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Brown Beats Bad Breaks, Finds Success in Massachusetts

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Sen. Scott Brown’s childhood pain led to a basketball scholarship, modeling career and political success for the Massachusetts boy later in life.

“You know what?” she said. “You’ve got everything in the world going for you. You’re tall, you’re good looking, you’re athletic. You could be smart if you put your mind to it. But you’re a jerk.”

Brown recalls how he was “the kid who always felt like a loser, who felt like I had nothing going for me.”

He challenged this self-perception in the years to come. After he became a basketball star in high school, his story switches from reading like a tragedy to something more along the lines of the all-American fairy tale. He attended Tufts University on a basketball scholarship. Cosmopolitan magazine selected him as the first non-celebrity to be “America’s Sexiest Man.” He had a modeling career. He joined the National Guard.

The pain of the earlier years didn’t dissipate, of course. Rather, it became the reason why he did so many different things. He needed his backup plans because he wouldn’t return to a life where he went hungry and he had nothing.

With fate now in his favor, it isn’t at all surprising when his wife, Gail, suggested that he run for town selectman in 1995. The odds theme picks up again when Brown points out the obvious fact that, during his political career, he’s been playing in a Democrat-dominated arena, as he remembers his campaigns for state Representative, state Senator, and eventually, the late Edward Kennedy’s Senate seat.

He leaves much of the political rhetoric to the end and gives a number of reasons why he’s a Republican: He came of age during the Jimmy Carter years, he believes in a strong military and in service, and he identifies with fiscal responsibility and fiscal restraint.

But throughout it all, Brown drives home one point: He’s a Massachusetts boy. Up for re-election in 2012, it’s no coincidence that he spends pages waxing nostalgic on the towns he lived in, despite his rough childhood.

“I’ve got a lot to learn in the Senate, but I know who I am and I know who I serve,” he said on the night he won the special election in January 2010. 

“I’m Scott Brown, I’m from Wrentham, I drive a truck, and I am nobody’s Senator but yours.”

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