The Boston Olympics Redux…

It snowed a whole lot in the Boston area this winter. I suspect that lots of people there had more than a few moments tucked inside their homes with no real prospects of going anywhere and some used those moments to reflect on matters of import. I suspect some folks resolved their feelings for others in those moments; others may have pondered some of the big social/political issues of the day; others may have taken the time to completely restructure their finances. It would appear to me that some of the folks who are involved with Boston 2024 – the group behind Boston’s bid to get the Summer Olympics to that city – used that contemplative time pondering this question:

    Is this REALLY a good idea?

According to reports, the Chairman of Boston 2024 told area business leaders that the organization is going to get signatures on a petition to put a question on the 2016 ballot in Massachusetts asking if Boston 2024 should really make a final bid for the Games. Boston 2024 is a privately funded entity so no one involved there would run afoul of Boston mayor, Marty Walsh, and his edict that no city employee can speak ill of the Olympics, the IOC, the USOC or Boston’s bid for the games. Chairman John Fish reportedly told the business leaders that if the ballot referendum is not supported by a majority of the voters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Boston 2024 will cease and desist with its efforts to pull together the final bid.

I read several accounts of Fish’s remarks and one of them said that he also indicated that Boston 2024 would stand down even with a majority in that referendum if the question did not also get a majority vote in the City of Boston. That added stipulation is not included in all of the reporting so I wonder about its validity. Nevertheless, what started out in a state of euphoria with Mayor Walsh approaching Nirvana in his joy seems to be coming into focus with reality. There is plenty of time between now and November 2016 when the referendum question will be on the ballot for politicking and deal-making; however, as a starting point, consider this:

    A local radio station – WBUR-FM – conducted a poll of 500 Boston residents and found only 36% of the people polled supported the idea of Boston bidding for the Games.

It is not as if Boston politicians have never faced the problem of selling an unpopular idea to the voters. However, this may not be the slam-dunk that Mayor Walsh envisioned in his euphoric state a couple of months ago. Time to put the political operatives out on the streets…

Arizona State fired basketball coach, Herb Sendek, earlier this week. Sendek had been at ASU for 9 seasons; in that time his record there was 155-133 but his PAC-12 conference record was only 68-86. His teams had been to the NCAA tournament twice and to the NIT four times in those 9 seasons. I bring this up not because I think Herb Sendek got a raw deal; I bring this up because it reminded me to go and look for some other data.

Two years ago, Florida Gulf Coast University made a Cinderella run in the NCAA tournament making the Sweet 16 despite being seeded 15th in their region. They ran the court and dunked the ball and their coach, Andy Enfield had 15 minutes of fame. He bolted that job at the first opportunity to take the job at USC – another PAC-12 school. He has been there for 2 seasons and here is the USC record:

    Overall record is 23-41
    PAC -12 record is 5-31

    USC has finished 12th in the PAC-12 in both seasons. Finishing 12th in a 12 team conference means they finished dead last.

Two points here:

    1. Herb Sendek’s record does not look so bad in juxtaposition.

    2. A coaching system that works against opponents such as Ave Maria, Florida Tech and Stetson does not always work as well against better competition.

As I was watching the tournament games, I had to notice that every announcing team had a “sideline announcer” appended to it. Those folks demonstrated yet again that sideline reporting and interviews with coaches at halftime represents very low grade ore. Other than the time when Richard Sherman called out Michael Crabtree right after the NFC Championship Game when interviewed on the field, I am hard-pressed to recall a sideline interview that contained anything bordering on informative – let alone newsworthy. The only good thing I would say about the sideline reporters for this year’s tournament is that I never saw one of them go into the stands and stick a microphone in front of a parent or other family member of a player or coach and ask something inane such as:

How does it feel to [fill in the blank]…?

Finally, Scott Ostler of the SF Chronicle had this observation about athletes seeking trademarks:

“Jameis Winston’s marketing agency is attempting to trademark his college nickname, Famous Jameis,’ to protect his ‘intellectual property.’ Legal experts say this would be the least-intellectual intellectual property since ‘Kiss my grits.’

“ ‘This better not be about cookies,’ said Famous Amos.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………