Today my heart continues to break, along with many other hearts, for the family and friends of the late Pat Summitt. The long time basketball coach, leader, and legend succumbed to the affects of Alzheimer’s Disease, June 28, 2016.
I, too often, have been witness to brutality of Alzheimer’s Disease and the tornado effects it has on one’s mind, body, and spirit bringing the strongest of the strong to the weakest, most feeble and confused state.
The thing about this disease it is doesn’t pick and chose according to the color of your skin, if you’re a man or woman, or the amount of money in your bank account.
Pat Summitt was a force to be reckoned with and I can only imagine the fight she put up until she was recruited to coach in the Heavenly Skies.
Today my Facebook timeline has been filled with so many stories about Pat… not just about her ability to coach, but how she made an impact on so many lives.
I actually had the opportunity to meet Coach Summitt once.
I must admit I did not make the best first, or second, impression on Coach but was honored to have had a chance to have a one-on-one conversation. You see, our high school basketball team went to her team camp back in 1989. We were there with 1000+ other girls, and teams from all over the United States.
We went to play our hearts out in hopes to receive a glimpse from the “coach” we all dreamed of playing under.
Well, my chance finally came to get a few minutes of Coach’s time when she picked me out of the crowd. NOT because of my stellar basketball skills, or extremely high vertical jump, mind you.
“Hey YOU!”, I heard Coach yell across the basketball court.
The game came to a sudden halt with every young basketball star hoping and praying she was yelling at them. We knew we were in the presence of greatness! Only Coach Summitt could hush a 1000 girls with just a look…you know that look!
Just then I noticed she was talking to me.
Without hesitation, I ran up to her, “Yes, Ma’am?” thinking she was going to compliment me on my awesome defense skills.
“Young lady, do you know where you are?” she asked sternly.
“Yes, ma’am. I am at your basketball camp.”
“Yes, you are at the University of Tennessee. So, I ask you why did you choose to wear a University of South Carolina basketball jersey and University of Alabama t-shirt to my camp?”
There I stood, with shaking knees, not knowing how to respond.
So I say again, the first, or second impression that the one and only Pat had of me was not how I played it out in my head.
This moment I will remember for the rest of my life and be honored to have had the opportunity to meet someone all young basketball players aspire to be, on and off the court.
We now say “goodbye” to a great teacher, leader and coach.
May she continue to inspire us to push harder, give 100%, and be the best that you can be.
“Attitude is a choice.
Think positive thoughts daily.
Believe in yourself.”
– This post was written by Stacey Pierce.