When a Superhero Has to be Human

August 23rd, 2011 at 3:26 pm by under Sports

It would be a monumental task to be a woman who covers college athletics and to not appreciate Pat Summit.

What she has done for women’s athletics, the women who cover athletics and college athletics as a whole is insurmountable. Women like her, like Texas’ Jody Conradt and Chris Plonsky, Texas Tech’s Marsha Sharp and North Carolina State’s Kay Yao also built foundations for not just their schools. They have changed the culture of college women’s sports.

I would be lying if I said they haven’t made my job easier. To be who they are, to be respected, to have to deal with being “the woman” in a previously man’s world, and most importantly, to assimilate a co-ed culture in the previously un-co-ed athletic world has helped us all. These women inspired our respect and our appreciation.

So what happens when the resident rock of women’s basketball, the dean, one of the most visible faces of women’s college athletics tells the world she isn’t made of steel?

Women’s basketball’s Superwoman, Pat Summit, has early onset dementia.

Sympathy, support and prayers came from all over the country today, from fans, colleagues and media. Sadness crossed my mind when I saw her statement and read the news.

You never want to hear someone you look up to, someone who you only caught a few glimpses of in person, but still understood her fight and her presence, isn’t at least almost perfect. But then I realized, that if Summitt, who can sit atop the list of most wins in college basketball history, who made college basketball fans all around the country either love her or hate her, and gave us a face when you think of women’s basketball, can do all of those things, then she can likely prove conventional thought wrong again.

Because Summitt may not be made of steel. She may be made of something more durable. And as she enters a battle that is far more complex than a game, she has the support of people across the country. Except this time we can all cheer on her, regardless of what team we may root for.

One Response to “When a Superhero Has to be Human”

  1. Basketball is best game in the world! :)