The national champion Florida Gator Football team visited the White House today. They were invited late last week and actually showed up for this American tradition.
That tradition being if you win a national championship of any sort you get invited to White House to visit with the President. I have never found a team collegiate or professional that was not excited about this luxury. This luxury that comes along with being a champion and this year was no different. The Gators were excited to meet the president.
A 115 players, coaches, and trainers traveled with Urban Meyer anticipated ocassion. The Gators got their official congratulations from our president, Barack Obama.
Obama said, "“I want to congratulate everybody who makes this program run—from the assistants to the trainers, from the students to the ticket takers,” he said. “All of you should be very, very proud.”
He congratulated the team for two national championships in three years. That means players like Tim Tebow, Brandon Spikes, Brandon James, Jonathan Phillips, and host of other Juniors and Seniors got to me two different Presidents. That in itself is big deal.
The President applauded the Gators for their work ethic on and off the field and stated, "it showed strong leadership that the team played hard together and works in their communities."
He pointed that being a champion entails other qualities and made note that the Florida Gators had over 400 hours of community service collectively. He said of Tebow that, "the quarterback's leadership is what you want to see from all our young people—taking responsibility, challenging yourself and others, and rising to the moment."
Obama called Tim Tebow, the Gators’ quarterback, an inspiration for many people. Tebow is a Heisman Trophy winner who speaks openly about his Christian faith.
“He puts faith, family and academics above football. And that’s incredible when you think about what he’s done on the field,” Obama said.
President Obama did address his original statement that he supports a playoff system in college football. He also gave a political response in saying, "he's confident the Gators could've defeated any team out there."
It's was surprising to see Cornelius Ingram, Jason Watkins, Phil Trautwein, and Louis Murphy also in attendance. Even with the NFL Draft looming this weekend it looks like they thought it was important to be with their former teammates. There was no Percy Harvin sighting.
The President was also presented with a Gator jersey with his name on it and a commemorative national championship football with the score of the game and his name engraved on it. The Gators defeated the Oklahoma Sooners on Jan 8 in the Orange Bowl with a score of 24-14.
The President proceeded to throw the ball to one of his White House staffers Reggie Love who played basketball for Coach K at Duke University.
President Obama did make a point of shaking the hand of Tim Tebow. Mr. President meet Superman. He is our hero in Florida.