She Did It Her Way

Pat Summitt

For those who continue to feel that it’s sad and tragic that Pat Summitt has retired due to early-onset Alzheimer’s, I would like for you to stop feeling sad about it.  Rather, smile and appreciate what you were witnessed to:  a great career. 

Name another individual who started a program from the beginning and ended up being the winningest coach, man or woman, in NCAA Division I-A basketball history?  Name another individual who became an integral part to women sports, Title IX, and the success of women as athletes?   

For those of you who felt that she didn’t leave on her terms, I think you are wrong…to a point. 

She did leave on her own terms.  Bobby Bowden, the late Joe Paterno, and Eddie Robinson, to name a few, did not get to leave on their own terms.  Despite her health situation, she made the call on her own.  No one tapped her on the shoulder and escorted her out.  I can think of two other coaches who left on their terms and did it their way:  Dean Smith and Buzz Levick

Keep this in mind:  there is no such thing as a perfect way to leave or to end something

Never was…never will. 

It is unfortunate that we may see Alzheimer’s progressively take hold of Summitt, but like the fighter she is, it’s a new rival that she now has to game plan against.  Ask Geno Auriemma, Muffet McGraw, and Kim Mulkey how it feels when they have face the coach with those cold and steely “I’m goin’ to get you sucka'” eyes glaring at you on the other side of the scorer’s table. 

Today, be happy for Pat Summitt, not sad.  For 38 winters, she did what she love:  coaching young women and guiding them to greater success.  Be happy that she was successful.  She has and will continue to live a great life, in spite of early onset Alzheimer’s. 

More importantly, be happy for Pat Summitt…because Frank Sinatra was on to something… 

…she did it her way.


News “A.D.D.”

While everyone is captivated with the oil spill and Arizona, Nashville and Tennessee is virtually ignored by mainstream media and viewers.


In 2008, I wrote an email to a talk show host, asking him for his opinion on the national lack of interest of the floods of 2008 and the Parkersburg tornado.  Most of us here in Iowa didn’t quite understand why one natural disaster (Hurricane Katrina) got more publicity and attention than another.  I contended that both were of priority and attention with respects to lives lost, the severity of the disaster, and the help that was given.

Rev. Alan Rudnick of “On the Bema in Ballston” echoed the same sentiment regarding the Nashville floods.  His observations on why Nashville ended up taking a back seat to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico resonates to me.  It was the same answers that the talk show host gave me two years ago. Rev. Rudnick pointed out three primary reasons for Nashville not getting more attention than it should right now.

  • The oil spill and immigration took over the headlines. In 2008, the presidential race took over the headlines.
  • The public loves sensationalism. Media outlets like CNN, MSNBC, and Fox, to name a few, arrived in Parkersburg, Cedar Rapids, and other Iowa communities, looking for stories to sensationalize to a high degree.  Iowans are not known to ruminate about what we lost.  We were focusing on helping our fellow neighbors get back on their feet.  Secondly, we didn’t spend our time blaming others for what happened, or what could have been done.

Mother Nature doesn’t care about assigning blame either.  She enforces her wrath on anyone, anyplace, at any time.

  • We all have “news ADD”. News A(ttention) D(eficit) D(isorder) has become commonplace in our lexicon and way of life.  Something happens, we’re shocked, angry, want something done, feel empathy for who was affected, and then we move on when the shock is over.  It’s no longer “appealing” to us.

While Rudnick feels that more attention should be paid to Nashville, I feel that Nashville shouldn’t waste their time worrying about the lack of national attention.  It’s a major distraction to the efforts and the will of Tennesseeans to help each other in this time of great need.

We have a responsibility as fellow citizens to help those in need everyday.  With or without the cameras being around.