I coined my own definition of success in nineteen hundred and thirty four, when I was teaching at a high school in South Bend, Indiana. Being a little bit disappointed, and delusioned perhaps by the way parents of the youngsters in my English classes expected their youngsters to get an A or a B. They thought a C was all right for the neighbors children, because the neighbors children are all average. But they weren't satisfied when their own -- would make the teacher feel that they had failed, or the youngster had failed. And that's not right. The good lord in his infinite wisdom didn't create us all equal as far as intelligence is concerned, any more than we're equal for size, appearance. Not everybody could earn an A or a B, and I didn't like that way of judging it.
I did know know how the alumni of various schools back in the '30s judged coaches and athletic teams. If you won them all, you were considered to be reasonably successful. Not completely. Because I found out -- we had a number of years at UCLA where we didn't lose a game. But it seemed that we didn't win each individual game by the margin that some of our alumni had predicted. And quite frequently I -- (Laughter) -- quite frequently I really felt that they had backed up their predictions in a more materialistic manner. But that was true back in the '30s, so I understood that. But I didn't like it. And I didn't agree with it. And I wanted to come up with something that I hoped could make me a better teacher, and give the youngsters under my supervision -- whether it be in athletics or in the English classroom -- something to which to aspire, other than just a higher mark in the classroom, or more points in some athletic contest.
I thought about that for quite a spell, and I wanted to come up with my own definition. I thought that might help. And I knew how Mr. Web