For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 5, 2001
Remarks by the President During Photo Opportunity with University of Oklahoma Football and Softball Teams
The East Room
3:45 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Sit down. (Laughter.) It's an honor to be here. This is the first championship teams that I've had a chance to honor since I've been the President. And it's a big deal for a boy from Texas to welcome the folks from Oklahoma here. (Laughter.) I was going to say "my fellow Texans."
I am so proud of you all; thank you for coming. Senator, thank you for being here. Congressman, I appreciate you being here. President Boren, you had quite a year. You had quite a year.
First, let me say to the unsinkable bunch of upstarts, the ladies softball team: congratulations. Coach Patricia Gasso did a fabulous job, and I'm honored that you all have come. I am fully aware of the dominance of California teams in ladies softball. And you proved that those of us who live in the middle part of the country can win, as well.
And to the football team. Congratulations, coach, I know you're proud of these people. We share a lot in common -- we both started our respective campaigns as underdogs. (Laughter.) We both won our championships in the state of Florida. (Laughter and applause.) There's a big difference though: it took you all 60 minutes -- (laughter) -- it took me 36 days. (Laughter.)
But it's my honor to welcome you all here. I like to remind those who are champions on the field that it's important to be a champion off the field, too; that there are a lot of young men and women who look at you all as champs. And that adds an added burden, an added sense of responsibility. That if part of our role as role models is to set the -- to explain the difference between right and wrong to people looking at us, then we've go to live that way.
Being the champ, the national champ, is an awesome responsibility. It means not only do you get to carry a trophy, it means you have the burden of setting the example, of saying to young kids, somebody cares about you enough so that we'll help you make the right choices in life, so they get to be a champion -- not only on the football fields or on the softball diamonds, but in life; in life. And so, I am so honored you're here. I really appreciate you coming.
I'm proud of your victory. It's a big deal to be the national champs. But it's also going to be a big deal to set the right example for some young lady or some young man who wonders whether or not life's worth it all; as you've proven it is. You've proven that if you set a goal and work hard, you can achieve it. And so congratulations to the great University of Oklahoma teams. I'm proud to welcome you, I'm proud you're here in the people's house. It is an honor to be your President; more than you can possibly imagine. And it's an honor to welcome you here.
God bless. (Applause.)
(Gifts are presented.) (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you all for coming. I look forward to shaking everybody's hand. And I guess it's time to get a few pictures.
But, again, I want to welcome you all here. This is a majestic place, as you can see. It is a magnificent home, and it's the people's house. That's what we like to call it. We're just temporary residents. But it's an honor to have you all here. I hope you get a good tour and realize this country is a fantastic place. It's based upon the greatest principle of all, we're all free, and we're all equal under the eyes of God.
God bless. (Applause.)
END 3:55 P.M. EST