US President Barack Obama (R) talks to American former professional baseball shortstop Derek Jeter (L) during a Major League baseball exhibition game at the Latinoamericano stadium in Havana on March 22, 2016. Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro sat side-by-side Tuesday for a symbolism-laden game of baseball between Cuba's national side and the Major League's Tampa Bay Rays. AFP PHOTO /YAMIL LAGE / AFP / YAMIL LAGE (Photo credit should read YAMIL LAGE/AFP/Getty Images)
In an epic meeting of the minds at the White House, President Barack Obama sat down with The Captain, Derek Jeter. What did the leader of the free world and arguably the most famous Yankee of all time discuss?
On the Player’s Tribune, Jeter wrote: “This isn’t an interview, and it’s not about politics. I simply wanted to share our perspectives on a few things that are meaningful to both of us.”: Childhood heroes, sources of strength, advice for a younger self, and, most poignantly, walking away.
Jeter, who retired from baseball in 2014, draws a parallel with President Obama, who is set to ‘retire’ from the presidency later this year. On walking away, Jeter said: “People always ask me: Is it strange after you retire? Is it a tough adjustment period? For me, it wasn’t. I slept. I slept. I don’t think I got up. I slept the whole next day. That’s a very simple answer for me. I was ready to retire. I felt as thought I put everything into my career and got the most out of it. And I was excited about new things to come.”
Obama, with a laugh, replied: “You’re pitching and I’m catching.” As far as his plans after ‘retirement’? POTUS stated: “That is my intention as well. I want to catch up on some sleep. Derek, you are somebody that has now has some experience in hanging up the cleats. I’m about to retire, not quite as young as you, but still relatively young.”
As far as childhood heroes? While Jeter cited his dad, Obama mentioned Dr. King, Julius Erving, Shaft (with a laugh), and Walt Frazier.
The conversation then shifted to the subject of strength. As role models, Obama and Jeter are passionate about helping others. Obama said: “I want to make sure we are reaching out to those young people and saying ‘you can be a leader’, and even the kids that most kids that most consistently get in trouble can really turn their lives around.” Jeter, mentioning My Brother’s Keeper and his Turn 2 Foundation, agreed. He added that his foundation’s mission is to bring about “social change”, something about which I talked to his sister Sharlee not long ago.
Some parting words of advice from a two-term president of the United States: “Find what your passion is, and work your tail off. Success will come after putting your all into [it].”
Both Obama and Jeter know a thing or two about that.