Wednesday, August 24, 2011
This is a genuine question. I didn't grow up as an athletic person. My dad was a life-long athlete and sports fan, but basketball wasn't one of the sports he followed. So, nothing in my distant past brought me to this. This morning I found out the University of Tennessee coach Pat Summitt, a legendary coach, has been diagnosed with early onset dementia and it hit me just as it did when I found out that one of my favorite cousins has dementia.... which brought me to wonder how I got here.
The conclusion is pretty much inescapable. I became a fan not because I could see myself doing what they do. I don't have that skill set and I'm under 5'2". I became a fan because they're women and they're doing what THEY do well, to the best of their ability. You can't ask more than that of anyone can you? And while we all have the tendency to expect ridiculous things of ourselves, doing what we do to the best of our ability is what we SHOULD expect of ourselves every day, isn't it?
Pat Summitt is reacting to this news in characteristic fashion. She's not backing down. She's not quitting. She's simply acknowledging what she's dealing with and now she'll deal with it. And that's why I am a fan of women's basketball... which sort of all started with Pat Summitt more than a decade ago.
The last couple of years have been rough ones for me, so I need the message that its okay to put myself out there. That its okay to take the hits. That its okay to acknowledge that things are tough but then its time to get back out there. That a woman can be just that strong. That I'm not alone. That the game's not over until its over and that we need to show up for all of it.
This is the message that I get, not just from Pat Summitt, but from every woman who is a great competitor... and that's why I'm a fan.