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You Can?t Honour Pat Summitt If You Don?t Respect Women?s Sports

pat summitt#How do you truly honor someone as great as Pat Summitt, the legendary women?s college basketball coach who died Tuesday morning at the age of 64 after a courageous battle with early onset Alzheimer?s disease? In the past few days, thousands have tried, mostly by sharing stories about their time with the long-time University of Tennessee coach.

These stories ? of her going into labor during a recruiting visit, helping a coach she?d never met before find her rental car in an enormous parking lot in the pouring rain, taking over a men?s basketball practice at Tennessee and forced them to run sprints because the guys were goofing off too much ? are all an undeniable part of her legacy.

Summitt was headstrong and resilient, demanding but compassionate, and embracing these characteristics are a wonderful way to honor her. But the best way to pay tribute to Summitt is by embracing her insistence that women?s sports ? and, by extension, women in sports ? are worthy of just as much respect and admiration as their male counterparts.

Juliet Macur of the New York Times wrote that when Summitt was offered a chance to coach men’s basketball, she responded, ?Why is that considered a step up??

That question right there is, in and of itself, a radical act. And it’s part of her legacy that is still very much a work in progress.


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