Tag Archives: Pat Summitt

Two legends leave the stage: R.I.P., Dick Clark, and farewell, Pat Summitt. And a “wet willy” in the NBA? Yep.

The annals of music history in the 1950s and ’60s are littered with tales of legends.

Elvis. The Beatles. The Beach Boys.
I think one man was as important, culturally, as all of them.
Dick Clark didn’t invent rock and roll music, and he didn’t invent dancing, and he didn’t invent teenagers having a good time.
But he sure as hell put them all together and started a phenomenon. Through the 1950s and 60s, then well into the 70s and 80s, Dick Clark and “American Bandstand” were permanently ensconced in American pop culture.
I grew up hearing stories from my grandparents about how my mom and Aunt would come home from school every day, throw their books down, and boogie in front of the TV to whatever music “Bandstand” was playing that day.

The show changed American culture, exposing millions to music they’d never heard before. He also put African-Americans and whites on TV together at a time when that just wasn’t done.

And Clark, who sadly died of a heart attack Wednesday at 82, was at the center of it all.
The man never seemed to age, seemed to appeal to every demographic, and was a bonafide star-maker. He was a terrific TV show host as well (“25,000 Pyramid” is my favorite game show ever), and New Year’s Eve was a showcase for him for so many years. It wasn’t midnight without him.

Clark lived a tremendous life, filled with a little scandal (he was touched by the payola scandal of the late 1950s) and even after his stroke robbed him of speech a few years back, he still came out on New Year’s Eve.
We needed to see him, and he clearly loved the audience. His passing is a tremendous loss to the world.
But man, what a life he lived.

**The other sad news Wednesday was a little more predictable, unfortunately. One of the greatest basketball coaches of all time, the legendary Pat Summitt of Tennessee, officially stepped down as head coach Wednesday. Summitt has been suffering from early-onset dementia for the past year, but still coached the Volunteer team this past season, leading them to the Elite 8.
But now, she is stepping down, and her longtime assistant, Holly Barlick, is taking over.

It’s truly the end of an era. Summitt was a pioneer in women’s basketball, and a brilliant coach who motivated her players (through fear and other means) and helped so many women reach their potential.

Christine Brennan, the fine USA Today sportswriter, has penned a great tribute to Summitt. Check it out here.

**Finally, while I wonder how my Rangers let another game slip away against Ottawa last night (the series is tied 2-2 and I’m officially worried), and laugh at the Penguins’ 10-3 win over the Flyers (apparently Ben Roethlisberger threw a late touchdown in that one; seriously, TEN goals, Philly lets up?), I was amused by this play that happened in the NBA the other night.

Delonte West gave opposing player Gordon Hayward (he was the dude from Butler who just missed beating Duke with a half-court shot in the national title game in 2010) a Wet Willy. That’s right, West licked his finger and put it in Hayward’s ear during a stoppage of play.

Seriously dude, a wet willy? What was the next idea, to give him a wedgie, followed by a purple nurple (those really hurt, you know).
This just cracks me up every time I watch it.

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Does Pat Sajak still enjoy his job? SI gets it right with Sportsmen of the Year. And a play I’ve never seen before

Don’t ask me why I think about these things. But I do.

So I’m doing my laundry at the laundromat Monday evening and I look up and the TV has “Wheel of Fortune” on. And I’m listening to Pat Sajak say “choose a letter” and “this time the category is ‘ and all that stuff, and I started thinking:
Pat Sajak has been the host of “Wheel of Fortune” for 30 years. THIRTY YEARS! He has asked tens of thousands of people if they want to buy a vowel. He has given scores of people the thrill of spinning a wheel and then guessing letters.

And I got to wondering: Do you think Sajak still likes his job? Wouldn’t you think it would be mind-numbingly boring and silly to him after all these years? (though Vanna is still quite fetching).

I know, you could say a job’s a job, and that electricians and insurance salesmen and roofers all get sick of their jobs, too and keep doing it.

But this man Sajak has been doing the exact same job, no the same show, for three decades.  Don’t you think he gets up in the morning sometimes and says to himself “Dear God, not another day of stupid contestants needing to spell out the entire puzzle before guessing it!?!”

I’m endlessly fascinated by what motivates people. And so tonight I’m curious as to if Pat Sajak still has any fun. I can’t believe that he does.

**Sports Illustrated absolutely got it right Monday, when it picked two legendary basketball coaches as Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year. I sometimes quibble with SI’s pick (it blows my mind that Federer has never won the award), and this year I was sure it would be the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers.

But nope, SI picked Mike Krzyzewski and Pat Summitt. She is by far the finest women’s coach of all time, and she’s had a horrible year, with a diagnosis of early Alzheimer’s disease. And K, well, of course as a Duke diehard I’m biased, but the man is at worst one of the top 3 coaches of all time in college basketball, with 900 wins and four national championships to his credit.

Both are class acts, never tainted by a whiff of scandal, who truly deserve the honor. Good job, SI. Though I’m still pissed you bypassed Federer all those years.

**This is insane. Northern Iowa was playing Wofford on Saturday in the college football I-AA playoffs, and with Northern Iowa up 21-14 in the 4th quarter, a Wofford returner did this on the kickoff. Never seen it before in my life. I’m thinking that poor kid will be seeing this play for the rest of his life.

An awesome baseball catch and a damn persistent moth. And terrible news about the great Pat Summitt.


Let’s start off Wednesday with a clip from a show I miss dearly, “The West Wing.” Just because…

**There doesn’t seem to be much drama left in the baseball season’s pennant races; the Yankees and Red Sox are both making the playoffs, and the other divisional races are pretty blah (except for the NL West).
But these two things caught my eye Tuesday. First, check out this incredible catch by Ben Revere (is it too much to ask for his parents to also have a son named Paul?) of the Twins.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

And then there was this. Matt Holliday of the St. Louis Cardinals had to leave a game Monday night when a moth flew into his ear and got stuck there. I wish I were making this up, but check out the bizarre details here.

**Finally today, spare a thought for maybe the greatest basketball coach who ever lived. Pat Summitt, the 59-year-old force of nature who has led the University of Tennessee women’s basketball team for the past 38 years, was recently diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease. It’s a horrible blow to one of the most indomitable people ever in sports (if you want a great picture of how driven Summitt is, read this fantastic Gary Smith Sports Illustrated profile of her from 1998), and a coach who has molded so many lives for the better.
Sportswriter Sally Jenkins calls Summitt her best friend, and it was to Jenkins who Summitt broke the news of her disease.

Here’s Jenkins’ beautiful story today in the Washington Post about her friend Pat Summitt. It’s tragic and wonderful, like the best writing often is.