Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Thanks, Coach

Right now, Pat Summitt is fighting for her life. I expect to get the sad news any day. She's the greatest coach in college basketball history. Most people don't know, because women's college basketball was a punchline, until she made it relevant to the sports world. Geno Auriemma has 11 national championships, all since 1995, but when he goes down as the greatest ever, it will be noted that he had to eclipse Pat Summitt to do it.

I can remember when I started counting each win. I remember when I figured out that the average record of a Lady Vols team in 38 years was 28-6. I remember when I thought I would never see this again.

She won't remember, but we should.

The greatest teams, players, and coaches don't win on skill; they win on fear. The very best make you think you as the opponent will choke, and then you do. Pat Summitt's stare could melt lead. She's finally facing an opponent who won't crack. Alzheimer's, and his pal, Death. Still, if we are but a breath, Pat Summitt is a tornado.

They only lost 208 games in 38 years. It'd be impressive even if they played Cupcake State every week. Wrong. About half the time, they played one of the 25 best teams in the country. The hardest schedule in the sport. And they came out national champions 8 times.

I've barely watched a game since she left. I wish we could fix it somehow. I wish we had the luxury of Geno and Pat disliking each other.

She's 64, not 94. That makes it harder. To be taken piece by piece is a cruel fate for someone who made history. I will remember, as an act of defiance. She'd like that.

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