Giving Boston the U.S. Olympic bid is a travesty of justice
My fellow Americans,
We have made a grave mistake.
America, I am ashamed to let you know that we somehow let the once-venerable United States Olympic Committee award this great nation’s bid to host the most important sporting event on the planet to the city of Boston.
Boston, America. Chowder-ravaging, Jameson-swilling, busing-policies-rioting, police-bagpipe-playing, kah-key pahking, Matt Damon-chubbing, asshole-exemplifying Boston.
Sure, yes, Boston is a historic city that has made important contributions to American history. It’s a city of strength and resilience and so on, and if we’re being honest with ourselves, the cornbread from Boston Market is a national treasure.
But come on. Boston ceased contributing to American Society in any positive way whatsoever right around when Bill Russell retired, and even he recognized how fucked up of a place Boston could be. I mean seriously, the only discernable hobbies of Bostonians seem to be smoking, drinking Dunkin Donuts, talking about Boston, deflecting inquiry into Spygate, and painfully bifurcating the city along racial and class lines.
The city’s most famous exports are Kennedy’s, the co-star of Gigli, and cream pies.1 And while we’re at it, Boston is less a city than a garbled metropolitan area of suburbs and undergraduate dorms. Their beer is as overblown as the Bruins, and it’s not even made in Boston anyways. I fail to see why we’re entrusting one of the most expensive and visible athletic competitions on the planet to a city that routinely invests unthinkable sums of capital into Irish whiskey and Nomar Garciaparra jerseys.
Boston’s public transportation system sucks total shit, Boston College football hasn’t been relevant since Matt Ryan was perpetually disappointing BC fans before he was getting paid to perpetually disappoint Atlanta fans, that one girl you knew from high school who went to Harvard is still somehow prettier and more sociable than you, “Beantown” is the dumbest nickname since the first neolithic settlement, and you know what? Maybe Good Will Hunting wasn’t even that good.
And just to reiterate, this photo was taken during America’s bicentennial year the supposed Cradle of Liberty:
Worst of all, beyond class and race and accents and Curt Schilling, Boston just doesn’t need the Olympics. Nor do they deserve the games.
Bostonians are loud enough telling you about how great Boston is without Mary Carillo reciting a laundry list of Boston’s history and prominent figures. By now, Boston Pride has gotten as tired as John Kerry’s political career and as uninspired as post-Bourne Matt Damon. The city’s economy and infrastructure are doing just fine, and placing the games in Boston would bring out nothing but a tiresome and repetitive expression of colonial garb and shots of the Charles River, when in truth, pretty much all of America stopped rooting for Boston somewhere around the second act of Fever Pitch.
Instead of fumbling the U.S. Olympic bid away to Boston, we should have tried to give the Olympics to a city that actually needed and/or deserved it. A city with grand aspirations and a unique cultural identity that’s affixed to our national sense of self. A city with the space and infrastructure to host the games, perhaps with a need for a little economic and architectural infusion. A city where we won’t be forced even once to think of Tom Brady’s jaw structure or watch b-roll of Harvard’s crew team.
How about Chicago, an iconic city with both the infrastructure and lack of democratic process necessary to pull of the games? Although if even Chicago wasn’t able to bribe the IOC enough to bring home the games four years ago, we can assume that’s a mistake Boston won’t make this time around.
Okay, so fine, maybe not Chicago. But let’s get crazy — how about Detroit? A city with space and the desperate willingness to do anything, a city with an uplifting and compelling story in an urban environment that’s amenable to visionary rehabilitation. Not to mention a city with a deep and identifiable culture that goes beyond Cheers re-runs and the third-best Martin Scorsese movie. Seriously, how awesome and unexpected would a Detroit Olympics be, from the musical guests to the overwrought Chevy commercials?
Shit, even Seattle wouldn’t be a bad choice. At least we know that their fans wouldn’t have a problem jumping on the Olympic Equestrian Dressage bandwagon.
But honestly, any metropolitan area in the United States would have been a better location for the U.S. Olympic bid than Boston.
Boston claims to be Title Town, USA, a city of champions whose love of sport exudes from every poorly-planned street corner in the city. The champion part might be true, but the notion that Boston celebrates an unfettered love of sport in general is more of an affront to the spirit of the games than Bob Costas’ candy-ass interview questions.
Since the dawn of Red Auerbach, Boston has predominantly been known for its teams’ and fans’ slavish, fanatical, bordering-on-sociopathic devotion to winning and championships.3 And while that may be a uniquely American way of viewing sports, Boston’s relationship with sports is downright antithetical to the precepts of the Olympic Games: international fraternity, sportsmanship, celebration of the human form, and doping allegations. Well, some of them anyways. If Grantland Rice was right that the One Great Scorer marks not whether you won or lost but how well you played the game, then it’s clear which side of the scorecard Boston’s athletics fall on.
Boston sucks. Listening to Boston fans talk about how great the city and its teams are sucks. Jeb Bush’s presidency in 2024 is going to suck. So can’t we at least have a Summer Olympics that doesn’t suck?