For Both Candidates, Life Lessons From High School Sports
By Scott Butterworth
In prime-time appearances tonight on "Monday Night Football," Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama both spoke to the lasting influence of a high school coach and how lessons absorbed on the practice field continue to inform them as men.
Obama spoke of a high school basketball coach of his, "cut from the Bobby Knight cloth," who put up with Obama's rebellious attitude until finally having his fill. "At some point, he said to me, 'This is not about you. It's about the team,' " Obama told interviewer Chris Berman. "And it took me a while, I think, to really understand that. But that's how I've approached the work that I've done in politics ever since."
McCain recalled his junior varsity football coach, Bill Ravenel, who "taught me lessons about life. He took a very, very immature young man and gave me a glimpse of life and love and literature." McCain also said that Ravenel taught him, "You've always got to do the honorable thing, even when nobody's looking, because maybe nobody will know, but you'll know."
Berman also asked the two men, who were interviewed separately, what one thing they would change in sports.
McCain pointed to preventing "the spread and use of performance-enhancing substances," a battle that he said "we're going to be in for a long time."
Obama called for "playoffs in college football. I'm fed up with these computer rankings and this and that and the other. Get eight teams - the top eight teams right at the end. You got a playoff. Decide on a national champion."
Posted at 10:39 PM ET on Nov 3, 2008
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