for a loose ball heading out of bounds and ended up knocking me backwards from my front row student section seat under the basket at Pauley Pavilion. It was near the end of the first half.
When the teams took the court to warm up for the 2nd half, Mr Wooden came over to check on me.
“Young man, are you OK?” he asked.
All eyes in our immediate area were now on me.
I fell speechless and could only look at my dad.
“It looked like you took a took quite a fall” he half told me and half told my dad.
I mumbled that I was fine, and I asked Mr Wooden to please beat USC for me.
“With great pleasure!” he assured me, tipped his rolled up program/notes at us, and headed back to his coaching seat.
I did get Paul Westphals autograph on my program when he was done with 2nd half warmups. He remembered clobbering me.
I should have got Mr Woodens autograph too.
I remember seeing Mr. Wooden at Dodger Stadium. He used to call Joe Torre. Wish he was still around so he could call Don Mattingly.
Today October 15th is the 22nd anniversary of Kirk Gibson’s homerun in the 1988 World Series. That is what I should have taken to Dodger Stadium to have Kirk Gibson signed! My World Series program! Why couldn’t I think of this before!? OK, God willing, I will have an opportunity to have Gibby sign this next year.