The case for president Trump (as a sportsman)


Christmas is just around the corner, but president Donald Trump will be excused for not being in a celebratory mood. This week the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of impeachment charges, and while Trump will probably never be forced to resign, the stigma of ’high crimes’ will forever be associated with his name.

Let me therefore offer a more positive assessment of the 45th U.S. president, an assessment based on his demeanor as a (wannabe) sportsman.

Recently I argued against ’autocrats’ participating in sporting activities. While presidents rarely qualify as autocrats, the present musings can nevertheless be read as complimentary remarks to my previous contribution in the curious field of statesman studies.

On top of that, I take the opportunity to provide a belated counterargument to Rick Reilly’s best-selling book published earlier this year. Titled Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump, Reilly’s exposé trashes the main character’s extravagant claims, some of which incidentally predate his presidency.

Trump being a ’nonstop’ liar, Reilly rallies to defend the so-called integrity of the club-and-ball sport by dissecting the president’s tall stories in more than 200 pages – that’s right, the reader is faced with more than two hundred mostly entertaining pages of golf gossip.

For golf players, ’the stain of cheating is so much graver than winning or losing that we live in mortal fear of being called a cheater,’ Reilly exclaims.

My oh my… Here we go again! I wonder if golfers also strive to ’do their best’ in order to benefit from the proverbial ’joy of effort’? If so, they surely let ’fair play’ rule supreme and always remember that ’participating is more important than winning.’

Did I forget something? Oh yes, the mythology of ’good loser’ according to which the wretched runner-up puts a smile on his/her face, shakes hands with the lucky bas… I mean winner and saunters away.

Coming back to America, if and when Trump actually claims to have won ’18 club championships’ and keeps on bragging in the same vein, where’s the harm? Why should anyone take umbrage at innocuous babbling?

As the veteran journalist Rick Reilly himself can attest, inflated claims coupled with a whiff of arrogance make good copy. Besides, Trump’s golf stories appear simply amateurish when compared to the trash talk of Muhammad Ali, arguably the most venerated sports personality of the past century.

In short, Trump the golfer doesn’t ’explain’ Trump the president. Motormouths are part and parcel of every sport. Trump’s golf talk merely makes one wonder, especially this week, whether he should have chosen to channel his formidable energies into sport instead of politics.


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