Lessons for Obama from the rookie hero of the Washington Redskins
In a sports world dimmed by fallen heroes such as Tiger Woods, Joe Paterno and Lance Armstrong, RGIII offers values on and off the field that make us feel it’s okay to believe again.
The Bears fan in the White House has talked about inviting RGIII (who got his degree in political science) over for a basketball game, as long as they are on the same team. The president should take the opportunity to absorb some leadership lessons from the new wunderkind.
While Obama has developed an unnerving and enervating pattern of going into a pre-win slump – as in New Hampshire and Texas in the 2008 primaries or the first debate with Mitt Romney – RGIII never allows his batteries to run down while he’s playing. His parents were army sergeants – he was born in Okinawa, Japan, and his father served in Iraq – who imbued their son with the ethos of hard work and discipline. The only time Griffin drooped was when he got a concussion in the game against Atlanta.
While Obama prefers to preen as the man alone in the arena – keeping other pols at a distance on stage, parsimoniously handing out thanks and failing to mention his party or top surrogate Bill Clinton in his last victory speech – RGIII never passes up a chance to share credit.
While Obama – who has had a failure to communicate – finds media a bother, Griffin has an easy charm with the press. While Obama gets tangled up in his head – trying to decide if he’s too noble to play politics or if spending some evenings schmoozing with pols will leave him too depleted — RGIII keeps the joy, intensity and bonhomie in his game.
As a Democratic senator recently told me: “If only the president would have us over to the White House sometimes and talk to us, it could really help. When Bill Clinton called and asked if he could have my vote, I was more prone to do it because we had developed a rapport.”
Let’s hope that as Barry watches Robert, he’ll learn that stunning opponents with big plays, and then building on that excitement, can energise his team-mates, scare his opponents and lead to big wins.