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Excerpts from “Sum It Up,” by Pat Summitt

I’ve been reading Pat Summitt’s autobiography “Sum It Up” slowly, in bits every day while I’m on the stair climber at the gym. This is due to my lack of time recently, but I think I like it this way, because it allows me to savor the book.

Often I find myself laughing, causing some people to wonder what I’m reading. It’s because Pat Summitt is pretty darn funny – something that may not seem obvious on the surface.

I wanted to share a few of my favorite funnies with knowledgeable basketball people. If you don’t end up buying the book, you’ll at least have these great stories.

From chapter nine, where Summitt is chronicling a game during the challenging 1996-1997 season:

Farther down the bench our injured point guard Kellie Jolly, sitting with a damaged knee, looked surprised; she’d never heard me uncertain before. Mickie and Holly offered a couple of suggestions, but we all knew the answer wasn’t on an clipboard. I shrugged as if to say, “I don’t know who’s coaching this team.” I wandered down to Tyler’s seat on the end of the bench. He just looked up at me with his six-year-old wise man’s eyes and held out his hands.

“I’m doing everything I can,” he said.

Further along, discussing the “dream team” of 1997-1998, which went 39-0:

Ace might have required soothing talks about her love life, but on the practice court, she dove for every loose ball until she had floor burns, and she absorbed my demands with an unblinking, steady resilience.

Me to Ace: “What have you learned?”

“That I’m soft.”

“Prove me wrong.”

“I will.”

By the time of the NCAA Tournament, we were the overwhelming favorite, flatly the most deserving team in America, and I’d never desired a title so badly for a group. But we were so young I didn’t know how they would react to the pressure. I was willing to go to any length to prepare them, use any manipulation to get their minds right.

“I want this for the kids,” I said to Mickie and Holly. “I’ll do anything to help them get it. I’ll say anything. I’ll get a technical. I’ll strip.”

The part about Michelle Snow on page 301 is deep and interesting.

I’d never come across such conflicting strengths and weaknesses……..”Snow!” I’d yell, and her head would swivel toward me like a baby dinosaur, looking for a leaf to chew. “I think you need to major in psychology,” I said. “Because I can’t figure you out. Maybe you can figure yourself out.” She took me up on it and got her degree in psychology.

“I told her, I said, ‘psychology taught me a lot about you.'” – Michelle Snow

I’m almost done. It won’t be as bad as “Raise the Roof,” where not only the players but myself were devastated at the end when it was over. But it’ll be close.

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