After a 34 year powerful career as a basketball coach, Pat Summitt died on the 29th of June 2016 after battling with Alzheimer’s for 5 years. A statement revealed by her son showed that she died while being surrounded by loved ones and while she was peaceful. She was 64 years old. But these are not the achievements that she boasts of. Her life was an inspiration for all women out there due to her passion, determination and hard work to achieve feats that have never before been attained.
Pat Summitt is such a name that even the president paid a tribute to her services to women’s basketball upon her death. Since the time she joined Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team in 1974, the team has seen some of the best wins and secured eight NCAA championships under their belt. She is said to be the first ever NCAA coach who had more than a 1000 wins over their long career. According to the Sporting News, she came at number 11 on their list of 50 Greatest Coaches of All Time in sports. Interestingly enough she was the only woman on the list.
Coach Summitt had also been awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom and Arthur Ashe Courage Award by ESPY Awards. And why not? She was awarded for her wins that she was able to achieve, a grand total of 1098 victories. It is an accomplishment that not many can boast of. As per the words of New York Times, she was a “trailblazer, ambassador and missionary”. She saw the potential in the girls of the team and she made sure that it did not go wasted. She was known for being a tough yet very fair coach who gave repeated chances and encouraged everyone to their absolute best. This is the reason that she was so popular among her peers and team alike.
But the biggest battle that Pat Summitt had to fight was the one against Alzheimer’s. Everyone who has ever had the disease in their family or friend circle knows what a slowly devouring condition it is. It consumes the very soul of the person rendering them incapable of being their true self. The disease itself is not the end, the mere diagnosis takes the life out of most people.
But like the person she was, Summitt did not let it ruin her life or consume her with depression. She aimed to fight till the very end, just like she did when she worked her basketball team. She fought against Alzheimer’s the same way that she taught her girls to fight the rivals in basketball court. And that is not all that she did. She became an advocate for the raise of awareness as well as funds for the people suffering from this debilitating condition. It was through her efforts that a substantial amount of money was raised for the research of how the condition can be treated.
In all, Pat Summitt did for Alzheimer’s what she did for basketball. She made sure that there were more wins than losses, more success than anyone else could have ever imagined of attaining. She will be dearly missed!
A Selection of Pat Summit Quotes
“Life. It gives you vision. But you can’t acquire it if you’re afraid of keeping score.” ~ Pat Summitt
“I’m interested to see where a combination of faith and science will take me.” ~ Pat Summitt
“There is an old saying: a champion is someone who is willing to be uncomfortable.” ~ Pat Summitt
“In the absence of feedback, people will fill in the blanks with a negative. They will assume you don’t care about them or don’t like them.” ~ Pat Summitt
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