President Obama has game

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

There are plenty of stories of past presidents of the United States being sportsmen and/or pseudo athletes. Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan played college football. When their schedules allowed, it wasn’t uncommon to find Dwight Eisenhower, Bill Clinton and Ford playing golf, or at least making an attempt at it.

I’ve heard reports that Richard Nixon had some bowling lanes installed at the White House. They all pale in comparison to what I witnessed during halftime of the West Virginia and Duke game last Saturday night (April 3). Our current president truly is an athlete. He modestly puts his predecessors to shame.

CBS sports reporter and former Ohio State basketball star Clark Kellogg challenged President Barack Obama to a version of the old schoolyard basketball shooting game, H-O-R-S-E on the White House basketball court. The two played P-O-T-U-S (President of the United States). Amazingly, the president has game. He was swishing them with uncanny regularity.

He’s a natural lefty who claims to have been working on his shot since he was around 10 years old. That, combined with his God-given ability to talk a little smack, makes him a pretty formidable opponent on the court. I was impressed. Especially since he was playing in his dress shoes, suit pants, a button-down shirt with rolled-up sleeves and a tie.

Unfortunately, his athletic talent is not really an asset when it comes to running the country or when dealing with international issues. Just imagine if it did, though.

Anytime he needed to get something passed in Congress, he could simply challenge his opponents to a game of one-on-one. I’m not sure he’d ever lose another vote. Problems with unruly foreign dictators? Not a problem any longer—meet them on any basketball court in the world and then take ’em to the hoop.

I envision newly-inspired Americans everywhere displaying the latest bumper sticker: “Our President can beat your President in P-O-T-U-S.”

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

From the April 7-13, 2010 issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!