top of page
  • Reverend James Squire

Dr. Fauci And The Dribble

Dr. Fauci announced his retirement and thanked those that he worked with in the White House with the exception of Former President Trump and the Republicans who attacked him for his decisions and made ad hominem accusations about his character accusing him of lying and receiving money from other sources. He also volunteered that he would gladly meet with them if they had proof that he had done such things. In essence, he communicated that he was not running away from any of their accusations. His integrity and word mean the world to him. He carried on with his duties in spite of efforts to undermine his hard work day in and day out.

He laid his reputation on the line where his accusers had nothing to lose except credibility for their attacks.

I was struck by a phrase that he used in his announcement that “I’ve never left anything on the field.” This is a phrase that means a total effort and athletes who have played on different playing fields can understand that the phrase means no breath or strength of body when the game is finished.

The British have another phrase that is a version of what Dr. Fauci used to describe his effort. When I was on a trip to England, one of the locations that I wanted to see was Eton, a legendary school from which is derived the words of the Duke of Wellington who would be remembered for his cryptic comment that “the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton.” The phrase inspired others to do their best in both war and peace.

When I arrived at Eton, I took the tour through the school building. One of the first classrooms that you see contains desks that have been written on or etched with the name of the person who sat at that desk. I don’t recommend that as a practice, but there you could see, in the names, people who had shaped the history of England, but I was still more interested in seeing “the playing fields of Eton.”

We exited the door that opens to the playing fields. I looked and stood there for the longest time. I have been in the school business, but I have never seen anything like this. They stretched as far as the eye could see. They were manicured like a golf course. I could hear in my mind the raucous competition in the past and hear the sounds of athletes giving it there all. I also thought of the American version of “leaving nothing on the playing field.”

So, why did Dr. Fauci use that phrase about “leaving nothing on the playing field.” His playing field was a basketball court. He was Captain of the basketball team at Regis High School, one of the best schools in New York City. Fauci stands 5’7” tall. His teammates elected him Captain “because he could dribble through a wall.” Fauci’s teammates describe him as a tenacious competitor.

But there is more which will help you to understand part of where his character was developed. Fauci took his team on the road to play Fordham Prep, a team that defeated them weeks earlier by 16 points. Fordham Prep had a starting guard, Donnie Walsh, who would go on to play at North Carolina under Dean Smith and then to the NBA. Regis had won only one game all season. But that night Fauci and his teammates came away with a victory “against all odds.”

So, why the reference to the battle of Waterloo? Wellington’s troops were outmanned compared to Napoleon’s army. They were cold, hungry, covered with mud, and a supply chain that was non-existent. Wellington’s team was “against all odds.”

One of the great moments for me has been the opportunity over many years watching individuals and teams win when a victory seems beyond reach. Like Fauci, those victories last forever. Fauci’s teammates remember that game against Fordham Prep after 60 years. One of my sons was a wrestler in school. I had the opportunity to watch his first victory as a young wrestler who was in Middle School but on the varsity team made up of students from Upper School where his opponent that day was thought to be a real challenge. He pinned him in a move that I still remember. I would like to think that victory was still remembered by him and has empowered him. “Against all odds” is a phrase that is immediately conjured up if you know the story of Waterloo and the Duke of Wellington’s exploits which were based on “the playing fields of Eton.”

Fauci’s whole life has been working at curing people from challenging infections. Covid was a mighty challenge for him. I can see him now dribbling down the court with only victory in his mind no matter what the odds.

Those in the school business are privileged to see that and how it effects the character of the athletes including Dr. Fauci.

25 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page