Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin developed her strong work ethic through sports her father, Chuck Heath, Sr. said in an exclusive interview with Kevin Scholla, a newly minted columnist on Breitbart Sports.
Chuck Heath, Sr., who co-authored Our Sarah: Made in Alaska with his son, Chuck Heath, Jr. had coached all his children at Wasilla High School. The elder Heath said Sarah’s work ethic propelled her to be his best hurdler and became his number one distance runner. “‘She learned that if you need to work on a skill you keep at it until you have that skill developed,’ said Mr. Heath.” In an episode of Sarah Palin’s Alaska, she is seen passing that trait down to her children. “What’s your weak hand?…good. Work it. Harder. Harder. Until you get it.” Chuck Heath Sr., said Sarah “also learned how to work with all kinds of people and personalities.”
In one of her life’s defining moments, starting point guard – young Sarah Heath on a broken ankle – clinched the 1982 basketball championship for the Wasilla Warriors against the much larger and favored-to-win Service High School out of Anchorage.
As an employee on her husband’s commercial fishing boat, Sarah Palin broke her hand while off-loading the day’s catch on to a tender. She went ashore, saw a doctor, and returned to work the next day. With that broken hand, she hauled in thousands upon thousands of pounds of salmon. She is not afraid to get her hands dirty, bloody or broken. Gov. Palin remains an avid runner and often runs half- and full marathons.
Chuck Heath, Sr. described Gov. Palin’s indomitable work ethic and athletic prowess which runs through the entire family. The younger Heath played football, basketball and ran track. He is currently a member of a men’s hockey team. He was an All American honorable mention for Parade Magazine. Heather Heath was a great basketball player and today runs marathons with her most recent time being 3:42. The elder Heath called Molly McCann “the best athlete of them all,” with track, cross country, and basketball being her specialties. Chuck Heath, Sr. played football, basketball, and ran. In high school, he was a starting running back. His team lost only four times in as many years and won four championships.
Some of the Heaths’ teammates made it big in pro sports. “Future Hall of Famer Jerry Kramer was on the offensive line that opened holes for Chuck Heath years before Kramer did the same in the NFL for Paul Hornung and Jim Taylor in Green Bay,” Scholla wrote. The elder Heath’s 100-yard dash record stood for over 40 years.
Scholla recounted the athletic traditions that persist today among the Palins and Heaths. Todd Palin is a four-time champion and nine-time Iron Dog winner. The first five places in the Iron Dog are considered winners and first place is champion. “Track Palin was an exceptional hockey player,” Scholla wrote. Chuck Heath, Jr.’s son Teko won the Anchorage city title in a hockey championship. “Teko was so happy at the end of the game that he Tebowed in front of the crowd. The Heaths continue to play well and act even better.”
Scholla emphasized that the family’s competitiveness is innate and not forced by authoritarian tradition. Chuck Heath, Sr. described the unique playing conditions in Alaska. Winters are spent in the gym and runs are done with headlamps and luminous clothing in temperatures that drop to 20 degrees below zero or even colder. He maintains contact with Jerry Kramer and roots for the Packers. Kramer went to college in Idaho along with Sarah and three other Heath siblings. The elder Heath roots for teams who have Alaskan players. The younger Heath, meanwhile is a Packers, Penguins and Yankee fan. “Bottom line is, with no home team, anything goes in The Last Frontier when it comes to supporting professional franchises,” Scholla wrote.
Chuck Heath Sr., supports Gonzaga’s basketball team in the upcoming NCAA tournament. This team has a strong and deep Palin connection. “Sarah Palin’s all-time favorite player is John Stockton. The Utah Jazz legend played his college ball at Gonzaga (Stockton’s son is on Gonzaga’s basketball team) and wound up marrying an Alaskan girl,” Scholla wrote. He continued, “plus, Stockton was the kind of player that a certain former Wasilla High point guard could appreciate–a player who used smarts and stick-to-itiveness as much as physical skill to get the job done. While serving the people of Alaska, Palin kept a Stockton signed ball in her office.”
Chuck Heath, Sr. said Sarah would do very well against Obama in hoops battle. “In her prime if Sarah had to guard Obama he’d come out all scratched up. Her defense was her forte. She’d always guard the other team’s best player. Plus she had Jason Kidd instincts. A real natural. It’d be interesting. Obama is a lot taller but he would know he had his hands full.” But, Obama would be no match for Sarah on the firing range. Gov. Palin’s father cited Obama’s poor shotgun handling, and Sarah’s superior handling of both rifles and shotguns.
As Scholla closed, he harkened back to Gov. Palin’s call at Southeastern University to impact the culture through sports. “It seems all the Heaths and Palins are very good at whatever they put their efforts behind. Lessons of hard work learned through participation in a myriad of sports helped pave the way…She’s living proof of how that plan of action can pay dividends in several aspects of life.”
See Sarah Palin’s Father Speaks Exclusively to Breitbart Sports: Palin, Siblings Developed Work Ethic Through Sports for Scholla’s complete exclusive interview with Chuck Heath, Sr.