November 3, 2008

How the Candidates Match Up: Sports Style

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Obama and Biden

Obama is potentially one of the most athletic candidates ever to run for president. He found comfort in sports at a young age, calling basketball his “first love.” With a largely absent father, Obama found an escape in basketball. A big Dr. J fan as a kid, Obama had “a nice little left-hand shot and some knowledge of the game,” according to former NBA All-Star Ricky Green. Reportedly, though, O­ba­ma is a scrappy pla­yer who is best suited for “pickup basketball, the version of the game with unspoken rules, no referee and lots of elbows,” according to The New York Times.

Would He Tailgate and Have a Few Beers With the boys?
Barack Obama seems to take a serious approach to watching sports. During his campaign, he ridiculed Cubs fans, saying, “You go to Wrigley Field, you have a beer, beautiful people up there. People aren’t watching the game. It’s not serious. White Sox, that’s baseball.” Now, keep in mind that Chicago baseball fans are engineered to hate most everything about the team they don’t support, but when it comes to sitting in the stands, it seems like Obama’s all business.
Obama’s running mate, Joe Biden, however, has admitted he showed up at the University of Delaware in 1961 as a “half-baked half back” when he was playing on the freshman football team. Seems like he might shot gun a few ’Stones.

Achilles Heel?
Obama was widely mocked for bowling a 37 during a campaign swing through Pennsylvania earlier this year. Obama chalked it up to over 30 years of rust, and concluded he would just have to make some changes in the White House. “I hear there’s a bowling alley and obviously that hasn’t gone too well,” Obama said on Jimmy Kimmel Live. “So we’re getting rid of the bowling alley and replacing it with a basketball court in the White House.”

Would he throw down some straight cash in Vegas?
It’s hard to get a read on Obama’s feelings toward betting on sports. Is he calling his bookie at noon on a Sunday to lay down $50 on his beloved Bears? Probably not, but he seems laid back enough to enter the White House’s March Madness bracket pool.

McCain and Palin

John McCain is straight old school. Name a sport associated with the advent of sports and McCain has done it. He wrestled in high school, but claims boxing is his favorite sport — he even attended the Oscar De La Hoya-Floyd Mayweather fight earlier this year. The big exception to McCain’s backyard brawl sporting image are his three years as a lightweight rower at the Naval Academy.
His running mate, Sarah Palin, could probably give Obama and Biden a run for their money in a street brawl. She led her high school basketball team to the Alaska small-school championship in 1982 (clearly, a very coveted title), hitting a clutch free throw late in the game despite a stress fracture in her ankle. Appropriately, she earned the nickname “Sarah Barracuda.”

Would (s)he tailgate and have a few beers with the boys?
Palin hunts and ice fishes. Aren’t those both excuses to drink? Besides, what else is going to keep you warm in Alaska? Palin’s husband, Todd, was actually seen at a Penn State football tailgate a few weeks ago.
McCain may seem uptight at times, but his wife, Cindy, is the chair of Hensely & Co., which is one of the largest distributors of Anheuser-Bush. So, since it’s good for business, McCain might toss back a couple of Natty Lights.

Achilles Heel?
McCain, by his own admission, is not a coordinated athlete. Fortu­nately for him, his favorite sports, wre­st­ling, boxing and rowing, do not require much coordination. McCain admitted as much, saying that his best skill was simply that he was fearless and “didn’t have a reverse gear.” Hard to argue with that.

Would he throw down some straight cash in Vegas?
McCain has been an outspoken critic of sports gambling during his time in the Senate. He has stated that he would like to ban any betting on college sports and outlaw internet gambling all together. However, during this past March Madness, it was McCain’s bracket that had every single Final Four team picked correctly.