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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Pat Summitt...What she strived for we can not forget -- WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


"One of the things I learned about her from the times I had the chance to sit down and talk with her on the recruiting trail: if you're going to do something, do it right." JEFF WALZ

It was what Pat Summitt was all about.

Accomplishment and gain earned by effort.

From her early days working her father's fields in Cheatman County to her final years working to raise funding for the terrible disease that finally ended her life...Pat Summit had a sense of direction, of being and purpose and the dedication to achieve the best results. She could drive, motivate and send out a resounding call-to-action in her own unique style. Hard work and doing it the right way were the basic tenants. 

Although she is gone, the lessons must not be forgotten. Especially in the dreaded Alzheimer's disease. 

We all know someone who has been affected by the villainous robber Alzheimer's. It may be a friend, family member or acquaintance. It has hit my family and took the most precious gift of all...the ability to relate, interact and remember. Seeing my father go from a vibrant, strong man...clear of thought and purpose to a shell of himself...asking me if he was my son...wondering where he was and why...and then the dull, blank expressionless stare.

We must find a cure for this life-taker. It is such a cruel and unfair way to go. Alzheimer's takes one's dignity. It robs you of the very real things that are you...your memories, your personality. So many things left to say that won't get said. So many words that might be heard but not understood. It takes you away from you and yours. I cannot imagine much more horrible than that. 

Pat Summitt knew the battle ahead. She chose to fight it while she could...just as fiercely and bravely as her attempts to drive each Tennessee Lady Vols squad she coached to victory. She said about the battle with Alzheimer's:

"Competition got me off the farm and trained me to seek challenges and endure setbacks. In combination with my faith, it sustains me now in my fight with Alzheimer's disease." 

Striving. Knowing the odds, the battle ahead, the probable end result and still going out to fight the fight. 

We cannot forget that. 

It is easy to give up, to do less than your best. We tired, we become disillusioned, resigned to what will most likely happen and we surrender to it. It is hard to still carry the banner when all around you predict defeat. 

Still, you must try. If only for the reason that it might make a difference for someone else, to show that there is still hope, pride and courage. 

My father taught me many things...many of which I didn't fully understand until later in life...but one that still rings true is that you cannot quit. Accept defeat if it comes with humility and in a gracious manner, but learn from it and create an opportunity out of it to do better next time. 

Pat Summitt's fight is over but we can learn from it and continue to carry the banner. The banner of hope, hard work and finding a cure for this cruel killer. Jim Valvano encouraged us by imploring "don't give up". Pat Summitt embodied that as well in her actions.  

I'd like to think that if Pat could have sent a final message to us all, it might have been something like this. Don't give up. Don't quit. Continue to work hard. Somewhere...there is an answer, somewhere there is a cure. We must find it.

Good words to live by in a world where it is very easy sometimes to surrender. Let not the precious memories fade. Don't just participate, strive to win. Yes, we all lose at times. Learning from loss, though, is a victory in itself.

Help CARDINAL COUPLE in the fight against Alzheimer's. For us, for all, for those we love. LINK BELOW:



  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts Paulie.

  2. A very fitting tribute to Coach Pat, Paulie. I, too have suffered from having Alzheimer's strike a family member and have donated to the research for years. I agree, let's beat this dreaded disease.

    Blue Lou

  3. First time commentor, long time reader. As a former player for Paul Sanderford during the glory days of WKU Basketball, I recall our matchups against Pat ans the Vols. We packed over 6000 into Diddle Arena, an amazing number back in those days, when Pat brought the Vols to the Hill. I didn't play much in that game but do remember those steely blue eyes of hers. I remember grabbing a loose ball and getting bumped by a UT player and an foul being called. I heard her going crazy on the sidelines and those eyes looked like they could have burned holes through the referee that made the call. Although we lost, just the enormity of playing in a game like that is something I will never forget.

    As high school starts, we all had the dream of being recruited by Pat. I wasn't, but still had four good years at WKU and will always remember being on the same court as the legendary Pat Summitt.

    She grew women's college basketball. For that, I will be eternally grateful.

    Nice site, Paulie! Thank you for promoting the joy and excitement of women's college athletics. Don'y you tire in your quest to do this!


    1. Thank you for sharing, JB. I'm pretty sure I know who you are but we'll keep you anonymous and I'll discuss it with you next time I see you so we can confirm it.

      Pat was a legacy and is still an example of what hard work and not giving up can accomplish.


  4. Imprisoned in one's own rapidly shrinking brain is how a doctor described it to me. I wouldn't wish Dementia/Alzheimer's on my worst enemy. As the patient's brain slowly dies, they change physically and eventually forget who their loved ones are. Patients can eventually become bedridden, unable to move & unable to eat or drink. Some may not know what it's like to have a loved one who has led a battle against Dementia/Alzheimer's. God, this disease sucks.


  5. A Celebration of Life Service honoring the life of Pat Summitt will be open to the public and held on Thursday, July 14 at 7:00PM ET. This will take place in Thompson-Boling Arena on the University of Tennessee campus. The Celebration will be open to the public and no tickets will be required. More details will be provided at a later date.


    1. That place will be packed. They better move it to the football stadium.

  6. A beautiful and revealing tribute today to Pat Summitt. My mother suffered from Alzheimer's and I also realize the heartbreak of the disease. I agrre Paulie. We must find a cure.

    Greer, SC

  7. Very sad time for the Vols family. She impacted a lot of people. She made everybody around her feel good.


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