"I don't want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf. I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal."
President Bush explaining why he has given up golf until the Iraq war is over
Ask not what I'm doing for my country, ask what I'm not doing for my country. Frankly, a lot. For instance, following President Bush's example, I'm not racing cars professionally until the price of oil drops back under $100 a barrel. As long as gasoline costs almost $4 a gallon it would just send the wrong signal to race my Honda Civic in the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500, the 24 Hours of Le Mans or the Paris to Dakar Rally.
That's not all. I am also giving up marathon running until we solve this whole global warming thing. As long as temperatures continue to rise at a frightening pace it is a good 10 to 20 degrees warmer where I live than it was just a couple months ago I don't want someone without air conditioning to see me all hot and sweaty and then start feeling even hotter. If temperatures continue to rise, I might, however, take up swimming, or at least wading.
I was planning to give up horse racing until that sport guarantees the health and safety of its horses but then Big Brown won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness and he's the favorite to win the Belmont and become the first horse to win the Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978 and I just can't not watch that. So I'm giving up horseshoes instead.
I am also giving up jai alai until the subprime mortgage crisis is over. As long as the economy is suffering because financial institutions bundled risky, zero-interest, zero-down payment loans under the faulty assumption that housing prices would always rise, it just isn't worth it to gamble away a single dollar on a sport that I don't even begin to remotely understand.
(I am also giving up poker until next payday and I have some money again.)
To show my solidarity for the Tibetan people in their fight against the Chinese government, I am also giving up rhythmic gymnastics until the Olympics are over in Beijing. I am also giving up rhythmic gymnastics until the Olympics are over in London in 2012. I am also giving up rhythmic gymnastics until the Olympics are over in Chicago, Paris, Madrid, Tokyo or whichever city wins the bid for the 2016 Games.
I am also giving up football until Bill Belichick, Roger Goodell and the Patriots come clean on Spygate. As long as there are serious allegations of cheating and the integrity of the league is under suspicion, it would send the wrong signal to appease their stonewalling by playing the sport. I will, however, continue to watch it on TV.
I am also giving up University of Washington football until my alma mater has a winning record again.
I am also giving up water skiing until the price of bottled water falls. As long as bottled water sells for three times more than gasoline it's just not worth it to ski on it. At least not skiing on potable fresh water. I won't rule out water skiing on the ocean.
And finally, I am also giving up soccer until all elected officials and all politicians campaigning for election prove their patriotism. Until all our politicians demonstrate they love America by wearing a flag lapel pin and also wearing those star-spangled Uncle Sam costumes with the red-striped pants, I think it would send the wrong signal to watch a sport that is so popular in countries that hate us.
In a related move, I won't give up baseball but I will watch only the American League.
Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com.