Congressional Coach

Posted June 21, 2012 at 3:33pm

It’s not every day HOH gets the chance to talk to a Member of Congress’ childhood coach.

But Wednesday night at the fourth annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game, HOH got a chance to speak with Rep. Laura Richardson’s (D-Calif.) middle school softball coach, who, at 82, braved the 90-degree temperatures to watch Richardson play softball to raise money for young breast cancer survivors.

Elizabeth “Betty” Vizzini, who ventured to Washington, D.C., from California on Tuesday (coincidentally her 82nd birthday), coached Richardson at St. Anthony of Padua elementary school in Gardena, Calif. 

Sadly, HOH did not get any embarrassing tidbits from Vizzini about Richardson’s childhood days. Instead, Vizzini only had gushing praise for the California Congresswoman.

“She hasn’t really changed,” Vizzini said of Richardson. “She just has become better, wiser, very good in politics, and I’m very, very proud of her.”

Vizzini, who called herself a “strict coach,” used to make her players run laps if they fooled around on the field, and she said Richardson quickly learned not to engage in any funny business.

“Laura never gave me a problem. Never,” Vizzini said. “I can’t say that for all the other kids, and then they took a lap.”

Richardson squired Vizzini, who had never visited Washington before, around to her colleagues and other notable spectators at the game, including NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell, with whom Vizzini got a picture.

“It’s really special because this is to benefit women who have had early breast cancer, and the fact that I was blessed to have a woman coach me and taught me how to play sports, it really brings it full circle,” Richardson said of the softball game that raised money for the Young Survival Coalition, which aims to support young women who survive breast cancer. “But she taught me more than just sports. She taught me not to quit, to work hard, if tough things happen keep going, just so many important things. So this day is just as special for me as it is for her.”