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Rating the Presidential Candidates By Athletic Ability


Photo credit: Business Insider

As the 2016 presidential race kicks into high gear, and Barack Obama gets set to pass the political football to his successor, you may be wondering “Who’s the best jock for the job?”

Okay, maybe you’re not wondering that. Still, many modern presidents have had strong sports associations, from George H.W. Bush’s playing days on Yale’s baseball team to Obama’s golf and basketball habits.

It’s a proven fact that playing sports develops good characteristics, like teamwork and discipline. And practicing how to cheat and get away with it.

For what it’s worth, here’s a breakdown of the main candidates’ athletic backgrounds or influences, and how it might translate to votes and political applications.

Jeb Bush was captain of his prep school tennis team. Those skills might come into play at some point, like volleying issues back and forth with other world leaders. Or, maybe physically clobbering Putin with a racquet. Otherwise, tennis may not be a big help. (B-)

Ben Carson, while appearing to be fit, does not seem to have any actual experience in sports, other than playing with his kids in the back yard. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. However, even Obama would probably poke fun at Carson’s basketball form and uniform in this picture:

Ben Carson-hoops-Vince Rodriguez

Photo credit: Victor Rodriguez

Untuck the shirt and ditch the belt. Come on, Ben! It’s game day! (C-)

John Kasich may not be much better at hoops. During a campaign stop at a gymnasium in New Hampshire, he displayed an ugly jump shot. But, at least he had the persistence to get the job done that day from behind the three-point arc, finally connecting on his ninth attempt in front of reporters and cameras. The only problem is: you don’t get nine tries to fix the economy or prevent a world war. (C)

Martin O’Malley maintains his physical fitness by following the rigorous P90X video workouts. If you’ve seen pictures of the former Maryland governor without a shirt, it’s clear that “gun control” is not an issue. (B+)

Ted Cruz has no apparent connection to sports other than through his body man. Bruce Redden was a placekicker for the Oklahoma State football team before hanging up his cleats and picking up a briefcase to trail Cruz around. Also, Cruz admits to playing some sports as a teenager, but only to avoid further ridicule he received as a young nerd. Cruz coincidentally resembles current Duke basketball star Grayson Allen, as The Washington Post pointed out in a 2015 photo comparison:


Cruz is the one on the right. Of course. (D)

Marco Rubio played defensive back at a Miami high school and was good enough to score a football scholarship to Tarkio College in Missouri, where he spent one year before eventually securing degrees at the University of Florida and the University of Miami. If he’d played football at either of those schools, he wouldn’t be where he is today. (A-)

Rand Paul also played defensive back at his high school in Texas, and was on the swim team at Baylor University. So, he may be the field’s top pure athlete. (A-)

Chris Christie was a catcher on his high school baseball team. The position calls for brains and is considered a grind on the body, just like a political campaign. Christie’s body and popularity may be past their prime. (B)

Bernie Sanders ran track in high school and claims he once notched a 4:37 mile. The Vermont senator grew up a big Brooklyn Dodgers’ baseball fan and played slow-pitch softball for a team called the People’s Republic of Burlington. From the looks of the photo below, he wouldn’t have any problems throwing out the first pitch on Opening Day. But if he’s doing it as President, he’d better not go underhand. (B+)

bernie sanders-softball

Photo credit: Burlington Free Press

Donald Trump warns that the socialism Sanders espouses will eliminate golf, a sport that is currently struggling on its own in many areas around the country. Trump is a single-digit golf handicapper. His game will no doubt suffer if he ever really gets the chance to Make America Great Again. (B)

Hillary Clinton has listed speed-walking as a pastime she’s enjoyed. So, she might want to pick up the pace. (D)

Based on these stats, who do you like in 2016?

Dave Coombs hosts a morning radio show on 100.7 FM WUTQ. He rides a bike and will never run for president.

Cult of Humanity


(The Observer-Dispatch, 10/18/15)

Monday on our radio show, after a week of having our sensibilities bombarded with details, thoughts, and images involving the abhorrent revelations about the Word of Life Church here in our community, we turned to renowned and eloquent cult expert Rick Ross. Beginning with the question in the headline above from our local newspaper, this exchange transpired:

If this description sounds familiar, it should come as no surprise.

As I’ve been privately and publicly mulling over the lurid details and bloody behavior of the cult-like group at a church which sits exactly 3.5 miles from my front door, it has struck me that we’ve all been close to twisted human programming of various types and in varying degrees.

While very few of us have endured anything like the atrocities at the so-called “Christian” church in Chadwicks, we’ve undoubtedly experienced or witnessed some of what Mr. Ross described. How many of us have been in or observed a marriage or relationship in which one individual holds another “captive” in some fashion?

Maybe it’s a controlling spouse, bent on psychological domination over her partner or family. Or, perhaps it’s an alcoholic, whose moods shackle the ones he supposedly loves the most. We’ve certainly seen these types of characters depicted in popular movies like the aptly-named Ordinary People or Gone Girl.

How about the boss who leverages his power against employees and utilizes threats and coercion to achieve results? Simon Synek’s book “Start with Why” examines once-successful businesses in the early stages of failure. He theorizes that when companies lose sight of the passions and mission statements that drove their humble beginnings, “manipulations start to dominate not only how the company sells its wares but how they retain employees,” and then tactics such as “instilling fear in people become the only way to hold on to talent.”

And we’ve all encountered bullies who use physical force or superior attitudes in day-to-day life to control the people and/or situations around them.

Quite often WE are complicit in allowing the destructive behavior to occur, dooming our lives, when we could be rescuing them. Speaking up is a good place to start. It’s a strategy we covered on a show recently with New York State Senator Joe Griffo:

Good idea. See something, say something. Stop a shooting. Bust a bully. Call out a cult. Save someone. Save yourself. Of course there are no guarantees, but certainly nothing will come of doing nothing.

Dave Coombs is the morning host for “The Talk of the Town” on 100.7 FM WUTQ/Utica-Rome.

Running Around

2015 Boilermaker-blues bros

The 2015 Boilermaker 15K road race in Utica featured everything from ballerinas to Blues Brothers to a finish-line wedding proposal. Spoiler alert: she said “yes” and the Kenyans won again.

The best parts about driving around in a car instead of running: I got to to see the start, the finish, and catch a few different vantage points of the race in between. And I wasn’t tired at all.

Despite failing to train properly for weeks in advance, my wife still managed to turn in an excellent time. Mostly because she “drafted” behind maybe the biggest bun in the history of hair. Beth’s Garmin GPS runner’s watch factored her drag coefficient at roughly 27% better than normal, thanks to the woman’s coif in front of her.

2015 Boilermaker-bun

And the girl on Beth’s other flank won the 2015 Boilermaker award for Best Usage of Kinesiology Tape. (Even though it’s designed to enhance athletic performance on things like knees, I’m thinking about applying KT to my intimate parts to see what that does. For research purposes only!)

There were some other standout award winners along the race route. The folks from KISS FM did a great job with the music and energy. And these gals had some great signs at the turn from the Parkway onto Genesee Street:

2015 Boilermaker-signs

Anyone who is actually running away from someone else’s angry spouse in real life, please send me a private note; I’d love to incorporate you into a funny reality segment called Infidelity Survivor that I’m developing for my new radio show. (True identities will be kept anonymous to protect the innocent…and the guilty.)

The thematic runners are always fun, and did not disappoint this year. The ballerinas in my shot below were the only females (but apparently not the only humans) wearing tutus. The Blues Brothers clones pictured in black suits at the top of this post could not have been very comfortable in the heat.

2015 Boilermaker-ballerinas

My stepdaughter Katie is planning a theme for next year with her equestrian pals, running in full attire. If they’re really ambitious, they’ll convince some boys to run in front of them, dressed as horses. And they’ll deploy some riding crops.

The finish line at Saranac Brewery, with beer and food, is of course the promised land for the runners. And also for a lot of freeloaders looking to save on groceries for the week. This shot captured my wife right before she hit the tape:

2015 Boilermaker-finish line

Beth’s the one with the bright yellow shirt in the lower left corner, finishing just behind the Kenyans.

Dave Coombs is a longtime morning radio host. His car runs just fine.

A Song in Our Hearts


Question: What am I doing on a television set (above) outside a hockey arena on a 70-degree day in June?

Answer: The Utica Comets are playing in the American Hockey League’s 2015 Calder Cup championship series. My Comets song is getting monstrous radio airplay. And, with the help of WKTV, Utica’s NBC affiliate, it’s been turned into a music video.

The David and Goliath hockey tale is one step closer to completion. The Utica Comets, playing in the smallest market and tiniest arena in the AHL, need just three more wins for a Calder Cup title. An exciting 3-2 victory over Manchester Wednesday night in Game 3 cut the Monarchs’ 2-0 lead in half.

The song, “Utica,” a takeoff on Van Halen’s 1984 hit “Panama,” is becoming a hit over the Mohawk Valley airwaves. Here’s my prior post on the interesting creation of the parody.

Tom Starr, program director at WXUR, 92.7 The Drive, whose station has been playing the tune in heavy rotation, said his veteran air staff tells him “it’s generated an unprecedented response to each play.”

Here are the lyrics:

Comets fans know that sound
Another goal at The Aud downtown
Hot team…they’re Built for This
Flick of the wrist…they can’t miss
The Comets are just like our family
A hockey team we trust
Cuz they play for us
Utica, Utica, Utica, Utica

Now, more stations are playing the song. And I’ve been getting requests from folks for a downloadable version, so they can add it to their pods, pads, phones, cassette decks, 8-track machines, whatever. So here you go:

Download UTICA


If you’d rather not download, but just LISTEN to the song, here’s that:

Enjoy the song. It now belongs to the community, just like the Comets. Let’s cheer them on to a series-tying win Friday night at The Aud.

And if you see the Monarchs players around town the next few days, don’t give them any additional motivation against the Comets. Kill them with kindness. Buy them a beer or an extra donut.

Dave Coombs in August 2015 started as morning host on 100.7 FM WUTQ. He looks a lot better on radio than TV.

The Secret Life of a Parody Song



I don’t know nearly as much about hockey as some of the rabid fans in Central New York’s Mohawk Valley, where folks played the sport growing up and/or in adult leagues, or they’ve spent most of their parenthood and gasoline budget shuttling kids to and from practices and games.

So, the best way for me to aid the Utica Comets and their legion of fans, and show support for the franchise’s magical minor league hockey season was to come up with a song.

Thus was hatched my knock-off of Van Halen’s classic “Panama” in honor of the Comets. Precisely, in the middle of the night. Unable to sleep and driven by this singular mission, songs drifted through my brain and were eliminated one by one, just like Comets’ opponents this year.

Song titles rhyming with “Comets” didn’t cut it. For instance, great options like The Who’s “You Better You Bet” and “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” by Bachman Turner Overdrive were dismissed because the parody lyrics would come out as Kah-METS instead of KAH-mets. As Mike Myers says in View From the Top, you’d be putting “the wrong em-PHA-sis on the wrong syl-OBBLE.”

Ditching the rhyming route, I considered up-tempo hits that would sound great on the radio or in a packed barn of hockey fans. “Gimme Some Lovin'” by the Spencer Davis Group and Eric Clapton’s rowdy remake of J.J. Cale’s “After Midnight” came to mind. But the key parody lyrics matching these songs were wide of the goal.

Then I decided to go with a blockbuster artist. About the same moment I thought of Van Halen and their repetitive but catchy “Panama” hook, the rhythmic “U-ti-ca” chant from “The Office” that Comets fans use at games was pounding in my head…and there it was.

YouTube had a great karaoke version of the song, along with a clip of the horn the Comets use to signal goals, and some noise from a game at The Aud with fans jingling cow bells.

David Lee Roth himself, injured recently in a baton-twirling stunt on The Jimmy Kimmel Show, was not available. But, on short notice, I was able to get a buddy whose David Lee Roth impression I’ve utilized previously on the radio, and the rest is history.

Within hours of completion, “Utica” was ON the air at 92.7 The Drive (WXUR) and IN the air at The Aud as the Comets clinched the AHL Western Conference title. (Note to TV stations: let’s get going with a video version!)

Here’s hoping the song reaches #1 in the Mohawk Valley and the Comets (who, as I wrote in an earlier post, deserve all the credit in the world) finish #1 in the Calder Cup championship series.

Dave Coombs is now the morning host on 100.7 FM WUTQ and still has an incurable parody song addiction.

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