Alvin Fred “Doggie” Julian (April 5, 1901 – July 28, 1967) was an American football, basketball, and baseball player and coach. He coached both college and NBA (Celtics) and even coached legend Bob Cousy. He was my coach is summer league basketball camp for a few consecutive years. He was my hero and became a close friend of my family. Coach shared a story with me that is engrained in my spirit.

A father, very overworked, would come home at the end of the day and just collapse into his easy chair. Every day the same routine.

His young son would be so excited that daddy was home that he would rush over to play. The dad, exhausted, would always play with his son, but always played while needing a window to decompress from the pressure of his day. They often worked on puzzles and board games.

On one particular difficult day at work, when his son ran into his arms to play, the dad could not summon the energy without first creating a window to decompress. He had an idea.

He took a picture of a complicated map out of a magazine. He told his son that together they would tear the map into pieces. Together they created about 20 pieces.

When the tearing was completed, the dad then said, “son, I will be ready to play soon, but I want you to first try to put the map of the world back together, then we will play together.” The dad figured that would create some time.

Within minutes the young son returned with the map completed. All pieces in exactly the right place. The dad was astonished.

“Son, that was a complicated map”! It would have taken me a long time to figure out how to put that back together. How did you do it so quickly”?

The little boy said, “Dad, it was so easy”. On the other side of the map is a picture of a boy. If you put the boy together the right-way then the world will be together the right way”!

And so, one of the many lessons from Coach Julian: Train your players and train your kids in character and the world will be alright. I have carried that lesson with me for 5 decades.

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