I am not an economist. I am not a political scientist. I am not a resident of Chicago.
For these reasons, and for many more, I am totally unqualified for having a logical reason to support Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympics. So I won’t try to offer one.
I support the bid.
The only argument I can make with any authenticity is this. It would be freakin’ sweet. Having the Olympics in Chicago would probably pad the pockets of a lot of rich and unscrupulous people. It would be a feather in the cap of the Daley Machine. It would cripple regular commerce for two weeks, and make getting around the city a nightmare.
It would also be the single coolest thing to ever happen in my lifetime. The closest I have ever been to the Olympics was when the torch relay passed through Saint Louis in 2004. There were a few hundred people lining the streets of Webster Groves to watch someone holding a big candle jog by. It was awesome.
The prospect of being able to go to an Olympic event – any event – is so exciting to me. I love the Olympics. When the Summer Games are on TV I try to watch as much as humanly possible. I love all the events, but especially the small-ticket events like table tennis and badminton.
In 2016 my daughter will be nine years old, and to take her to a gymnastics event or a women’s basketball game would be so amazing. I would love to see a medal presentation. Just to watch as some athlete is given that medal, to stand as their nation’s flag is raised would give me so much joy.
In a couple of days the IOC will make their decision. A few months ago Chicago was in third place. As far as I’m concerned, Chicago is not third place in anything. Recently my wife and I were strolling Michigan Avenue on a fall evening. All I could think of was, “This has got to be the most beautiful city in the world. How cool would it be for the whole world to know it.”
So yes, I support the bid. You may not, and you can quote all the figures from past Olympics that finished in the red. You can warn me about the politicos, and maybe even mafia connections that will profit. You can make logical, fiscally responsible argument. You won’t convince me.
My apologies to Carl Sandburg, but:
They tell me Chicago is wicked, and I will believe them.
They tell me Chicago is crooked and I answer, “Yes.”
They tell me Chicago is brutal, and my reply is, I have seen it.
And having answered so I turn once more to those who
sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer
and say to them:
Come and show me another city with lifted head singing
so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.
Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on
job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the
little soft cities.
I love Chicago, and I’m hoping to show those that sneer at this my city, that an Olympics in 2016 would be the coolest thing to happen in my lifetime.