20 Pictures of U.S. Presidents Playing Sports

Dan Carson@@DrCarson73Trending Lead WriterSeptember 4, 2013

20 Pictures of U.S. Presidents Playing Sports

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    Leave your political affiliations at the door, sports fans. This isn't about who lied about what or who invaded who.

    The next 20 slides are about U.S. presidents getting out there and handling the rock, reading the greens and picking up spares. In short, this is a celebration of presidents taking off the kidskin gloves and acting more or less like your average Joe.

    Just remember: They weren't always the president, and even while in office they didn't just play for themselves. They played for America

    If the commander in chief can't go out and shoot nine, the terrorists win.

Bill Clinton Chipping While Smoking a Cigar

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    Cigar? Check. Bedroom hair? Roger that.

    This picture of Bill Clinton working on his short game in Scotland is one Adam Sandler short of a '90s summer blockbuster. 

Richard Nixon on the College Football Team

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    Behold Richard Nixon in 1933—a young student-athlete at Whittier College in California.

    Indeed, long before he was tapping phones in the Lincoln Sitting Room, Nixon was a three-sport athlete in football, basketball and track. 

    It's also important to note how, even as a young man, his gaze pierced into your soul.

President Obama Balls on the Tar Heels

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    President Obama loves his hoops.

    He might've chucked up some garbage shots while goofing around in front of some kids, but when the competition is on, he's in the paint and cutting your defense up.

    Just ask Tyler "Psycho T" Hansbrough, who probably punched himself in the neck after giving up a layup to the then-Illinois senator in 2008.

George Bush Throws a First-Pitch Strike in 2001

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    A month and a half after the infamous Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, U.S. President George W. Bush threw out the first pitch at Game 3 of the 2001 World Series.

    It was a special moment in American sports—an event that was cemented in fans' memories when the president threw a solid strike over home plate in front of an emotional crowd at Yankee Stadium.

    Not bad for a former cheerleader.

Eisenhower Yucking It Up on the Links with Arnold Palmer

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    Ike was a stone cold leader, but golfing was a well-known and consuming passion of the 34th president of the United States.

    As you can see, President Eisenhower and Arnold Palmer were enjoying a fine day at the golf course in 1960, presumably discussing life, love and the inherent dangers of communist expansionism.

Richard Nixon Bowling at the Executive Office Building

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    OVER THE LINE!

    "Mr. President, this is not 'Nam. This is bowling. There are rules."

    Richard Nixon is remembered for many things—most of them bad. But for all his faults, you may be surprised to learn that Nixon was a gigantic sports fan and enjoyed the occasional roll at the Executive Office Building.

President Clinton Laying out for a Pass

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    Behold—Slick Willie laying out for a football at the beach.

    According to ESPN, this picture of President Clinton was taken in South Carolina. It doesn't specify where, but I like to picture Clinton playing two-hand touch on Hilton Head Island with Sack from Wedding Crashers.

    Seems like his style.

John Kennedy Driving It Deep

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    He tried to keep it a secret, but John F. Kennedy loved his golf. 

    The 35th U.S. president was a talented golfer, but often refused to have his picture taken while on the course.

    Kennedy had painted predecessor Dwight Eisenhower as an out-of-touch member of the upper class—a man more interested in making birdie than improving America—and didn't want to promote the same image during his presidency. 

Lyndon Johnson Throws out First Pitch at Washington Senators Game

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    Here's Lyndon Johnson, throwing out a first pitch at a Washington Senators game in 1964

    It's a little known fact, but Johnson once threw a first pitch so hard that it fractured Joe Torre's catching hand.*

    *This is not even remotely true.

Gerald Ford: Stud Lineman

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    Gerald Ford was the 38th president of the United States, and one hell of a lineman to boot.

    Ford played center for Michigan from 1932-1934 and helped the Wolverines win two national titles. His jersey (No. 48) was retired by the program in 1994 but has made its way back into circulation. 

Bill Clinton Juggles the Rock with Pelé

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    Oh, that's nothing. 

    Just a picture of former President Bill Clinton juggling a soccer ball with Brazilian soccer legend Pelé. Nothing to see here—just pure, unadulterated awesomeness. 

    Decide for yourself if I intended that pun.

They Called Him 'Crazy Eyes' Carter...You Know...Because of Those Crazy Eyes

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    Being president of the United States is the only reason to attend your high school reunions.

    No one—no one—has the trump card on you. You'll never have to feel insecure around the guy who made bank in the tech boom and drives a Boxster because—welp—bombs.

    Jimmy Carter knows this, and the former president attends functions with his Plains High alumni with a zeal. He even helps them out with his crazy eyes at the annual softball game.

A Young Ronald Reagan Playing 'The Gipper'

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    Before he was president of the free world, Ronald Reagen was a Hollywood actor.

    Indeed, Reagan's early work in front of the camera included mostly roles as an athletic, handsome protagonist. This posed action shot of Reagan was taken in 1940 during the filming of Knute Rockne, All-American—a classic sports film in which he played Notre Dame quarterback George Gipp. 

    If you haven't caught on, this is the role that landed Reagan the nickname "The Gipper." 

Run Jimmy Run!

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    Here's a shot of President Jimmy Carter running his little heart out alongside a Secret Service agent at a high school track in 1979.

    My question is this: Does the president require a bodyguard to run with him around the track? Or is this man doubling as a personal trainer?

President Obama Playing with a Soccket

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    This is President Obama heading a soccket while visiting Tanzania. 

    What's a soccket? Glad you asked.

    A soccket is a soccer ball and a miniature generator all in one round little package. Developed as a means of bringing a bit of power to residents in rural African villages, the ball harnesses the kinetic energy of kicks and uses it to supply energy to electronic devices. 

    A half-hour of play will afford owners "several hours" of battery life, which they can access by plugging a cable into a small port on the ball.

    Pretty awesome way to juice up your gadgets, right?

George Bush Sr. Played Baseball for Yale

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    Prior to taking the reins as commander in chief, George Bush Sr. was an excellent first baseman at Yale, and he helped lead his team to two College World Series during the '40s.

    Granted, the Bulldogs lost both games, but sweet sarsaparilla did Senior look slick while losing.

Barack Obama and Joe Biden on the Putting Green

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    Nothing clears your head like some quality time on the links, right guys?

    A half-hour after announcing his plans for military intervention in Syria this weekend, President Obama headed to a nearby gold course in Fort Belvoir, Va., with Vice President Joe Biden and trip director Marvin Nicholson.

    Critics of the president will point this out as an abandonment of duty, but consider this—15 of the last 18 presidents since Theodore Roosevelt have fallen under the category of "avid golfer." Take that as you will, but golf and the presidency are nearly inseparable. 

John F. Kennedy Watching Competitive Sailing

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    He's not playing sports, but "sports" are nearby.

    Honestly, this image of John F. Kennedy and wife Jackie watching the America's Cup Race in 1962 was too good to pass up. Kennedy was an avid sailor, and had he not been president at the time, he surely would've joined in.

    This is how anything nautical was meant to be enjoyed—leisurely, and with a cold drink on deck.

It's a League Game, Harry Truman!

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    Harry Truman was the first president to roll in the White House's bowling alley.

    He wasn't a big fan of the game (he preferred to play cards with reporters), but photographers were on hand for the one time Truman broke down and presumably said, "(Bleep) it, dude. Let's go bowling." 

Just Bill Clinton Practicing Archery

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    This is President Clinton wearing a windbreaker and wielding a star-spangled bow.

    For context (as if you need any), this occurred in 2000 while Clinton was visiting the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA. 

    If you see anything better than this today, you're probably having the best day ever.

    Quick! Grab your crossbow and some Nixon tapes and join me on Twitter.