Today we begin a new series on The OrganWise Guys’ blog. We’re going to introduce you to people and organizations that inspire us to live healthier and better lives. I can think of no better way to start this series than to pay tribute to a woman I’ve admired for many years, Pat Summitt.
By Kathryn Taylor
You might have seen in the news that Pat Summitt has officially retired after 38 years as the coach of the Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team. As an alumni, I vividly remember going to my first Lady Vols game. It was powerful. People who knew Coach Summitt always said she was the real deal; that she inspired her players to be their very best. Although she only coached 161 women in her career at Tennessee, her impact on women’s sports is immeasurable. It is safe to say that collegiate women’s basketball would not be where it is today without Coach Summitt. Her impact on me is what I want to share today.
Last fall I trained for an Ironman Triathlon. During the course of the training, our team headed to the mountains of North Carolina for a training weekend. We were to spend seven hours riding our bikes up and down the mountains. To say we were intimidated would be an understatement. Our coaches assured us that this ride wouldn’t be any more difficult than any we had done before, but when we arrived, I got the sense that it was a lot tougher than they remembered. One of our coaches was a fellow Tennessee alum and had worked as an athletic trainer for the Lady Vols as a student. Coincidentally, the day before, Pat Summitt’s early onset dementia had been announced. As we stood in the parking lot, she shared a quote that Coach Summitt had spoken at the news conference about her disease: “It is what it is, but it will be what I make of it.” She challenged us to take that same approach to our day so I took that seriously. I repeated that quote in my head all day and throughout the rest of the season. It has become a mantra for me when something tough pops up in life. I admired Coach Summitt before because of her skill as a coach and her ability to lead as a woman. Now I admire her even more. She inspires me.
If you’ve been inspired by the stories you’ve heard about Coach Summitt in the last week, let us know!