The Sport That Changed Me: Congressman Adam Schiff And The Sports Trifecta

“Going through the training … gives [us] a sense of empowerment”

Three weeks after the election, Adam Schiff—the eight-term U.S. representative for California’s 28th district, who also serves as ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee—described life as “like emerging from a bad dream.” As the high-ranking Democrat prepares to take on President-elect Trump’s Republican-controlled Congress, Schiff spoke to GOOD Sports about how exercise will help in the House; why he got into triathlons in his 50s (he was the only member of Congress to compete in 2010’s inaugural Nation’s Triathlon around the National Mall); and the similarities between endurance racing and politics. The following are his words, as told to Tosten Burks.

California Congressman Adam Schiff.

I always wanted to do a triathlon. I used to run a fair amount and then my knees started bothering me. I started doing cycling, and cross-training really helped. It helped allow me to run again. Around that time my chief of staff asked if I had any interest in doing the D.C. triathlon because he was thinking about doing it. I said, ‘You know, I really would.’

The hardest thing was to get back into swimming condition—because I had been a swimmer in middle school and high school, but hadn’t really done any distance swimming since then. It’s very hard to find the time to train generally in Congress, but to find a pool and do the water workouts is particularly challenging.

It was a great way to see D.C. I’d certainly driven over the Potomac River, over many of its bridges over the years. I’ve taken a boat right down the river. But there’s nothing quite like being in the river itself to give you a neat perspective on Washington and monuments and just the city itself.

The swim, in particular, even though I don’t like the swim training very much, which I find tedious, the swim portion of the race is the most fun portion of the race. It’s just mayhem in the water. It’s an adventure. You have your adrenaline going and the water’s churning and you gotta avoid getting kicked by people. You’re trying to keep your bearings and you’re trying to slow your heart rate and calm yourself so you’re not going out faster and harder than you should. I enjoyed that triathlon enough to want to do several more after that. It’s just a great experience. It’s a real adventure.

People want to feel empowered to do something about an issue. Maybe they lost a loved one to a disease and they want to make a sacrifice of themselves. They want to be involved, and going through the training, going through the hardship sometimes of running a marathon, or going on a really long bike ride, gives them a sense of empowerment.

It gives them a sense that they’re doing something to honor a lost loved one, or to help someone else suffering from a disease. It’s a way to bond with other people that are going though the same thing. It’s a way to get involved with your whole family.

I work out at my local gym in Burbank, and it’s rare for me to go to the gym without being engaged by constituents as I’m working out. It’s a nice way for me to stay in contact with people that’s not the same as having office hours, where it’s a much more formal setting. I think people appreciate seeing their representative working out in their gym and the accessibility of their representative. There’s kind of a workout culture and people like to know you’re part of it. I do think it helps me connect with constituents.

I was at an event recently where one of the speakers was someone that I met during the Malibu triathlon. We were commenting on how much we enjoyed it. There’s an innate connection when you are in an event like that with other people who participated.

Rep. Schiff on National Bike to Work Day.

My wife is a real tennis player and plays almost every day. We met on a tennis court in Marina del Rey in 1990. We had a mutual friend that arranged some doubles tennis. My wife’s name is Eve. I think he was just looking for the right audience for some Adam and Eve jokes.

She played for most of her youth and up until we started having kids. Like many people, she kind of lost contact with the sport for quite a while, and then picked it up again probably six years ago. She’s great. She’s a good role model for me because she’s out there working out every day.

I’m going to need the outlet more than ever (under the Trump administration). It’s been rough. There’s nothing better to really reduce stress, clear your head. I’m a big believer in sound body, sound mind. I always feel better when I’m working out. I think it helps me do my job better in many ways.

Center for American Progress Action Fund

Tonight's Democratic debate is a must-watch for followers of the 2020 election. And it's a nice distraction from the impeachment inquiry currently enveloping all of the political oxygen in America right now.

For most people, the main draw will be newly anointed frontrunner Pete Buttigieg, who has surprisingly surged to first place in Iowa and suddenly competing in New Hampshire. Will the other Democrats attack him? How will Elizabeth Warren react now that she's no longer sitting alone atop the primary field? After all, part of Buttigieg's rise has been his criticisms of Warren and her refusal to get into budgetary specifics over how she'd pay for her healthcare plan.

The good news is that Joe Biden apparently counts time travel amongst his other resume-building experience.

Keep Reading Show less
Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert

This election cycle, six women threw their hat in the ring for president, but is their gender holding them back? Would Americans feel comfortable with a woman leading the free world? Based on the last election, the answer is a swift no. And a new study backs this up. The study found that only 49% of American men would feel very comfortable with a woman serving as the head of the government. By comparison, 59% of women said they would feel comfortable with a woman in charge.

The Reykjavik Index for Leadership, which measures attitude towards women leaders, evaluated the attitudes of those living in the G7 countries as well as Brazil, China, India, and Russia. 22,000 adults in those 11 countries were surveyed on their attitudes about female leadership in 22 different sectors, including government, fashion, technology, media, banking and finance, education, and childcare.

Only two countries, Canada and the U.K., had a majority of respondents say they would be more comfortable with a female head of state. Germany (which currently has a female Chancellor), Japan, and Russia were the countries least comfortable with a female head of state.

Keep Reading Show less
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

Yes, you read that right, "history of polling."

Keep Reading Show less
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

RELATED: Joe Namath Says Colin Kaepernick And Eric Reid Should Be Playing In The NFL

"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

RELATED: Video of an Oakland train employee saving a man's life is so insane, it looks like CGI

Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.