The Daring Dozen – Pat Summitt
In early September of this year, we received a call from Caitlin Peters at AARP Magazine to be part of the 2012 Inspire Awards, a year-end collection of inspiring people who have changed the world. Over the course of six weeks this assignment took us from Texas to Arizona, Washington DC, New York City, Chicago, Wisconsin, Miami, Tennessee, and Vancouver. Aside from making photos of the award winners, we were lucky enough to experience their greatness and learn what they had to share with us. Over the next few weeks on the blog we’ll be sharing photos and stories from this adventure.
With thirty six years of winning seasons, over 1000 total wins, and 8 NCAA championship titles, Pat Summitt is one of the most accomplished basketball coaches in History. Despite a diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s this year, Summitt perseveres, committed to stay on as coach of the Tennessee Lady Vols for as long as she can. Her abilities as a coach and courage in the face of adversity are amazing. Keep reading for more of our story with the legendary Pat Summitt.
We arrived early and setup before practice even began, and were lucky enough to watch the entire practice session for the Tennessee Lady Vols. Seeing the team in action and watching Summit oversee the players really explains why she’s never had a losing season.
Winning over 1,000 games and a handful of NCAA championships, we knew we were in the presence of greatness.
The only hiccup we ran into with shooting coach Summitt was that practice ran late. Our shoot in Knoxville was part of a really crazy week of travel – one that had us pushing our departure flight from Knoxville extremely close to the wrap for our shoot. As practice went on, we started to worry just slightly that our window between wrapping the shoot and making our flight was dwindling.
As the team moved off the court, we moved our lights on and Chris fired a few test shots. Our cushion of time to make the plane kept growing thinner and thinner. Ultimately though, we were here to photograph the legendary coach, and if that meant missing our flight to get the shot, so be it.
Coach Summitt made her back onto the court and the shoot was on. After working through our two sets, Chris had what he needed and we began what will probably stick with me as the quickest striking of a set in history. We knew it was cutting extremely close but we hustled as fast as we could to pack up and get to the airport…
In the end, it all worked out. Luckily we managed (after some very crafty driving on Chris’s part) to make it to the airport and breeze through security for a celebratory (and well deserved) wrap-up beer.