Sunday, August 7, 2016

Book Review: OT - Sum It Up (women's college basketball coach), Part One

(I wrote this review three years ago for my college sorority. Since then, Pat Summit has succumbed to Alzheimers. I post this as a tribute to this well-known woman.)

Sum It Up: 1,098 Victories, a Couple of Irrelevant Losses, and a Life in Perspective, Pat Summitt with Sally Jenkins (Crown, 407 pages, 2013, $28)

Pat Summitt Remembers

Another Pat. Another Chi Omega. Another most accomplished woman.

Most Chi Omegas have read about Pat Schroeder (former US Representative from Colorado) and Pat Summitt (winningest women’s college basketball coach ever) but how many of us have actually read a book about them?

Three Titles (books) (and Eight More Titles [championships] . . . )

Pat Summitt has authored three books: her latest, Sum It Up, was so breathtaking that I rushed to the Internet to read more about her. I can’t wait to get her book about the 1996-7 team, Raise the Roof: The Inspiring Inside Story of the Tennessee Lady Vols’ Historic 1997-1998 Threepeat Season. Her third book is about her philosophy of coaching, playing and living, Reach for the Summit.

Sum It Up reads like a novel - a Cinderella story but also a life in perspective. Pat was brought up with three older brothers on a farm in Tennessee in a house without indoor plumbing or electricity and wound up winning an Olympic medal, 1098 University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers (Lady Vols) women’s basketball games over 38 years, 8 national championships, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a diamond bracelet, 2 Labrador Retrievers, and the love and respect of a slew of people.

Sum It Up is written in Pat’s voice chronologically with just the perfect number of anecdotes to infuse the book with humor and fascination and with several of these same stories told by those who were there.

The Eyes Have It - With The Icy Stare and Caring Heart

Pat’s eyes, her square jaw, her mouth open in a scowl-yell (reminiscent of the painting, The Scream, by Edvard Munch) from the sidelines during a game, always dressed nicely in a suit – this sums her up.

Some of the funniest stories appear in Sum It Up – from skiing non-incognito to recruiting the right players - hard work because Tennessee isn’t right for everyone and not everyone is right for Tennessee. Pat recruited one high-school senior, ordering her to run three miles a day over the summer. During the first practice of the season and the first three-mile run, this particular coed just couldn’t make it beyond the first mile. Furious, Pat asked why she hadn’t been training all summer to which the freshman replied that she did train. She did run three miles a day! One and a half miles in the morning, one and a half in the afternoon!

(more tomorrow)

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