Sports

Mr. President, Americans should live in an ‘alley’

President Obama

From: Couch Slouch

Re: White House bowling lanes

Last year you mentioned that you might replace the bowling alley in the White House with a basketball court. Now, I don’t want to alarm you in your first month or so in office, but this would be an impeachable offense.

Bowling cuts across all economic, racial, ethnic, religious and gender lines. It embodies the spirit of your bring-everyone-in- under-the-tent beliefs. With every ball, you can hit the pocket or find the gutter. If that’s not a metaphor for America, what is?

And if you’re dying to play basketball between cabinet meetings, just install Pop-a-Shot in the West Wing. Better yet, put one in the bedroom – it beats watching Jimmy Kimmel or talking to the wife before retiring for the night.

Anyway, I saw the YouTube clip of you bowling a 37 over seven frames last March in Altoona, Pa. You looked about as comfortable as a Jehovah’s Witness in a Jacuzzi. Who goes bowling in a coat-and-tie? Did you rent wing-tipped bowling shoes?

You didn’t look like you were about to roll a bowling ball, you looked like you were about to change a baby’s diapers. Your release point was all wrong. You were playing the wrong board. You’re the leader of the free world – bowl like it, buddy!

And, hey, I know you’re a busy man, but you couldn’t find the time to bowl an entire game? Seven frames? That’s like going to the opera and leaving before the fat lady sings.

(By the way, Mr. President, let’s talk cards for a moment. The government’s got a deficit, no? Well, Internet poker is a cash cow that you should exploit: Legalize it, regulate it and levy it. Heck, you love playing poker – it’s your duty as the nation’s check-raiser-in-chief to open up this revenue stream and add big chips to the public’s coffers. Shuffle up and tax!)

(P.S. on poker: Besides the fact you shouldn’t play too much of it online – it’s dangerously addictive; just imagine Bill Clinton’s White House years if he had been playing no-limit Texas hold ‘em under the handle “slickwillie” – can you make sure it’s legit? With government regulation should come government safeguards to prevent software schemes and shenanigans that are inevitable with that much money on the virtual table.)

Alas, you underestimate bowling, because you are ignorant of the game’s nuanced charms.

Three things you should know about bowling:

1. Bowling is fun.

2. After one of Plato’s fabulous retreats, Aristotle complained that the only thing missing was a night of bowling.

3. If there’s someone you want to get out of your hair for a long, long time, sign him up for league bowling.

Speaking of which, I tried taking my stepchildren, Isaiah, 12, and Mia, 10, bowling the other Sunday. The first lanes we went to had a private function, the next lanes we went to were unavailable because of a league. On a Sunday afternoon. I mean, if you can’t take your stepfamily out for bowling on a weekend, what is America coming to? Because I’ve got no shot at Stepfather of the Year honors having them sit at home with me, watching bowling on TV.

I am disappointed you just signed a $787 billion economic stimulus package that didn’t include a dime for bowling. You want to put this country back on its feet? For starters, there ought to be a bowling center on every corner instead of a Starbucks.

Here are a couple of facts for you, Mr. President:

Almost everybody who commits a serious crime in America had coffee earlier in the day.

Almost nobody who commits a serious crime in America had bowled earlier in the day.

So keep the bowling alley at 1600 Pennsylvania and go to the local Y for hoops. Thanks.

The audacity of hope? I think you can bowl a 200 game one day. Heck, I might, too. And maybe we can do it at the same time on the White House lanes. Call me any time, other than Tuesdays or Thursdays, which are my league nights.

Ask The Slouch

Q. The Tampa Bay Rays recently hired a fellow named Todd Greene as their “quality assurance coach.” Do you have any idea what his duties might be? (Joel Miller; Pittsburgh)

A. I remember when we duped my brother into being our family’s “quality assurance coach.” He took the trash out every Monday.

Q. Do you know how the Big Ten chooses the person who gets to take the ball out of the peach basket after each made field goal in Big Ten games? (Gary Duncan; Washington, D.C.)

A. I believe that is a Gov. Blagojevich appointee, based on eBay bids.

Q. Which was the worse European import, David Beckham or the DeLorean? (Bruce Devney; Strongsville, Ohio)

A. DeLoreans never went in reverse as fast as Becks just did.

Q. All Major League Baseball teams reported to camp by Feb. 15. Does that mean the Pirates have been mathematically eliminated? (Brian Croasmun; New Martinsville, W.Va.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

Norman Chad is a syndicated columnist. You can enter his $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just e-mail asktheslouch@aol.com and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!


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