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Life Lessons from My Two-Decade Friendship with Humanitarian and Coach John Wooden to Help 'Make Each Day Your Masterpiece'
167 backers pledged $10,786 to help bring this project to life.

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     As a longtime newspaper sports columnist in Southern California I am often asked to speak to civic groups – and the person audiences invariably want to hear more about during the Q&A afterward is Coach John Wooden. Listeners at these talks, as well as readers of my columns, over the years have encouraged me to write a book about my experiences with Coach.

     Now I have, with the memoir WOODEN & ME: Life Lessons from My Two-Decade Friendship with the Legendary Coach and Humanitarian to Help “Make Each Day Your Masterpiece.”

      It was in 1987 as a young sports writer and near-newlywed that I met Coach, who soon became a friend and mentor through the births of my two children and their growth into young adulthood; the death of my mother; career decisions; and more. As I note in my completed manuscript: “One did not have to play for Coach Wooden in order to be one of his students, and of this I am a privileged example. I was not one of his basketball players – except for one glorious week at his youth camp in 1975 – but make no mistake, I was his pupil. No coach or teacher or professor has taught me more, or taught me more important things.”

     Just as Coach Wooden was beloved and revered by people of all ages and all backgrounds, readers from teens to parents to grandparents, basketball fans and non-fans alike, will find WOODEN & ME enlightening and inspiring.

     WOODEN & ME is an inspiring combination of Tuesdays With Morrie and Chicken Soup for the Soul is how author Randy Robertson described my book after reading the manuscript.

     Coach not only passed on priceless life lessons to me, but also to my daughter Dallas (now 26) and her younger brother Greg (23), who were fortunate to meet Coach and are featured throughout the book from their young childhood to the present day. Dallas’ Masters degree in Creative Writing at Purdue University (coincidentally Wooden’s alma mater) and recent John Steinbeck Fellowship selection, and Greg’s Pac-12 Leadership Award (from the athletic conference Wooden famously coached in) and Rhodes Scholar Finalist honors attest to the continued relevance and impact of Coach’s teachings.

     My writing credentials include being a sports columnist for more than twenty-five years in Southern California, with The Ventura County Star and The Daily Breeze in Torrance; and now back with The Star in Ventura as a general interest essayist. National recognition includes First Place for Column Writing by the Associated Press News Executive Council; Column Writing honors by the Associated Press Sports Editors; E.W. Scripps Newspapers “Columnist of the Year” and Copley News Service’s “Columnist of the Year”; and the James S. Copley “Ring of Truth” award. In 2003, I was inducted into the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation’s Journalists Hall of Fame. My work has appeared in The Best American Sports Writing anthology, The Sporting News, and The Los Angeles Times Op-Ed pages. I also co-authored Raising Your Child To Be A Champion In Athletics, Arts and Academics (Kensington Publishing/Citadel Press, 2004) with nationally renowned speaker and coach Wayne Bryan.

     As I ask for your generous support in helping make this worthy book and e-book a reality, let me leave you with my dedication on the opening page of WOODEN & ME:

     For Coach – “The journey is better than the inn” you often reminded me, and in my life journey I feel extremely thankful and blessed to have had you walking ahead of me as a role model; walking beside me as a teacher, mentor and friend; and now walking behind me in spirit as a source of continued inspiration to myself – as well as to my daughter Dallas, son Greg, and wife Lisa – for pursuing true “success.” Too, I am forever grateful for your frequent reminder and constant shining example that “love” is the most important word in the English language.

     Thank you, Dear Patrons, for joining this journey with me.

     -- Woody

Risks and challenges

The major challenge was writing the manuscript, which took two years and has been successfully completed; revised, revised, revised; and copy-edited. The front cover design has been finalized and the back cover is awaiting only the addition of the generous Pyramid of Success, Manuscript, and MVP level supporters. Similarly, the book's interior layout is nearly ready except for the final list of Kickstarter supporters on the "Patrons" acknowledgment pages.

The funds raised through Kickstarter from your generous support will be used to overcome the final challenge: printing costs, final design work for the front and back covers, and interior layout (both for print and e-book formatting).

When this Kickstart campaign finishes at the end of June, I will provide the Patrons' names to the graphic designer to include on the back cover and inside acknowledgements pages.

Once the exterior design and interior layout is then complete by the end of July, the finalized product will be given to the book printer and e-book publisher. The paperbacks will then be delivered to me by the end of August, around which time the e-book should also be made available for download.

I will then excitedly sign and mail WOODEN & ME (along with your bookmarks and other rewards) to be in your happy hands in September.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    “Bronze” Level -- You will receive a WOODEN & ME bookmark in sincere thanks for your support.

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    “Silver” Level -- You will receive one e-book of WOODEN & ME (optimized for iPad, Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Sony Reader and other devices).

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    “Gold” Level -- You will receive one paperback of WOODEN & ME signed by the author and personalized to your request, plus a bookmark.

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    “Make Friendship a Fine Art” Level -- You will receive two paperbacks of WOODEN & ME, one signed by the author for you and a second signed and personalized to your request as a gift for a family member, friend, or school library of your choice. Also, two bookmarks.

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    “Book Club Starting Five” Level -- You will receive five paperbacks of WOODEN & ME, all signed by the author and personalized to your requests, plus five bookmarks.

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    “Patron In Print” Level -- You will be acknowledged for your generosity by name in print on the special “Patrons” page inside WOODEN & ME – and you will receive three paperbacks signed by the author and personalized to your requests. Plus bookmarks.

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    “Pyramid of Success” Level -- Limited in honor of the 15 building blocks in the Pyramid of Success -- You will be acknowledged for your generosity by name on the BACK COVER of WOODEN & ME as well as the inside “Patrons” page – and you will receive five paperbacks signed by the author and personalized to your requests. Plus bookmarks.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    “Manuscript” Level -- In addition to being acknowledged for your generosity by name on the BACK COVER of WOODEN & ME, as well as on the inside “Patrons” page, you will receive one of the three final drafts of the manuscript I had printed out and bound with a cover page as keepsakes for my three most valued reviewers/copyeditors/supporters (my wife and two children) who have generously donated them to this Kickstarter project. Yours will be signed by the author and personalized to your request, as will be five paperbacks of WOODEN & ME. Plus bookmarks.

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    Pledge $7,000 or more About $7,000

    “MVP – Most Valuable Patron” Level -- On the BACK COVER of WOODEN & ME you will receive the top-billing acknowledgement by name as thanks for your kind generosity, as well as on the inside “Patrons” page. Additionally, I will gratefully gift to you one “Seven-Point Creed / Pyramid of Success” card (a double-sized unfolded business-size card measuring 3½ x 4 inches and preserved in an acrylic holder) AUTOGRAPHED BY COACH WOODEN and originally given to me. (I have another one I will forever keep with me and cherish!) You will also receive seven paperbacks of WOODEN & ME signed by the author and personalized to your requests. Plus bookmarks.

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Funding period

- (31 days)