It's Presidents' Day, a semi-fabricated holiday made up by somebody who got tired of giving us days off on both Washington's and Lincoln's birthdays. Those were good times, and they've been ruined by one morphed-together holiday where Washington and Lincoln are now each getting just a little bit screwed.
I know how they feel. My older two children were born on my birthday 17 years ago. I'll let you take one guess as to whose birthday gets jammed at the back of the line every year in our family. Yep, old pops!
So George and Abe, I feel you, man. Let's see if we can't properly celebrate you and your presidential ilk in a post here today. How about five of the greatest presidential sports moments in our nation's history?
Sound good? Okay...
First, we can't truly recognize the great until we establish parameters for the opposite end. As Beavis and Butt-head so eloquently once said, "You must have stuff that sucks in order to have stuff that's cool." So let's get this out of the way....
LAST PLACE. Every year when Barack Obama picks his bracket (tied) Every March the college basketball tournament rolls around, and every March my SportsCenter gets clogged up with six minutes of the Commander In Chief giving us his entire bracket -- men's and women's! Is there anything less interesting than Obama picking women's basketball? I think not. I know some of you are saying, "Well, just don't watch ESPN then, you big baby!" Well, I kind of need to watch it for my job, erstwhile "comments section" troll!
Here's the thing. It's not as if Obama doesn't know what he's talking about. Quite the opposite. Dude clearly watches hours and hours of college basketball...like way more college basketball than someone with the problems on his plate should be watching. Either that or he never sleeps, a distinct possibility. The good news is if ISIS ever decides to agree to a handicapping contest in our efforts to eradicate the world of them, we should be in great shape!
Okay, now onto the good....
5. JFK was a bad-ass, and in fiction, he met Forrest Gump JFK was on the football team and swim team at Harvard. We know he rescued some of his American PT boat compatriots with his other worldly swimming skills and reportedly used his teeth to pull a raft through open hostile ocean waters while swimming after his PT boat was sunk, which likely pissed off his dentist, but made his country very happy. Also, in fiction, he met Forrest Gump....
Oh, and in real life, he may or may not have spent horizontal time with Marilyn Monroe. JFK, for that alone, you should get a chunk of this early February Monday, sir.
4. Ronald Reagan inspires this phony Knute Rockne As a Notre Dame alum, I have a special place in my heart for Ronald Reagan, not only because the economy thrived enough in the '80s to allow my parents to send me to Notre Dame, but also because he played the Gipper in Knute Rockne: All American! Remember?
My favorite part of that video....well, two things. One, the Gipper's hair is perfectly greased and combed on his death bed. And two, it spawned this scene in the old Airplane movies....
3. George W. Bush throws a strike down the middle after 9/11 Let's just say that this came at a time when our country needed a strike down the middle, and leave it at that....
For all his lack of "Presidential IQ" at times, that was a bad-ass moment.
2. George Washington was like William Wallace with more organized hair Remember the scene in Braveheart when William Wallace is in the middle of his revenge-fueled killing rampage and taking down anyone who gets in between him and freedom? And there are those two old guys sitting there and one of them says, "William Wallace killed fifty men. FIFTY."? And earlier in the movie, Wallace's fellow countrymen were saying he was "seven feet tall," like they'd never seen him and had just heard the legendary tales of conquest? That's how I feel about George Washington. Master horseman, killer wrestler, throwing a rock across the Rappahannock River in Virginia. It's like Washington was the love child of Aaron Rodgers and Brock Lesnar. If there were an NFL-style presidential combine, Washington would probably win.
1. Teddy Roosevelt saves American football My favorite actual athletic legend of Roosevelt is that he once challenged Japanese diplomats to a bout of jiujitsu. That's bad-ass. (The only scary thing about electing officials based on this type of physical bravado is that this would have given Jesse Ventura a legit shot at being president someday.)
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But Roosevelt is at the top of this list because in 1905, he saved football! Back then, apparently a lot of players were actually getting killed, and university presidents wanted to ban the sport, which on some levels was actually considered like cock-fighting-style evil. Fortunately, Teddy was a big fan of the game, so he stepped in and brought all the key players to the White House. He convinced everyone involved that the game needed to be safer, and they acquiesced. (For the record, Roger Goodell would have hired a bunch of doctors who would try to convince you that people actually weren't dying, and then would have looked to expand the schedule to 18 games.)
Teddy Roosevelt saved our fall weekends. He saved our sanity. He saved my job.
Abe and George may have today, but every Sunday during the NFL season is the real Presidents' Day. All hail, Teddy!!