Game On: Pat Summitt on the Fight of Her Life
I remember being so possessed by the job that I coached in my sleep. I'd toss and kick until I woke myself up hollering, "Git down the floor!"
I remember standing on the sideline and stamping my high heels on the hardwood so furiously it sounded like gunshots, and whacking my hands on the scorer's table until I flattened the gold championship rings on my fingers.
I remember jabbing a finger into an official's face and backing him from midcourt to the baseline.
I remember my own certainty, lifted over the roar of 20,000 people and two rivalrous marching bands in a sold-out arena at the NCAA Final Four, as I told our players that though they trailed by 11 points with seven minutes to go, the game was ours. "We're not leaving here without a championship!" I shouted hoarsely. "So y'all just go on out there and get it!"
I remember the laughter that was always equal to the shouting, great geysers of it that went with victory Champagne. Peals of stress-relieving hilarity behind closed doors with assistant coaches who have been more close friends than colleagues, Mickie DeMoss, Holly Warlick, Nikki Caldwell.
I remember their constant teasing about my hair, and my clothes—the outrageous colors, hemlines, and shoulder pads. Once, Holly scanned my light blue suit up and down and said, "No damn Easter egg is going to tell me what to do!"
I remember a tiny saloon in the Tennessee hills where the bartender squirted bourbon shots into the customers' mouths. I remember later, when I was older, rambling across a vineyard in France with Mickie and Nikki, and deciding to open the Bordeaux we'd just bought, but not having any glasses. "Well, we'll just have to take it to the head," Nikki said. So we sipped the wine straight from the bottle.
I remember teaching a clinic to other coaches, and a guy raised his hand and asked if I had any advice when it came to coaching women. I leveled him with a death-ray stare, and said, "Go home and coach basketball."
I remember my wedding day back in Henrietta, Tennessee, to R.B. Summitt, a handsome, deep-chested young banker from Sevierville, Tennessee. My parents against their better judgment ordered a Champagne fountain for the reception, and the next morning my mother said softly, "Trisha, I think your guests got too full."
I remember the night my son was born. The doctor placed him on my chest and I said, "Hey, Tyler, I've been waitin' on you." He rolled directly toward the sound of my voice and locked eyes with me and R.B., who was by my shoulder. Holly and Mickie were in the delivery room, and Mickie blurted, "He's got kind of a cone head." And Holly said, "Mickie, don't say that!" and they started bickering, and it was true that he did have a little bit of a cone head, but he grew into a fine young baby, and a fine young man, and my greatest achievement.
Next: The moments I'm driving, and I have to ask, "Do I go left, or right?"