You can have a million seeds in your pocket, but they won't ever grow if thats where you keep them.
For fruit to develop, a seed must be planted.
Pat Summitt knew this well. She knew the power of a planted seed.
She lived with the daily conviction that she had seeds in her pocket and every person in her path was fertile ground.
She wasn't focused on the harvest. She was focused on the planting. And she knew if she was faithful in planting, the fruit would come.
As a basketball coach the fruit was seen in championships rings, awards given and more wins than any other coach could claim.
As a person the fruit is now seen in endless stories of lives forever impacted by simple acts of deliberate kindness and love from an intentional woman on a mission.
While its easy to count the trophy's she won, its impossible to count the people she touched. The fruit of her life is immeasurable.
She lived different than most live. She lived with a mission to make every person she came in contact with better. A mission to add value to everyone she met. A mission to bring out the greatness in every soul she saw.
If you were in her path, you were fertile ground for one of her seeds.
I know, because I found myself on her path. And the seeds she planted in me have forever impacted my life.
I lived in one of Coach Summitts apartments behind her home for a little over a year.
I was 25 years old and had just accepted the Assistant Soccer Coach position at my alma mater, the University of Tennessee. Coach Summitt was my boss’s great friend and mentor. Because of that association, she knew I was moving to Knoxville to begin work and needed a place to stay.
So she did what she does ... she saw a need and she met it. She generously offered what she had ... An empty apartment behind her home. It was perfect. And it was Coach Summitt. And I was in awe ... and so so grateful.
But she didn't just offer me an apartment and leave it at that. She could have. It's what most people would have done ya know. Most people would have stopped at just offering someone their apartment to live in.
But she didn't. Because she's not most people.
She did what she does ... she went a step beyond what most people do. She made me feel like family.
I don't know how many times she invited me to her house to eat. Or to swim in her pool. Or to make sure it was clear if I needed something to let her know.
Or how many times she poked her head in my office to let me know she had some leftovers at her house put aside for me for dinner that night.
Wait, wait, wait ... Pat Summitt ... THE Pat Summitt, actually would have leftovers, and think to set them aside for ME to eat for dinner the next night?!?! I mean, really ...
She had leftovers and literally thought about me ... she thought to put leftovers aside for me.
I can't even grasp that really.
I think about it now and my eyes well up with tears. She was just truly so genuinely kind. And thoughtful. And generous.
She would call me by name. Look me in the eyes. Talk to me. Include me. Ask me what I thought.
And I was just a 25yr old assistant soccer coach. Who had no wisdom to offer. No credentials to my name. No money to give. There was nothing I could do for her. Nothing I could give her ... I had nothing. There was no reason for her to even give me the time of day.
But she did. Over and over and over again.
Because Pat Summitt didn't value people based on what they did or could do for her. She valued people because she believed in the value of all people.
It wasn't about who you were, or your title, or her title ... it was just who she was. She treated everyone the same. She treated everyone with honor. And respect. And love. It's just who she was.
Pat Summitt lived with a conviction that she had something to give, and it was her responsibility to give it. She wasn't going to end her day with a single seed left in her pocket. She planted every single one.
We talk about legacy and hear stories of Pat and feel inspired to live bigger. Which is good and what she would want. But its important to remember her example ... legacy isn't about what you do, its about who you are. It isn't about being someone well known and important. Legacy is about making others feel known and important. It's not in the recognition, it's in the recognizing. It's not in the big, it's in the small.
To leave a legacy is to leave a piece of yourself in everyone you come in contact with. To leave a legacy is to be intentional in planting the seeds you've been given.
Because the trophy's will fade, and the records will be broken, and the rings will rust ... but what you leave in people can never die. It just grows and multiplies.
What is clearly evident in Coach Summitt's death, is the power of her life.
Pat Summitt left this earth without a single seed remaining in her pocket. She gave it all. She lived with purpose and passion. Humble, generous and selfless in every way. And with her life, she planted a garden that will never die.