The obligatory story on my hometown, Chicago losing the Olympics.
October 5, 2009
Chicago: “We wuz robbed!”
I’m with Kevin Lynch. I didn’t want the damn games anyway. Or should I say I didn’t want to pay for them. Anyone who lives here knows that making good on Mayor Daley’s promises can be costly. A 2016 Chicago Olympics would have created the Mother of all Overages. Our taxes are already higher than most.
For much of the hullabaloo leading up to Friday’s bid announcement I stood outside the fray, secretly wishing the whole thing weren’t really happening. Part of my ambivalence was based, I think, on one of the very reasons we may have lost: arrogance. It kind of irked me that O&O (Obama & Oprah) were so involved in this thing. That, and I had become weary from all the propaganda strewn about our city, which, in my opinion, wasn’t very…how do I say it… good. I kept seeing the word IMAGINE and I kept imagining the traffic, the people, the security, the lines, the detours…Basically, I imagined the 2016 Olympics as an epic clusterfuck.
Then on Friday I woke up with a changed mind! To my own surprise, I actually wanted the games to come to Chicago. Why the about face? As an advertising man, I realized many of our clients would probably want to participate and that meant opportunity: creative and financial. I also thought about all the federal money that would have poured in to Chicago for infrastructure repairs. Ask my low-riding Saab if it would like new roads. Last but not least, my kids would have loved it. Ah yes, there it is: the kid card. But I couldn’t deny it. Children love their Olympic games. Hosting them would have made their hometown seem like a circus…as opposed to a clusterfuck.
And then, in Cub-like fashion, we lost. Not just lost but dinged in the first round. I hadn’t even checked my morning emails before the tweets came pouring over the transom. My favorite: “Tweet rhymes with Defeat!”
In the end, my city lost a new business pitch. Pat Ryan. Mayor Daley. President Obama. I watched them all try and put a good face on it. Because that’s what leaders do when they lose a pitch -especially one they thought for sure they would win. It’s hard to do. I know. I’ve been there.
Note: Olympic handcuffs courtesy of AdScam/The Horror!