Accomplishment has a way of running the full gamut of emtions.
It’s often the celebration that completes a personal battle.
Sometimes that celebration is joyous. Other times, it’s rather melancholy.
It ends a long, breathtaking wait to exhale, followed by a deep breath in anticipation of a new chapter that lies ahead. That comes with trading an acquired habit for something unknown.
And with every moment of accomplishment comes the moment of realization.
You can see it in the eyes.
It’s a glazed look — complete with a half-smile and distant stare — that comes with trying to remember everything you learned while anticipating how it’s all going to serve you in an uncharted future.
I saw that look twice on Thursday.
The first came when Hagerstown Community College point guard Tione Womack signed his letter of intent to play and continue his education at the University of Houston. The other came shortly after during a televised press conference where Pat Summitt ended her 38-year run as Tennessee’s women’s basketball coach.
The two cases were rather unrelated. One was a local athlete; the other involved a national figure.
One was male, the other was female.
One was just starting out; the other was reaching the end of a long journey.
Both still have so much left to do.
One was joyous; the other was melancholy.
Both were linked by three facts, including one of personal interest to me.
Each decision involved basketball. Each experienced “the look.” And finally, for me, I had the opportunity to interview each, both early in their careers.
For Womack, it’s been a wild ride that turned out far better than what could have been.
The Hawks’ guard lost valuable playing time because he didn’t embrace his study time. Failing academics forced him to the sidelines.
“Last year, when they told me I couldn’t play ball for the rest of the season, that turned my life around,” Womack said. “It was a matter of maturing and realizing that you can’t take any days off.”
Parasiliti: Womack, Summitt have 'look' about them
Bob Parasiliti (Joe Crocetta / April 15, 2012)