You may have heard the news that a city near and dear to me has just been picked to be the United States candidate to host the Summer Olympic Games in 2024.
I was lucky regarding Olympics – in 1976, nearby Montreal hosted the Summer Games, and my parents did all the business of saving, planning, and getting us up there to see them.
I was a wee lad at the time, but I remember enough that it stuck with me. We weren’t able to get tickets for basketball, the ceremonies, or some of the gymnastics (We weren’t there for Nadia’s perfect 10), but we spent a lot of time in that stadium watching the track and field events.
Some twenty years later, just weeks after Mrs. TriSec and I were married, the games took place in reachable Atlanta. We had toyed with honeymooning down there, but the cost was prohibitive for “ordinary” folks to attend many of the events. So we wound up on the West Coast instead.
You know that in this century, Boston has styled itself as “City of Champions”. With multiple Baseball trophies, and a few in those other sports, plus colleges, marathon, Head of the Charles, and many other things...there’s a legitimate case to be made.
For years now, the city has submitted a quadrennial bid to be a host city. And for years now, the USOC has shaken us off and picked somebody else. But something finally clicked this time around, and here we are!
But no sooner had the news broke, than a long line of pundits, politicians, and ordinary citizens started lining up to tell the world why it was a bad choice.
“The city is too small”
“It will cost too much”
“There’s too much political corruption”
“Our infrastructure can’t support it”
“There will be too much traffic”
Some perhaps legitimate concern…except that last one. You’ve never been to Kenmore Square when the Sox were playing, or sat on 128 South headed for the Cape on a July Friday? Sorry, at least that point is invalid. We can’t have an Olympics because it will add time to your commute? Sorry, no. But I digress.
Two Aprils ago now, a couple of dunderheads blew some things up at a sporting event. People were killed and injured, and indeed the event was completely disrupted and cancelled. This city responded the only way we know how; with anger and defiance. (See also: 1775) While it’s a poor reason, and I’m the only person thinking this, perhaps the USOC saw how we handled this, saw how the city bound itself together, and saw what we did in the ensuing year to recover, and felt that maybe we had the wherewithal to handle an Olympics?
I shouldn’t have to tell you about civic pride. You all know my feelings about this City; perhaps to a fault. I was born here, grew up here, went to school here, got married here, and now am raising my own family here. I have so far spent my entire life no further than 10 miles from where I was born. I was tangling with a poster in a local website’s comments section yesterday. I told the haters that they had plenty of time to leave the city before the Olympics got here. The poster responded with something about it not being a lack of civic pride, but was more about the challenges and roadblocks faced to hosting such an event.
This is where I must disagree. Since the news broke, I have not seen anyone come out and say it’s a great thing, with the sole exception of Mayor Walsh. Every pundit, politician, and citizen has come out with a laundry list why we can’t have it here – nobody, but nobody has said why we CAN.
That isn’t civic pride at all – that’s Nimby Naysayer, front and center.