The Chicago Tribune
March 28, 2009
All's fair in suggestions for Chicago-style Games
By John Kass
A delegation from the International Olympic Committee arrives here this week, ready to be romanced by Mayor Richard Daley, who is in desperate lust to host the 2016 Olympic Games in Chicago.
And we need to help him.
We all can't ride to the fancy banquets in limousines over streets that have actually had the potholes fixed. Somebody has to put extra quarters in the meters to assist Chicago's Olympic bid.
But even so, you can offer the IOC some real Chicago-style hospitality.
Let's give the IOC some suggestions for real, Chicago-style Olympic sporting events, so that the 2016 Olympics will have anauthentic Chicago flavor.
Please send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Then I'll run them in the column to let the IOC know how much the Olympics—and all the costs that come with it—mean to you.
I'm talking Chicago-style events like the Bag-Man Relay Races, or the Bag-O-Quarters Clean-and-Jerk Parking Meter competition; and the 100-Meter Dash to Affirmative Action Contracts Won by White Guys.
Or, perhaps one of you might suggest that the IOC adopt the most important event of the 2016 Chicago Olympics:
Hide the Subcontractor.
Another exciting Chicago Olympic event might be the 400-Meter Real Estate Pairs Run.
In this race, teams of the world's fastest sprinters would be handcuffed together in Washington Park to run to the edge of the Olympic footprint and use municipal pension funds to buy up all the available real estate.
Naturally, our team of Chicago all-stars—Robert Vanecko, the mayor's nephew, and Allison Davis, President Barack Obama's former boss—would win the gold.
Colleagues suggested a Chicago Garbage Truck Race, with blue city trucks weaving through a slalom course of telephone poles. The drivers would be selected at random from a pool of hostile, barely literate and completely unqualified political patronage hacks from each nation.
For extra thrills, IOC members and Chicago politicians will ride on the outside of the trucks, holding on like garbage men, and drivers would either lose or win points depending on whom they scrape off against a pole.
Naturally, we couldn't hold a Chicago Olympics without a true Chicago Secret Society Marathon. It would begin in Chinatown, roll past the pork chop sandwich place on 31st Street, then head southwest to Lemont, then back to Melrose Park to the D & P Construction offices, then through Elmwood Park, on east, to the finish line at the bar at Carmine's on Rush.
But these are my foolish ideas. I want the IOC to see yours. So send in your suggestions. We're waiting.
Actually, the guy who is waiting to read them is Wings, my able young apprentice. He was so eager for this assignment that the poor guy developed a fever and was forced to skip work and stay home to watch sports on TV, including the NCAA tournament, and was probably taking his medicine as I typed this paragraph.
But once he feels better, we'll publish as many as possible in my column on Page 2 of the Tribune this week.
That way, the IOC will get a true understanding of how eager many of you are to pledge your tax dollars, so that our politicians can leverage gazillions in real estate and infrastructure contracts, all in the name of pure amateur sport.
Just don't wait too long, because other news could get in the way, as the IOC learns about how clean and politically stable Illinois has become.
On Tuesday, the IOC will find out that the Illinois Reform Commission is announcing its recommendations on how to curb the ravenous appetites of our politicians who keep stealing our money and going to federal prison. We've got one governor behind bars, and another may be on the way, and neither got to touch an Olympics contract.
And Thursday may be the day when Rod Blagojevich, the former governor of Illinois, is indicted for allegedly trying to sell an appointment to the Senate to the highest bidder.
In the midst of it all, the mayor could be asked about reports that his son Patrick and nephew Vanecko require the services of a criminal lawyer as federal investigators probe influence peddling in public contracts.
Asking him about this with the IOC hanging around might be even more dangerous than poking the Bulgarian wrestling team with sharp sticks.
Yet our political people are so intent on winning the Games—and all that pure sport that comes with it—that they'll wine and dine the IOC members and charm them. By all accounts, the IOC consists of gentle foreigners with impeccable table manners, quite sophisticated in their own lands.
"But the IOC operates under the idea that sports is played on a level playing field," said Wings, before he fell ill. "Isn't that the Olympic ideal? That no advantage be given, that everyone competes equally, the Olympic Way?"
Yes, that is the Olympic Way.
And this is the, well, do I really have to say it? You know what way it is.
Just send in your suggestions. Please.