The NCAA champion Clemson Tigers football team visited the White House on Monday, where they were honored by President Donald Trump.
But one of the most fascinating and revealing moments — involving Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney — occurred when no one was watching. Well, almost no one.
Cliff Sims, a special assistant to President Trump, said he got caught in a massive security line at the Capitol made up of Clemson players and coaches in the “sweltering heat.” The Trump administration official was able to get in relatively early, so he didn’t have to sit in the heat for long.
As the “massive Clemson entourage” filed through the metal detectors at the U.S. Capitol following the team's White House visit, Sims said he waited for a House aid to escort him to a meeting.
The line was nearly concluded when Sims said he saw an unexpected face — that of Coach Swinney. He told the story of “leadership” on his Facebook page on Monday:
The massive Clemson entourage kept slowly piling in. About 15 minutes later, near the end of the line, Coach Swinney walked in, still wearing his suit but now totally drenched on sweat.
In spite of being the most senior/important/famous person there, he didn't skip the line. He didn't complain. He let almost everyone else go in front of him.
Leaders are often defined by what they do when they think no one is watching.
Sims also shared the message of Swinney’s speech at the White House:
During his speech at the White House, he talked about people focusing on life's big moments, while forgetting that, really, life is what happens between those big moments — the small things — like having built your character to the point that you don't even cut corners in the blistering heat outside the U.S. Capitol, even though you've already won the National Championship and don't have anything left to prove.
Read the full post here:
And even though Sims will be rooting for his Alabama Crimson Tide next year, he said Coach Swinney will definitely have his Clemson Tigers ready on and off the field.
“But after what I saw today, I know Coach Swinney will have his boys ready — both for the game and what comes after,” he wrote.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify that the line referenced was to get into the U.S. Capitol following the team's White House visit.