Friday, November 9, 2007

The Summitt

Road Trip: University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Assignment: Interview Pat Head Summitt, star coach in the world of women's basketball

All seventeen of us who roadtripped to Knoxville walked into the Pratt training facility on UT's campus not really knowing what to expect. My heart was pounding; I thought it must be as loud as the basketballs that were bouncing all around me.

All of us huddled in our orange chairs in the corner, in awe of Pat Head Summitt. She commands a court of girls who know that on Rocky Top, academics come first and winning is expected at a level we can't even begin to understand. I sat in my chair with a continuous flow of people coming up to me, reminding me that Pat doesn't have time to speak with us, we only have ten minutes, questions have to be clear, concise....

And for a second I wasn't sure if I would burst into tears of laughter. I realized that at twenty, I could quite possibly be giving the biggest interview of my entire life. The list of questions I was staring at seemed trivial and completely unable to help me. Then she walked over.

After introducing myself and watching her return to the court, my mind goes blank. I know she came back and I know we talked. I know I asked her informed questions about Title IX and the success of her program. I know that I did everything I could to keep her talking and giving us as much of her time and knowledge as possible, asked questions hoping she would forget that she had a meeting in ten minutes -- we managed to get twenty-five minutes of on-camera interview time.

I wish I could talk more about the interview. Later that evening, I watched the interview and was completely amazed by my voice on the tape. I remembered Pat's responses, but was so engrossed in the whole experience that I couldn't remember any of the questions I had thrown at her.

I can't say how honored I am to have her respect our project enough to give us her time, and how honored I am that my class would choose me to conduct the interview. Having my classmates surrounding me and an incredibly talented shooter, Blake Brenneman, make the experience perfect and unforgettable. I thank the University of Tennessee, their Women's Athletics Department (especially Donna Thomas) and Pat Summitt for their time with us. The knowledge we gained and footage we captured bring our documentary to a whole new level in so many ways.

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