Mark Wiedmer: 'Pat XO' is a wonderful love letter

Paul Efird/News Sentinel
Lady Vols head coach emeritus Pat Summitt chats with ‘Pat XO’ directors (and twin sisters) Nancy Stern Winters, right, and Lisa Lax before a screening of the film on June 26 at the Regal Cinemas Riviera Stadium 8 theater.

Photo by Paul Efird

Paul Efird/News Sentinel Lady Vols head coach emeritus Pat Summitt chats with ‘Pat XO’ directors (and twin sisters) Nancy Stern Winters, right, and Lisa Lax before a screening of the film on June 26 at the Regal Cinemas Riviera Stadium 8 theater.

Not even Pat Summitt can beat Alzheimer's. That's what you tell yourself, however much that reality hurts.

You watched the vacant stares throughout the 2011-12 women's college basketball season, her last as head coach of the Tennessee Lady Vols. You heard the sad stories of her forgetfulness, stories whispered with great regret, as if no one ever wanted to criticize publicly the greatest coach her sport has ever seen.

You watched and you winced and you cursed the unfairness that this could happen to such a superb coach and better person at the tender age of 59.

Then you positioned yourself in front of the television Tuesday night to watch the ESPN documentary "Pat XO." A love letter? Sure. And no one deserves it more.

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Comments » 8

SummittsCourt writes:

Pat Summitt is more than the Greatest basketball coach ever, she is one of the Greatest human beings ever.

As good as this documentary was, it fell far short of really telling her impact on people.

madrigal writes:

It was indeed a fine tribute. My only complaint is that there was very little on the recent years since the first "three-peat" team.

banners writes:

I think the impact was reflected in the context -- the ESPN series is about Title IX. Women and girls are to receive more equal attention and funding to male sports in schools and colleges. Coach Summitt started her career driving the bus and washing the uniforms. By sheer strength of character, Summitt brought women's basketball, arguably all female sports, so far so fast. In that way, she impacted every little girl or young woman who ever played sports or had an opportunity to. I saw that in the program.

She commanded respect through the work she did and nobody has ever done it better. The proof is in the putting -- including a 100 percent graduation rate, the most wins ever and the, was it 38? students of her basketball who are now coaching, impacting the future.

As for the Alzheimer's, I wouldn't count her out so quickly. Pat's a winner.

johnlg00 writes:

That was a fantastic piece on ESPN and a worthy tribute by Wiedmer. I looked in the closing credits for all the people filmed for the piece, many of whom didn't make the final cut. Suffice to say that the piece probably could have been three times as long as it was and been every bit as interesting to Pat's legions of fans. I'm sure the people who were shown had lots more to say! It is incalculable how many people Pat has positively affected in some way and there surely aren't many who could plausibly claim she hurt them in any way. Can't say that about a whole LOT of people!

huntined#565710 writes:

Just finished reading SUM IT UP yesterday and then watched PAT XO and enjoyed them both. I was at the 2008 championship game in Tampa but never had a thought that that may be her last one.

manoffewwords writes:

Great person, Great Coach in that order.

chsdrop writes:

Great Story. Got to meet her on a couple occasions when she was recruiting a young lady from my high school. I was taking up tickets for the game and went to turn in my gate receipts in the office. She treated me like I was the most important person in the room. Got a chance to talk with her a few more times during the process. Glad to say the young lady went to Tennessee and helped them win a National Title. A real class lady.

bobbyutvol writes:

Fantastic She is what Tennessee is all about Great Lady

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