'Earned and deserved'

Learning from past greats to help shape us in the present.  Coach John Wooden affectionately knows as the 'the wizard' was the greatest college basketball coach in U.S history with his UCLA teams winning an unprecedented and never to be achieved again number of NCAA Division 1 Championship titles.

There was nothing magical about the 'wizard' however.  It was his commitment to meticulous research, hard work, strong old fashion values and discipline that won him so much success for his teams, many of which had no 'stars' to speak of.

Take for example his approach he called 'earned and deserved'.  

'Coach Wooden is also a stickler for fairness.  But for him, that did not mean treating all of his players and students exactly alike.  In the 1930's, he came up with an approach he calls 'earned and deserved'.  "I believe, in order to be fair to all students, a teacher must give each individual student the treatment he earns and deserves.  The most unfair thing to do is to treat all of them the same." (From 'You haven't taught until they have learned' by Swen Nater and Ronald Gallimore)

Over the last 30 years as a coach in my sport of tennis and as a parent of football, basketball and cricket playing boys, I've witnessed a growing cultural trend in sport (particularly grass roots and schools sport) that everyone has to be treated the same.  However, fairness does not equal 'same'.  Fairness does not always equal opportunity, playing time, selection, reward and recognition, or the same form of discipline or treatment - this needs to be individualised according to what is 'earned and deserved'.  

Like Dash said in the incredibles, "If everyone is special, no-one is special!"

Let's let children discover for themselves the arenas in which they can be special, where they can feel good at something that is of their choice whilst understanding that there is no substitute for good old fashioned hard work, time and commitment to get to that point and that there is always going to be someone at some point who does it better.  That's kinda how life works.