Tennessee Orange Is the New Black

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BY RACHELLE SORENSEN-COX

The wide world of sports just got a little smaller. Tennessee Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt lost her battle with dementia and we lost one of the >>best basketball coaches of all time. But Pat was more than a basketball coach; she was a pioneer, advocate, leader, and life coach. You didn’t have to be a player on her bench to benefit from her hallmark coaching techniques and leadership skills.

By watching Pat Summitt with her Lady Vols, you witnessed not only a great ballgame,  you learned about feminism, hard work, equality, character and commitment. She modeled tenacity, teamwork, and “take your kid to work day.”

Those of us who have heard her speak left the event wanting to be a better person and feeling confident that we could.

Here are a few of my favorite Pat Summitt quotes and guidelines for success:

  • Treat your successes as you do your losses. Do not over celebrate or over mourn. She gave her players only 24 hours to recover from a loss or enjoy a win and then she insisted that they move on.
  • It is harder to stay on top than to make the climb to the top. Keep moving forward. She kept beating records, usually her own, because she never settled.
  • It is what it is, but it will be what you make it. Summitt was a firm believer in the power of positive thinking. She regularly reminded her players that thoughts control actions and actions contribute to the outcome. Be careful what you think, you just might believe it.
  • Take responsibility. Own your power, own your mistakes, own your life.

Pat was a walking, talking, and yelling example that living by these principles can lead to some wins, some loses, and whole lot of great lessons. Remember the old Gatorade commercials starting Michael Jordan, “Be like Mike”? Well, I think the world would be a better place if we all tried a little harder to be like Pat.




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