Former President Barack Obama had a short-lived career as an elementary school basketball coach.
In his new memoir, “A Promised Land,” (out today), Obama, 59, recalled teaming up with his former aide, Reggie Love, to lead practices for his daughter Sasha’s fourth grade league.
“Given all the time I’d missed with the girls over years of campaigning and legislative sessions, I cherished the normal ‘dad stuff that much more,’” Obama wrote in an excerpt from the book published by The Sunday Times. “But, of course, nothing about our lives was completely normal any longer.”
Obama and Love were just getting the hang of things when parents of kids on opposing teams started complaining. They felt that the Vipers had an unfair advantage.
“We explained that there was nothing special about our practices — that it was just an excuse for me to spend extra time with Sasha….,” Obama wrote. “But when it became clear that the complaints had nothing to do with basketball (‘They must think being coached by you is something they can put on a Harvard application,’ Reggie scoffed) and that the Vipers coaches were feeling squeezed, I decided it would be simpler for all concerned if I went back to just being a fan.”
Though Obama called the incident “exasperating,” he isn't bitter. As the dad to 19-year-old Sasha, and 22-year-old Malia, notes in his book, “there was no denying that our status as the First Family conferred plenty of benefits.”
Obama and Love were also able to help lead Sasha and the Vipers to victory during their short stint as coaches.
“When the Vipers won the league championships in an 18-16 nail-biter, Reggie and I celebrated like it was the NCAA finals,” Obama revealed. “Every parent savors such moments, I supposed, when the world slows down, your strivings get pushed to the back of your mind, and all that matters is that you are present, fully, to witness the miracle of your child growing up.”
Malia was 10 when her father was first elected to the White House. She is now a senior at Harvard. Sasha, who was 7, is now a sophomore at the University of Michigan.