Remarks at a White House Reception for the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports

January 19, 1984

We're delighted to have you here at the White House today. And this is obviously a good week to talk about physical fitness with Sunday's game coming up. [Laughter]

You know, I've been asked a few times who I'm rooting for. Since both teams playing are from my current hometowns -- [laughter] -- and since none of the Democrats that are interested in this job have declared their preferences, I see no reason to be recklessly courageous. [Laughter] May the best team win. [Laughter]

You'd never guess this was an election year, would you? [Laughter]

Well, what I have to say to all of you today is brief, but heartfelt. The work of your Council, the growth of its membership, the tremendous accomplishments that you've been responsible for have been heartwarming and inspiring. Since George Allen has been your Chairman, the number of special advisers has quintupled. And it's that leadership, along with the tremendous efforts of you here today, that made this Council's work a success and will make the new fitness academy in Indianapolis a reality.

Attention to physical fitness is one of those things that says something about a nation and its people. It's an important indication of America's level of energy, competitiveness, and vigor. So, your work and sacrifice is an act of patriotism.

You're helping America keep strong and youthful. And on that point, let me stress the importance of your work with regard to the young people of America. I think you're aware of the attention that I've been giving to the education issue lately. It's one reason I think it's especially important that physical education continue to play a strong and a vital role in our schools. If it doesn't start there, I don't know where it's going to start.

And finally, let me say that it's especially pleasing that your progress in keeping America physically fit has in large part been done through the private sector and the unselfish voluntary efforts of people like yourselves. And that, too, is most important.

So, again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Note: The President spoke at 5 p.m. in the State Dining Room at the White House.