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I love the values football can teach. It gives young people a sense of how to defer present gratification for future success, it teaches self-discipline, it teaches teamwork, it gives them a bonding experience that can be hard to find somewhere else, it teaches the ability to process large amounts of information and apply it in real time.
There is nothing antithetical in American history, culture, or traditions to teamwork. Teams were important in America’s history – wagon trains conquered the West, men working together on the assembly line in American industry conquered the world, a successful national strategy and a lot of teamwork put an American on the moon first (and thus fare, last). But American mythology extols only the individual…In America, halls of fame exist for almost every conceivable activity, but nowhere do Americans raise monuments in praise of teamwork.
The most important thing about an astronaut is you have to take for a given a person’s done pretty well in school, has the intelligence and all of that to learn new systems and new things. But after that, the most important thing I think is being able to get along with others. Flexibility and teamwork, those issues because as we fly longer and longer in space, those are really important factors, even on short shuttle missions, those are important factors, to put a crew together that can work together effectively as a team, that can get along.
Of course, there’s some you think, well I wouldn’t let them in the door, but there’s not many. It’s very important to know that it’s a mutual thing, that there is respect and a form of teamwork. With quite a few of them it can be traumatic, but there are moments in here when they do extraordinary things with their designs. There are things of beauty I get to see in this office.