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Pat Summitt was only 21 when she became head coach of the Tennessee Vols women's basketball team. For 38 years, she has broken records, winning more games than any NCAA team in basketball history. She has coached an undefeated season, co-captained the first women's Olympic team, was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, and has been named Sports Illustrated "Sportswoman of the Year".
She owes her coaching success to her personal struggles and triumphs. She learned to be tough from her strict, demanding father. Motherhood taught her to balance that rigidity with communication and kindness. She is a role model for the many women she's coached; 74 of her players have become coaches.
Pat's life took a shocking turn in 2011, when she was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease, an irreversible brain condition that affects 5 million Americans. Despite her devastating diagnosis, she led the Vols to win their 16th SEC championship in March 2012. Pat continues to be a fighter, facing this new challenge the way she's faced every other - with hard work, perseverance, and a sense of humor.
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By Allen on 03-13-13
The Incredible Story of an Incredible Individual
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
This is an easy recommendation to anyone that wants to be inspired. Pat Head Summitt rose from essentially nothing to be one of, if not THE, best at her chosen profession. She has shaped thousands of people both directly and indirectly and this book offers a great level of insight into what made her who she is.
What was one of the most memorable moments of Sum It Up?
There are too many to mention. The construction of the book, forgoing stats and records in favor of anecdotes and descriptions of the people that were behind the wins and losses, lends itself to the audiobook format. The interspersed recollections of the people around Summitt add perspective and help ground the stories and create a flowing narrative that leads you through an amazing life and career.
What does Sally Jenkins bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
This book was constructed by Jenkins, based upon conversations and interviews with Summitt. Having Jenkins read to you is almost like sitting in on those conversations. Because of her closeness to Summitt she is able to add a level of empathy and compassion that might not come through in the straight written word.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
Summitt's love for her players and her son, for her entire University of Tennessee family, flows through the narrative and is inescapable. Descriptions of motivational speeches to players and the passion with which she communicates her beliefs had me ready to run through a wall for her.
Any additional comments?
The story of Pat Summitt transcends basketball or the university to which she gave so much of her life. It is a story of conviction and dedication to excellence. This is an excellent look into the life and times of a complex, fallible, fascinating individual and those that she influenced. This memoir deserves a listen.
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