Has the media finally chipped away the smooth as silk image to unearth President Obama’s one true Achilles heel? Superman had Kryptonite. Bill Clinton had interns. George Washington had wooden teeth. Now, Obama has bowling.
Toward the end of his taped appearance with Jay Leno on “The Tonight Show,” Obama compared his bowling talents to the Special Olympics. It’s not really a stretch, considering how bad he sucks at bowling, but if I was a Special Olympics athlete, I’d be pretty damned pissed. Danny Duval, a Special Olympian from Missouri, bowled a 231 in the 2006 Games in Iowa -- that’s 200 points more than what the President scored almost a year ago while bowling on the campaign trail. Mr. President, your bowling isn't like Special Olympics, but more akin to Laff-A-Lympics.
Making light of the physically and/or mentally challenged by comparing them to his remedial bowling abilities, marks a low point for the President’s first 59 days in the White House. Frankly, I think there is just one way to make the pending furor go away -- a bowl-off. Just like the “Thrilla in Manila,” the “Woweey at the White House Alley” will serve to entertain the nation and divert attention from the Sesame Street layoffs, the Snuggie, John Stewart’s feud with Jim Cramer, and Lindsay Lohan. Danny’s got your number, Mr. President…it’s just a matter of time before he packs up his “special” balls and hits the Beltway with one objective – to take you down.
What I loved was that in an attempt at damage control, the White House immediately issued the following statement: "The president made an off-hand remark making fun of his own bowling that was in no way intended to disparage the Special Olympics. He thinks the Special Olympics is a wonderful program that gives an opportunity for people with disabilities from around the world." Really....I was actually disappointed that the White House, riding the wave from the confirmation of O'Bama's Irishness, didn't take this opportunity to say that his being "bowling challenged" is evidence of a physical disability....
The amazing thing about this entire scenario is the timeline – first cable news outlets leaked the comments from the live feed, then maniacal web outrage ensued and finally the White House statement - the remark was effectively wrapped in a neat little “swept under the rug” package, all before the show aired. Apparently Obama has Teflon-coated bowling shoes. Why did the White House have to issue a statement, anyway….hmmm…could this be “Bowling Gate?” Bryant Gumbel, I smell an HBO “Real Sports” expose in the works.
In a few days, I'm sure we will be able to look back on this blip with more clarity and appreciate it for what it is – it’s bowling for Christ’s sake! Bowling! And the ability to bowl isn’t really even a skill – it’s like eating with chopsticks or tying your shoes – if you don't practice enough, you ultimately look stupid trying. It is an activity that you can do while drinking beer, has obnoxiously large, heavy balls, is virtually impossible to look cool doing, has doublewide gutters, shoes that even Payless wouldn’t sell, and hell, was the backdrop for most plotlines of "Laverne and Shirley".