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How to Win

Accepting Responsibility


“The price of greatness is responsibility.” — Winston Churchill


The next victory for Pat Summitt will be the 1000th of her career.
Summitt, coach of the University of Tennessee women’s basketball team, goes after the milestone Monday night at  Oklahoma.
Just trying to comprehend that many victories strains the imagination. Even winning 30 games a season for the next 30 years would leave a coach 100 victories short of Summitt’s total.
Fortunately for those who aspire to that kind of success, Summitt has offered a blueprint. It’s called “The Definite Dozen,” a list of principles that helps Summitt’s program win year after year.
My favorite Summitt story involves a Sweet Sixteen party — maybe even hers. But she never got to go, because a storm was coming in and Summitt had to help bring in the crop before it got ruined. At age 16, she wasn’t too happy about it, and it took a stern look from her father to make her stop showing her temper.
Today, Summitt can look back at the incident and see a moral that has helped guide her: You can’t choose the times when you’re going to be responsible.
That very idea of being responsible has found its way into a prominent place in her Definite Dozen.
And it’s the same way with you: Whether you’re a coach or an athlete, you can’t choose the times when you are going to be responsible. You can’t take a day off from the business of being the best.
Whether it’s the food you eat, the company you choose, or the way you practice, you can’t act like a champion some days and forget about it on others.
So the next time Summitt’s team wins, you’ll be watching someone who traded one Sweet Sixteen party for 1000 victories and a place in history.


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