I remember writing a piece last summer about Lisa Thomaidis being the lone female coach at the FIBA Americas championship in Edmonton and how it spoke to logic and talent and ability ahead of anything else.
And while chatting with someone about that story, it might have been Lisa, it could have been Allison McNeill, it might have been Bev Smith, this line came up when we were discussing the role model nature of Lisa’s astounding success and her place in the hierarchy of the very best basketball coaches around.
“You can’t be what you can’t see”
That’s pretty good, terrifically astute and something I’ve never forgotten.
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Summitt’s record is beyond description, really. Her teams at Tennessee won 1,098 games and lost 208, the Lady Vols won eight NCAA championships and she was generally regarded as the best women’s coach by a country mile.
You’ll read and hear all day about how she set the standard for female coaches, advanced the cause more than anyone on earth, she was the first and I am sure a handful of Canadian coaches I know personally will feel that the trailblazing nature of her career had an impact on them pursuing their coaching dreams and careers.
“You can’t be what you can’t see.”
I am certainly not close enough to women’s basketball at the NCAA or professional level to know where the game is headed vis a vis female coaches but I am cognizant enough about history to realize what Summitt was and what she meant to the game, the profession. To history.
I was in her presence once – it was at a reception somewhere and I honestly don’t recall where or what the circumstances were – and when she walked into the room, it alternately stopped and lit up, if you know what I mean.
What Summitt did for women’s basketball and for women who wanted to coach basketball was basically indescribable. Since news broke on the weekend that she had taken a turn for the worse and that the tragic end was nearing, I went in search of stories and profiles to refresh myself, the best of which is this brilliant Gary Smith piece from Sports Illustrated.
Gotta be this, right?
Asking for hundreds of friends.
And England’s had better weeks, hasn’t it?
Talking to Jay electronically earlier today, he’s quite happy to have Cory Joseph and Joel Anthony joining the team in Italy today for a final exhibition game against Puerto Rico tomorrow before they head to Philippines on Thursday and quite excited that Thompson will meet them there.
For Thompson, I think he should be lauded for making the trip. Yeah, it was a long hard season with Cleveland and I’m sure some people would have given him a pass if he extended his post-season vacation a few more weeks.
But I have the utmost respect for athletes who feel compelled to help their country if they can – unlike Andrew Wiggins and Nik Stauskas who bailed and let the program down facing long odds after failing last summer – and Thompson showed me something with this decision.
Found it a bit refreshing, I presumed it would resonate a bit with younger viewers and perhaps draw them in but, man, was that line of thinking off-base.
And I have no clue what’s going to happen to the show now – nor do I really care an awful lot – but admitting failure so early into what was supposed to be a bold new era is sure going to make it hard to institute any major change in the future, isn’t it?