FEBRUARY 2, 2013 10:22PM

Presidential Skeet As Riskless Fun: Case for More Hoops

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 For MEB.

It was nice to see the President shoot a clay pigeon, and not hit any bystanders. Shooting has risks for any President. More hoops has risks too, if maybe a lot more reward than skeet, as something humanizing, if one likes basketball more than skeet, but is worried how people might react to that too. Maybe being human would ease a lot of concerns too, which is the reward for the risk.

There is of course in the television age a now established tradition of Presidents having an athletic image, or wannabe Presidents damaging it, by their observable physical activities, Ford actually being a great athlete, all-American lineman, if a little wobbly when he was in his sixties, if still very fit.

Carter looked like he was trying too hard, as usual, when he ran, as to Presidents and athletics, and of course no one expects Putin-like activities, racing cars, shooting tigers, whales, flying jet aircraft etc... . 

So, as to riskless fun, Mr. Obama shooting skeet manages to not look like Dukakis in a tank.  He didn't look clueless, not the second coming of Audie Murphy either, but it works, if as riskless fun.

Perhaps the President truly likes to shoot clay ducks, as it is fun plunking cans with a .22 from personal experience, but is it a real passion?

 Clinton shot ducks, and barely avoided seeming like Dukakis in a tank, if he didn't shoot anyone like Cheney either, major bonus points, although a warning to about Presidential shooting, like just having people standing around with loaded weapons in general.

As to Presidential athletics, Clinton earned many more points as a runner, in the end.

There he was struggling like the rest of America with his weight ( if not like Gore lately, hello get that man a bike before that Prog Dumpling goes over 300), with slightly pasty legs, but hey, he was out there like the rest of a rounding country, still chugging along all the same, one of the many. And it made for the kind of SNL skit that if mocking, was also very gently and fondly so, the one with the Presidential jog through the McDonalds' drive thru.

They say in all seriousness that Clinton was a good runner for his age, clocking in at seven minutes a mile.

George W. Bush of course, a recovering heavy drinker, many liked to see out there too, running at six minutes a mile, at his age quite a feat, president or not, and then when that excess energy of a self-stated recovering drinker and intense evangelical met aging knees, there he was out on the bicycle. He could be given that, and most people liked the dog too, as to his rehabilitation. If he got Gore back into shape out on the ranch, physically and mentally, he would have really earned that rehab.

As to Presidents and the great outdoors, H.W. Bush as a patrician looked very at home out on the speedboat, because he was.

That worked, like him or not, as although some would have resented his patrician wealth, he was acting just to type too, not too earnest, like Carter.

Reagan on the ranch comes to mind in that regard too, to some a bumpkin chopping wood on the ranch, yes, to more comforting just for that, a normal guy wanting to enjoy his leisure time working in the yard, something most males like at least some, if only to find some mental quiet from domestic life.

And that leads to President Obama and the riskless fun of skeet shooting, and something the author wishes we would see more of that's not risk-free: basketball.

Perhaps President Obama really likes shooting skeet.

It's fun plunking cans, and that's not saying he just did that to shut people up about guns; people like all sorts of things.

But when you go back in time, and remember his game of horse with Clark Kellog before the Final Four, the President sure seemed to have some game. Maybe Kellog took a flyer maybe not, but the three is the three, even a college one.

As to Presidential sports, Eisenhower looked like your grandfather on the course, something of a duffer at times, like Ford, but also what you expected.

Of course that's a double-edged sword for a black President playing basketball, or so some will argue, but maybe not.

Maybe in fact if people saw a part of the President that they hadn't seen before, doing something he really loved, instead of liked ok, or felt semi-obligated to do, to seem more like other presidents, that would be a good thing in many ways. 

Maybe some people who aren't his fans, and who never will be completely, would look at it differently if they saw an unscripted look, and not just those people either, as to some unstated ethnic issues.

Bird and Magic worked really well for the NBA too, did it not, like saved it?

And as a high school wrestler, basketball players got way more of the girls and to the point here were much bigger fishes on campus, a lot bigger than the future professorial types, jocks, football players, basketball-baseball, wrestlers somewhere, and then geeks at last, math club, chess club, or in my case scholar's bowl, and that was a totally white environement too, as to baketball being a good presidential hobby in his case, even if he can't dunk anymore, or can he?

That'd be pretty neat, a Presidential dunk, and within the history of Presidential athletics, breaking cool ground, and if almost a little Putin-like, in a good way. No reward without risk, and clay pigeons don't shoot back.

finis 

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Good point - clay pigeons don't shoot back. Let's hope Obama's Secret Service Crew get the bad guys FIRST before HE tries anything! But I'm not really worried! R
Maybe he likes that, and he's hardly unique as to Democrats wanting cover so to speak, bu the reality is, a lot of people won't believe that, so why bother?
In my opinion: Your best essay ever.

You actually got me to thinking about my reactions to Dubya. I truly disliked him...very, very much. But he was a fit guy...and there are way too many unfit people in our country who need a leader who can suggest a better direction.

Ford was a legitimate athlete..who managed to become a bit doddering as he aged. But many former athletes have trouble with their legs (and brains) because of the stresses of early life competition.

Dan Quayle was a single digit golfer...something very, very, very hard to achieve. I thought he was a dolt, but I gave him lots of points for his game.

Obama seems to have athletic talent that exceeds all of them. I wonder what his golf game is like. Do you know?
I laughed my ass off when I saw that picture of him with a gun.

My first thought was that he wanted to use that semiautomatic shotgun (which was the weapon he was pictured with) before Feinstein's proposed gun ban made it illegal (which it would).
Thank you Frank. These things humanize them, most of them being about like everyone else, actually, flaws and all, if those things play out in ways that can be bad, sometimes.
I think that he is supposed to be pretty decent as a golfer, as he goes out a lot, even getting criticized for that. But I think he's ok at it, maybe pretty decent.
http://espn.go.com/golf/story/_/id/8448356/president-barack-obama-keeps-golf-games-quiet-only-invites-white-house-staffers-espn-magazine
As to basketball, all I know is that I watched him shoot with Clark Kellog, and he has a good motion for sure, and good range, hitting several threes, college, but not trivial, and very casually. He was wearing dress shoes too.
Maybe some people would be more comfortable seeing something like that, if it makes people nervous too as to a theory it plays to a stereotype. It's not a crime to like basketball, and lots of guys try to play as long as they can, and then have to stop, interesting as to something people can relate to as a person. Like you said, Frank, you didn't like W, but some non-political things, that helps sometimes, even just out of that realm.
It wasn't Dukakis in a tank Safe Amy, but it has limits as to .... believability, WHATEVER is really true. Sometimes embracing such things is a good thing.