Monday, July 14, 2008

2016: The Distant Future

The great city of Chicago is one of the finalists to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. And if you’re in or around the city you’ve certainly heard the opposing sides to whether or not they should come:

“A considerable boost to the economy.”

“Yes, but do we really want the city infested with a bunch of non-English speaking foreigners who can’t drive as well as us.”

“Ah, a very good point. I mean, I’m happy to eat their food, but I don’t necessarily want them in my city.”

“I know! We’ll build a fence and keep them out!”

But I think the greater piece of this debate is being largely ignored:

The Olympics suck.

All this bullshit about national pride and love of the competition is all well and dandy, but do you honestly enjoy watching people run around a track or seeing who can throw a shotput farthest?

There is plenty of merit to the tradition that the Olympics represent. Jesse Owens gold medals in Germany during 1936 is one of the most socially symbolic moments of sport. Hell, I remember watching Kerri Strug. What she did was one of the most unbelievably brave things I’ve ever seen.

Did that change what I thought about gymnastics? Were they suddenly interesting to me? No.

I watch one Olympic event when they’re on. Hockey. Because I actually had the chance to see it. It was on NBC and I have never had Versus, so it’s exciting to actually watch hockey. And I don’t even root for America in Olympic hockey. I root for whatever the team most of the Rangers are playing for. In 2006 it was Sweden. And they won! Shit was I proud to be a Swede on that day!

If the college kids were still what made up the Olympic basketball team I would watch that. I like college basketball. But now it’s the NBA, and if I may borrow from Will Leitch’s God Save The Fan, do you think the notion of “playing for America” really makes a difference to LeBron James? Not a fucking chance.

I have no vested interest in the Summer Olympic events and couldn’t care less if America wins. Chicago or no Chicago, I won’t be watching.

And the economic boost that may or may not come (they sure helped Montreal in the 70’s), what becomes of it? Money into public housing? Actually making an effort to do something about the fact that Chicago is one of the most racially, socially, and economically segregated cities in the country? I am somehow a skeptic. I don’t foresee and of that economic boost being sent down to the people now living in Bloomington that got booted out of Cabrini Green.

I love Chicago. Unconditionally. And I want to live there. Come 2016, I don’t want to deal with all the bullshit surrounding something that I don’t care about. I don’t want the athletes. I don’t want the fans. And I don’t want anyone infringing on my right to eat dogs.

1 comment:

dave@etd said...

I think the olympics would be great for Chicago, it would open the world's eyes to its pasty residents who won't stfu about how great Chicago is.

People who are from Chicago are like people who went to Notre Dame - you never have to ask them to volunteer the information. They will do it. Over. And over. And over again.