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Jun 28

Hardwood Hero- Sports Talk With Anthony Bonelli And More

My plan this morning was to compose another entry in the Orange and Blue Diary, but as I have written in the past, some news takes precedence over other news. Instead of writing about the beloved orange and blue, I feel obligated to write about someone who certainly transcended the game of basketball.

A legend, a competitor, a mentor to many young women, those are just some of the attributes Pat Summitt possessed. The legendary University of Tennessee Head Women’s Basketball Coach who strolled the sidelines for 38 years passed away this morning at the age of 64.

Sure, I can list all of the accomplishments she achieved during her 38 year coaching career in the Volunteer State, and believe me there are many, but as I have written in the past, your legacy is by no means entirely defined by what you accomplish in your career choice, in my opinion your legacy is also defined by the number of people you impact during your time on Earth.

As someone who is entrusted with the task of helping a team of young women achieve their goals on and off the basketball court, I admire Summitt, not only because she was a great coach, but also because of the way she changed the game of basketball. When Summitt was appointed as Head Women’s Basketball Coach at the University of Tennessee in 1974 just two years after Title IX came into law, College Women’s Basketball as a whole was not looked at in the same way as College Men’s Basketball meaning television coverage for a women’s game was nonexistent Decades later, we all enjoyed watching the University of Connecticut’s Women’s Basketball Team’s historic season this past year. Summitt was a self-defined pioneer when it came to fighting for equality in college basketball. As I write this I am watching ESPN listening to numerous heartfelt, emotional, and sometimes humorous stories from different people all of whom Summitt touched during her 64 years on Earth. I view every day as a learning experience, today because of Pat Summitt and the lives she touched I am learning what it truly means to be a great coach.

The next time I watch a burnt orange women’s basketball go through a net, I will certainly think of Summitt. According to Oxford Dictionary, a summitt is the highest point of a mountain, I did not have the pleasure of meeting Summitt, but from what I know, and from what I have heard about her she certainly reached the top of life’s mountain!

Ms. Summitt, you used the platform you were given to help change lives on the hardwood and off, and for that I thank you and admire you. You changed not only the game of basketball, but you changed the world because of what you brought into it. That is what makes you a Hardwood Hero.

May you rest in eternal peace. #PatSummitt