Every home game between the top and the bottom of the fourth inning, four of our finest presidents line up in centerfield and race for the glory of the evening.
This is a grand tradition in our Nation’s Capitol, to see some of the finest men ever to dawn our fair city gruel it out in a battle of brute strength, athleticism, and determination.
Yet despite 261 races our 26th president, Teddy Roosevelt remains winless. Which leads to the obvious question, why can’t Teddy win?
Born in New York City in 1858, Teddy’s racing potential looked bleak at a young age. The youngster was sickly and asthmatic. Roosevelt was forced to sleep propped up in order to keep his airwaves open and promote healthy breathing. However for most success stories in American History, the thing that handicapped Teddy early on made him stronger.
Roosevelt’s father pushed his son to take up exercise to combat his poor physical conditions. Once he started exercising to improve his condition he found it was the best way to cure his ills and he grew stronger and stronger. To stick up for himself on the streets of New York, Roosevelt Sr. taught Teddy to box.
Roosevelt grew up to be notoriously tough, and a model of masculinity. After his first stint in politics Teddy built a farm in the Badlands of North Dakota. In the Badlands Roosevelt made himself a deputy sheriff, and single handedly hunted down and captured three outlaws who stole his riverboat. The future president opted not to hang the trio as he did not wish to support vigilante justice on the wild frontier. Instead, Teddy stayed awake for 40 hours straight guarding the bandits at gun point until further legal help could arrive.
While Roosevelt may have been a cowboy he certainly wasn’t a loner. When his country went to war in 1888 he did more than answer his call to duty. The future president organized his own troop of cronies to form the U.S First Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, also known as the Rough Riders.
Roosevelt road with the riders to his famous charges up Kettle and San Juan Hill, where he showed valiant courage and leadership, all as a volunteer. For his heroics Roosevelt was awarded the Medal of Honor.
After his presidency, Roosevelt grew tired of the city life and went on a now famous safari in Africa. This was not you’re modern tourist safari however; this was a real life exhibition up the Nile and through the Sudan. A true outdoorsman, and a natural hunter, Roosevelt lead his troop to the conquering of 11,397 animals, including 512 big game animals.
Lastly, as a true testament of his sheer strength, determination and manliness, is the story of his hardly known assassination attempt. In 1912 amidst a political comeback, Roosevelt was campaigning for his newly formed Bull Moose Party, when he was shot in his chest. Despite multiple suggestions that he should forgo his campaign speech and go to the hospital, Roosevelt drew on his vast experience of well, being a badass, and realized since he wasn’t coughing blood that the bullet had not entered his lung. In Roosevelt’s eyes, he was fine. The former president spoke 90 minutes to the crowd, while bleeding, opening with the line, “Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot: but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.”
So how can this president box against bullies as a child, gallantly charge hills in the Spanish American War, take a shot to the chest, and hunt down bandits and big game, yet not beat the other three presidents in a foot race?
Lets look at the competition:
Abraham Lincoln (100 victories): Lincoln, standing a commanding 6 foot 4 was notorious for his brute strength which was often demonstrated in his tremendous ability with the axe. Lincoln was also a tremendous wrestler who was considered to have the strength of three men
George Washington (66 victories): Washington, standing 6 foot 2 inches tall is one of this countries all time greatest generals. While he spent most of his formidable years studying surveying and the art of war, Washington did cut down a cherry tree at the age of 12….
Thomas Jefferson (58 victories): A brilliant man and writer, Jefferson was also a book worm. Jefferson grew up with money and lived with it through his whole life. While he was perhaps the most noble man to make up our founding fathers, his foot speed is seriously questionable (plus he has to be tired from standing up for the last 62 years)
Roosevelt’s commitment to physical fitness and his experience as a boxer should have provided him with the proper physical abilities to win the nightly race. Boxing creates strong lateral quickness as well as quick feet with good footwork, one would think Teddy would have a strong advantage here over the other presidents who remained stationary much of their adult lives.
Only George Washington can arguably match Teddy’s courageousness, at least as proven on the battle field. Yet While George fought for the independence of our great nation he did so as a general behind the scenes, and was not in the trenches as Roosevelt was with the Rough Riders.
Regardless of physical ability it is clear that with true intangibles Teddy Roosevelt is the Michael Jordan of presidents. Even with the flu, or in his case a shot to the chest, Roosevelt should be able to pull out a victory against even a worthy opponent like Abraham Lincoln.
Perhaps Roosevelt never fully recovered from the shot to the chest that one fateful day. Perhaps riding around on that horse all day destroyed his joints and left his running muscles depleted, or perhaps sparing that black bear which was inevitably named Teddy Bear was the turning point into softening up the once hard-nosed athlete.
Whatever the reason, it is clear that Roosevelt has the ability to win at least one of these races, which can only lead to one logical conclusion: a conspiracy.