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A roundup of news on sporting events, people and places in Southeast Michigan by columnist Jim Evans.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pat Summitt deserves our admiration

My mother-in-law has hardly acknowledged me over the last couple of years at least.
Not that I deserve to be lauded. I’m a pretty ordinary guy whose time on the pedestal has been limited. I have been a pretty good husband to her daughter, but my name is not Trump and we hardly live in a mansion.
My mother-in-law has Alzheimer’s. She is an artist. She used to paint voraciously and was very good at it. Her artwork adorns our home and many others. She played golf several times a week and loved it. She hosted family functions and made some of the most spectacular meals this side of Julie Childs.
Now, she resides in an assisted living center. She mostly sits quietly. She goes to church with us on Sundays. My wife, Kim, visits her during the week.
But I’ll ask her a question and mostly there is no response.
Once again, I don’t deserve a soliloquy. It would be nice to get a response occasionally, though.
I wonder how the University of Tennessee women’s basketball team will respond to Pat Summitt once the season gets underway?
If she neglects to call a timeout at a key moment, will the whispers start? If the legendary coach gazes away from the court momentarily, will she be scrutinized more closely?
Summitt announced that she has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type.
Summitt went to the Mayo Clinic in May. She underwent a series of tests and received the stunning diagnosis.
The 59-year-old Summitt, who has 1,071 career victories and has led the Volunteers to eight national championships, is determined to continue coaching and is planning for her 38th season. She has the support of the University administration.
She’s also feeling confident enough to go public with her condition.
I admire her courage and pray the condition progresses slowly, or better yet, not at all. Pat Summitt deserves our admiration. But I can’t help but feel sorry for her, too.
Good luck, coach. Go win another national championship.
For you. For the team. For the university. For all of us who admire your courage.


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