Obama: 'I Learned So Many Lessons Playing Sports That I Carry to This Day'

By Susan Jones | May 30, 2014 | 5:51 AM EDT

(AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - "I was a basketball player," President Obama told a gathering at the White House on Wednesday. "I learned so many lessons playing sports that I carry to this day, even to the presidency."

Obama, speaking at a "Healthy Kids and Safe Sports Concussion Summit," mentioned "teamwork" as one of the things that sports teaches people:

"But sports is also just fundamental to who we are as Americans and our culture," he said. "We're competitive. We're driven. And sports teaches us about teamwork and hard work and what it takes to succeed, not just on the field, but in life."

As president, however, Obama has openly shunned teamwork in favor of a go-it-alone approach.

At his first Cabinet meeting of 2014, Obama announced that he wouldn't "be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we're providing Americans the kind of help they need."

"I've got a pen and I’ve got a phone,” Obama said on Jan. 14. "And I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward...”

In his State of the Union Address two weeks later, Obama told lawmakers, "I’m eager to work with all of you." But, he added, "America does not stand still, and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”

At a press conference on February 12, Obama again said he was "eager" to worth with Congress -- "But wherever I can act on my own, without Congress, by using my pen to take executive actions, or picking up the phone and rallying folks around a common cause, that’s what I’m going to do."

The White House website notes that since January, President Obama has "taken more than 20 actions" as chief executive.

And as recently as May 17, in his weekly radio address, the president was still talking about "doing what I can on my own."

Many Republicans have criticized President Obama for what they call his executive overreach.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) says Republicans simply don't trust the president, and he says that lack of trust is blocking passage of immigration reform legislation:

“The president’s asking us to move one of the biggest bills of his presidency, and yet he’s shown very little willingness to work with us on the smallest of things,” Boehner said in February.

"I have made clear for 15 months the need for the Congress and the administration to work together on the issue of immigration reform. It needs to get done. I’m going to continue to talk to my members about how to move forward, but the president is going to have to do his part as well."

In his remarks on Thursday, Obama also said he "played football briefly" when he was young: "[T]here were a couple times where I'm sure that that ringing sensation in my head and the needing to sit down for a while might have been a mild concussion, and at the time you didn't think anything of it."

Obama said there is greater awareness of concussions nowadays, but "the total number of young people who are impacted by this early on is probably bigger than we know."