BAWSI co-founder Julie Foudy attends White House Super Bowl party
SAN JOSE, Calif. (Feb 4, 2009) - The email that Julie Foudy, BAWSI's co-founder, received last Thursday came from the White House in Washington, D.C., and the message was brief.
Would she like to watch the Super Bowl with the President of the United States and his family?
She had to arrange for her two children to be cared for during her train trip from New Jersey to Washington and back plus the time in front of the television with the First Family - travel she is more reluctant to undertake these days as a mother than when she was a soccer star. But that's what husband Ian Sawyers is for.
When you know Barack Obama is both a fan and supporter of women in sports because you've discussed issues like Title IX with him during his time as a U.S. Senator from Illinois, you don't hesitate in accepting an opportunity for a few minutes in Obama's presidential ear.
What Foudy said she witnessed at the Super Bowl party - which was also attended by Congressmen and Senators of both political parties from the competing states of Arizona and Pennsylvania - was a picture of a Title IX family occupying the White House for the first time.
"He gets it," she said of the President. "He has two girls of his own. He is a great supporter of Title IX. He understands because he's been active himself. He understands the importance of exercise, playing on teams and competing."
Malia, the older of the Obama girls, is a soccer player. Michelle Obama was photographed July 2 at a Chicago park attending one of Malia's matches.
Sasha plays basketball. "And tennis, Dad," Foudy said Sasha reminded him during their conversation.
"I had never met the family," Foudy said. "You see on TV that one of the things the country was impressed with was the good that oozes out of them. They are truly down to earth humble people. I got to see it live, experience it. They are so approachable and interested. From the reaction from everyone around them you can see such a style of leadership that brings out best in people."
Most of her conversation with the First Lady was "mom talk," and Foudy noted that the Obamas insisted that their Super Bowl guests bring their children to the game, which they watched in the White House theater.
At Foudy's suggestion, children who weren't interested in watching football played Wii video games. But she said the White House staff set them up in the China Room, where there are displays of the Presidential china.
"I don't even go in the China Room," Foudy quoted Michelle Obama as saying. "I had to educate them on that."
CONTACT: Marlene Bjornsrud
BAY AREA WOMEN'S SPORTS INITIATIVE