A Lesson on Mentorship with Coach Pat Summitt:

This past week, the world lost a coaching icon. Pat Summitt, one of the game’s all time greatest coaches, was so much more than just a coach. She was a leader, teacher, friend, and mentor.

Coach Summitt’s 38 year Hall of Fame Coaching career led to 1,098 wins and 8 national championships.

There have been so many incredible stories written on Coach Summitt over the last few days. My favorite article was written in the Washington Post by Sally Jenkins. In her column, Jenkins shared a letter from 1982, written by Coach Summitt, to one of her players at the University of Tennessee.

The recipient of the letter, Shelia Collins, was a young freshman who was getting ready to start her first collegiate game. Collins has held onto this letter for the last 34 years, re-reading during stressful times.

For this week’s Maximize Blog, I would like to share the letter written by Coach Summitt to her soon to be freshman starter, Shelia.

Shelia, this is your first game. I hope you win for your sake, not mine. Because winning’s nice. It’s a good feeling. Like the whole world is yours. But it passes, this feeling. And what lasts is what you’ve learned. And what you’ve learned about is — life. That’s what sport is all about — life!

The whole thing is played out in an afternoon. The happiness of life, the miseries, the joys, the heartbreaks. There’s no telling what will turn up. There’s no telling how you’ll do. You might be a hero. Or you might be absolutely nothing.

There’s just no telling. Too much depends on chance, on how the ball bounces.

I’m not talking about the game. I’m talking about life. But it’s life that the game is all about. Just as I said, every game is life, and life is a game. A serious one. Dead serious. But here’s what you do with serious things. You do your best. You take what comes.

You take what comes and you run with it.

Winning is fun . . . Sure.

But winning is not the point.

Wanting to win is the point.

Not giving up is the point.

Never letting up is the point.

Never being satisfied with what you’ve done is the point.

The game is never over. No matter what the scoreboard reads, or what the referee says, it doesn’t end when you come off the court.

The secret of the game is in doing your best. To persist and endure, “to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

I’m proud to be your Coach,

Pat Head Summitt

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