Tricky Dick avoids the gutter.

by West Coast Craig

White House Putting Green
– Another holiday Monday; a three-day break celebrating February’s best sports weekend. There was a lot on the docket: An NBA All-Star game was watched by 70,000 people on a giant screen suspended over the little dots moving around that rectangle way down there… There was a pothole at the Daytona 500, fixed in a fraction of the time the it took the city to fix the one at the bottom of my hill. And oh yeah, the Olympics are going on…in fact, I think the opening ceremonies are still going on. Thank goodness the skating hasn’t started yet.

And yet, I’m once again going to try to stay on theme here today, knowing how everyone out there in cyberland who has the day off will be grateful to our presidents and might find themselves wondering “in fact, I wish I knew more presidential sports trivia.” Well, in keeping with my post from a year ago, I’m here to help.

• Here’s one that’s timely: before he became president, William McKinley was a handler at the 1889 Westminster Dog Show, trotting happily alongside an Airedale Terrier named Keep Out The Irish. They were disqualified when the dog attacked an Irish Setter.

• Curling. William Howard Taft working the broom. Just picture it.

• John Tyler was actually banned from racing in regattas, ironically because he was always tipping canoes.

• John Adams’s father was once the Commissioner of Baseball.


• When he was a boy, Martin Van Buren ran an entire half marathon (the distance to his schoolhouse) whilst rolling a metal hoop with a stick. They didn’t have videogames back then.

• Grover Cleveland is the only man to be President for one term, lose in the next election, and then come back and become President again. To raise campaign funds in that four year interim, he traveled around the midwest boxing under the name The Really Really Real McCoy. Like his namesake city, Cleveland hasn’t won anything in a long, long time.

• Everyone knows that Ike Eisenhower was a scratch golfer, but did you know that he placed third in a North Carolina dirt track race, and once jumped through the open doors of a moving boxcar to escape Johnny Law?


• In the late 18th century, the French tried to make a sport called Sleeping With The Help, and when he was an ambassador to France Thomas Jefferson surprised everyone by winning the Philanderer Cup one year. Napoleon was supposed to be such a big fan that he made it easier for Jefferson to broker the Louisiana Purchase, and thus clear the way for Western Expansion and our Manifest Destiny. Two hundred years later, Bill Clinton would wonder what happened to that sport.

There it is, something to bring up around the water coolers…if you were going to work today, but most likely you’re not, thanks to the great contributions of these fine men. Think of them as you’re out and about today, enjoying the free Monday.

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About West Coast Craig 226 Articles
West Coast Craig reports from Hollywood with an endearingly laid back style. A happily married father of two little boys, WCC has an avocado tree in his yard, plays the hot corner in a "Valley" hardball league and always manages to take cool sports-related mini road-trips, often with his immediate clan. He hails from Oneonta, NY but has been "So very L.A." for twenty years, so his sports teams are the Yankees AND the Dodgers, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the L.A. Lakers and the Colorado Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques. WCC loves bacon-wrapped hotdogs and can touch his heel and his ear... with his hand.