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June 1st, 2010
11:13 AM ET

Letters to the President #498: 'Hockey... and hanging tough'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/si/2010/writers/brian_cazeneuve/06/01/flyers.hawks.game2/0531_niemibillsmith415.jpg caption="In a tough game, such as politics or hockey, being clever, shrewd, and dedicated to the hard work all matter; but being able to take a punch, and bounce back as if you were never hit, matters too. " width=300 height=169]

Reporter's Note: The failures to cap the Gulf oil spill continue to cast a pall on the White House’s handling of the matter; just as I continue to post a letter each day to President Obama, which no doubt casts a general pall on everything.

Dear Mr. President,

As you may suspect, I’ve grown a tad weary of asking if you are following the hockey playoffs, because it never seems as if you are. That’s your loss. The Blackhawks (Yes, that is Chicago’s team, in case you have not bothered to notice) are playing for the Stanley Cup against the Philadelphia Flyers. It is a magnificent duel so far, and you really ought to tune in if you have a spare moment, although I imagine between oil spills, international incidents like this business near Gaza, and whatever the Cap Hill crowd is cooking up at any given moment, that might be a stretch.

For the record, I’m pulling for the Hawks who are now up 2-0 in the series, because it’s been a very long time since they’ve been in this position and my Dad was from Chicago, so that was always his first choice.

Hockey is actually a great sport for you to be thinking about these days, considering the knocks you’ve been taking. Because hockey, in once sense, is largely about taking hard hits over and over and yet staying in the game; hanging out in front of the net no matter how many bruises you get or how many teeth you give; waiting for the puck to come by to slam it home.

That’s not an insignificant lesson especially, if I may say, for smart people. Often people who are pretty sharp (or worse…fancy themselves such) think they can simply outwit every problem; that their dazzling intellect will overcome everything from physics to human nature. But that is not always the case. That’s when sheer, raw, toughness must come into play.

In a tough game, such as politics or hockey, being clever, shrewd, and dedicated to the hard work all matter; but being able to take a punch, and bounce back as if you were never hit, matters too. And not to be snarky, but I think the jury is still out on that with your presidency. You’ve shown what you can do when everything is going your way. Now, engage these tough issues, put the mistakes of the past few weeks behind you, and show you can fight on even when you’ve been hammered. That will be good not only for your presidency, but also for the nation.

Call if you can. I’m traveling today, but on cell most of the time.

Regards,
Tom

Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

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