It takes a MOB to bring the Games to town

Categorized as 10/26/09 Goshen News column

Okay. I admit it. I’m an Olympics junkie. It’s my thing.

Part of it is the patriotism I feel when I see our athletes in competition. Part of it is the sheer joy of watching people who are in the best in the world at what they do. Throw in an emotional story about what one of our own has overcome to get there, and I’m a mess.

When it was announced that Chicago was in the running for 2016, I was thrilled. My Olympic fever spiked. I had visions of ringside seats as our gymnasts leapt and tumbled, along with colorful images of Mr. Schrock and me sitting trackside, urging our runners on to glory.

Imagine my disappointment when I learned that the presidential contingent had been sent home with its tail between its legs. While Rio de Janeiro was going nuts, I was in a funk, wondering what on earth went wrong.

After mulling it over, I’ve decided it was simply a case of sending the wrong people. You’d think they’d know by now that they should never send politicians and celebrities to do a mom’s job. Furthermore, for the really big stuff, you just don’t mess around. You send in a MOB (Mother of Boys).

That’s because it requires enormous creativity and the cunning of a fox to stay ahead of such hooligans, not to mention the negotiating skills of a U.N. diplomat. After all, brokering a truce between two warring factions on your living room floor makes Middle East peace look like child’s play. And getting a hungry boy to back away from the cookie jar, leaving the cookies intact? Now, that’s diplomacy.

Apparently Rahm Emanuel lost my phone number because I never got the nod to join the president in making his pitch. It’s really too bad. I’ve got some ideas I’ll bet the committee’s never heard before.

If I were ever called upon to serve my country, I imagine my approach would go something like this.

“Why?” I ask the committee. “Why should the games only be about young, fit athletes with muscles everywhere competing against other young, fit athletes with muscles everywhere?

“You’re losing people over the age of 30,” I tell them. Men just can’t identify with skinny skaters in tights, and the women lost interest in Greco Roman wrestling years ago. Viewership will decline and ticket sales will drop like the Dow if we don’t change things up.”

Half the committee now has one eyebrow inching up toward the hairline. So I hasten on.

“Look,” I say. “Adding golf and rugby is a good start, but – golf and rugby? Can we all say ‘boring?’ Let’s include mothers for once, shall we, by debuting a diaper changing competition in 2016. We’ve got some of the best changing tables in the world in Chicago, and we’re ready to build a state-of-the-art nursery just for the Games.”

At this point, I make eye contact with Ms. Canada and Ms. Aruba. They’re leaning forward slightly in their folding chairs, the light of motherhood gleaming in their eyes. I press on.

“Everyone knows,” I continue, “that a mother’s sense of smell is the keenest in the world. A mom with any experience at all can tell from 50 paces if her child’s socks and underwear are clean or dirty. Even in a crowded room. Even with a head cold.” (Ms. Morocco and Ms. Italy are nodding in vigorous agreement. Now I’ve got them onboard.)

“We’re not called the Windy City for nothing. Holding the sniffing competition in a stiff wind coming off of Lake Michigan would test their abilities to the nth degree. There’s a street corner right along the Magnificent Mile that would be fabulous for that.”

Glancing at the male members of the committee, I note that their eyebrows are drawn across their collective foreheads like black woolly caterpillars marching single file. I’m losing them.

“Men,” I say, looking each one in the eye. “It’s just not fair that you’ve been excluded from the Games. I have an idea that would give each of you a crack at the gold.” Without batting an eye, I reach into my purse and withdraw an object.

Holding high a remote control, I thunder, “If this august committee would sanction speed clicking as an official Olympic sport, it would give every male from 6 to 96 a chance to bring glory to mother and country!”

At this, the entire male contingent is sitting bolt upright, thumbs twitching involuntarily, all except for Mr. Netherlands, who is sitting on his hands.

“Lastly,” I enthuse, reaching into the depths of my purse again, “we believe that the Games should come to Chicago because (and here my voice drops) Mr. Giordano lives there.” At their confused expressions, I plop a piece of Chicago-style, deep-dish Giordano’s pizza before the now-drooling committee members.

The voting afterward with sauce-stained paddles is a mere formality. Rio, eat your heart out. Take that, Madrid and Tokyo. You’re welcome, Rahm.

And that’s how you bring the Games to town.

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