I had a wonderful surprise in my office yesterday when I open the mail on my desk to find a copy of “Leader of the Pack: The Legacy of Legendary Coach Kay Yow.” Accompanying it was a note from Stephanie Zonars, the author of the book. I took the book home with me and started reading it and couldn’t put it down until I finished it. It is a remarkable book about an incredible woman. Stephanie took the time to contact 35 former players and assistant coaches and gave them each a section in the book to talk about the life lessons they had learned playing for Coach Yow. Stephanie then took each chapter and summarized it spiritually in a way that Coach Yow, a devout Christian, would be proud. There are many great stories in this book and I’m going to share one with you today, but I walked away from reading this book being reminded of the powerful responsibility we have as a coaches and the amazing influence we can cast over those the compete for us. It should be our goal as coaches to leave a legacy as strong as that of Coach Yow. Congratulations to Stephanie on a wonderful book.
The following comes from Kerri Hobbs Gatling who played for the Wolfpack from 1986 to 1990.
“When I think of Coach Yow, many of her familiar sayings come to mind:
‘When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.’
‘When life kicks you, let it kick you forward.’
‘Don’t wallow in self-pity, switch your feet and get out.’
‘Attitude is everything.’
There’s another, however, that stood out to me then and even today influences my daily life: ‘Use intelligence ignorance.’ Upon first glance, these two words — intelligent and ignorance — don’t even seem to work together. How can someone operate intelligently, if he is ignorant?
Intelligent ignorance happens when we focus our mind on a goal and prohibit the thoughts and opinions of others from impeding us. In other words, to exhibit intelligence can sometimes mean remaining ignorant of others’ opinions and turning a deaf ear to people who tell us we can’t reach our goals because we are women, African American, from a single parent home, a single parent ourselves, from low socioeconomic status or a host of other labels.
With intelligent ignorance, I learned that many aspects of the game aren’t captured on the stat sheet. Intelligent ignorance takes into account game-changing intangibles like work ethic and attitude, and literally ignores any consideration of losing.
Coach Yow taught me that practicing intelligent ignorance brings freedom to live without the limitations that others may place on me. It allows me to approach situations with an open mind and gives me the freedom to ignore naysayers. I find that even now as a wife, mother and professional, operating in intelligent ignorance helps me to achieve great things.”
You can find out more about Stephanie Zonars as well as order an advanced copy Leader of the Pack at: http://www.lifebeyondsport.com/
It should be noted that partial proceeds of the book sales go to the Kay You/WBCA Cancer Fund.