Thursday, August 25, 2011

And At The Top There Is Summitt

I know this is a few days late. Let's just say I'm acclimatizing to hora Paraguaya.

A few days ago I found out with the rest of the world about the diagnosis of Tennessee basketball coach, Pat Summitt, with early onset dementia. There are a million things that can be said: Tragic, Sad, Unfair, ect. I don't care to comment on her illness, nor my personal sadness of knowing that the era of Pat Summitt will end sooner than expected. I just want to take the time to talk about what a complete bad ass she is.

I remember as a small girl who loved basketball watching Tennessee play in the final four. I then thought I was going to go to Tennessee and play basketball. My Dad had taught we the fight song, and in fact he had a hat that would play Rocky Top when you pressed a button on the brim. A few years later I realized I wasn't very good at basketball and that dream ended. Nonetheless, I still have great affinity for Tennessee Basketball. I love that women's basketball at Tennessee is the marquee sport. I think it's safe to say it's perhaps the only women's marquee sport in the NCAA. That huge achievement is 100% attributable to Pat Summitt.

For those of less interested in college sports, Pat Summitt is the single winning-est coach in college basketball history. Not in women's basketball history, in NCAA basketball history. Men's or Women's programs. She's never had a losing season.

Pat Summitt's success can be summed up in her innumerable accolades, but all that misses a crucial element of her bad-assery. The woman has swagger. Leading the Lady Vols to 8 national championships in various brightly colored pant suits, she proves that women in male dominated fields don't need a boost, nor a handicap. There are no excuses. There are no short cuts. She doesn't pad her non-conference schedule, and her girls graduate. All of them graduate. She doesn't stop at being "good for a girl." She's just damned good. The Best.

So I want to say thanks to Pat Summitt. Thanks for showing me that excellence is achievable, and that girls are no exception to that. You are awesome.

Me? Bad Ass? Yeah, I know.