Friday, January 17, 2014



Why is it that the arrogant barons of sport pay more attention to their free hotel suites and caterers than they do to weather and the real world where mere athletes have to play in silly conditions?
Of course I am referring to the Australian Open of tennis, where temperatures have soared past 40C - which is hot even for those of us who still love Farenheit calculations. So Frank Dancevic of Canada sees visions of cartoon characters rather than the ball, and then passes out, and players spend more time thinking of their next drink of cold water than the next serve.
(Reminds me of playing tennis in July in Houston. We played under shed roofs, which gave us protection from the sun but not the incredible humidity. The guy in the next shed had a heart attack. Which was all the excuse I needed to stop.)
My introduction to the smug world of the badgers, in control more because of the old boys' network than common sense or ability, came when they were considering Toronto as a possible Olympic site.
I dug out the fact that they wanted to hold the Summer Olympics later in the Toronto summer, which would kill the CNE that year and probably other activities like the Royal. After all, Exhibition Place was supposed to be one of the main sites for activities, not that all the smug men and women running around to mount our bid paid any attention to actually consulting those of us who were directors or governors of the fair and its landlord.
Now the Ex may have been fifth in the world in annual fairs, but it is considered small potatoes compared to the Olympics, which sucks billions in taxes out of countries in a galling continuation of the rulers of ancient Rome who kept the masses happy with bread and circuses.
I can understand that the Olympics were far more important, but just  moving the Games forward a few weeks would have meant that all the other activities that happened in August and September in all the proposed Olympic sites besides just the Ex would not have had to be mothballed for a year.
Turns out that anyone offering advice other than insiders, well paid in either money or grand PR, was delusional. The Olympic people really didn't give a damn about any of us at the Ex and my idea that we tell the International Olympic Committee that it would make better sense to have the Olympics in June  when, as the records show, the weather is nicer for athletics than in the hotter weeks that follow, complete with more thunderstorms.
Toronto lost its bid, for political reasons, and I for one was happy because I figured taxpayers dodged the bullet. No make that, when it comes to buildings left behind where new uses have to be contrived, we dodged broadsides from machine guns. By some miracle, councillors are actually doing the right thing by putting another Olympic bid on hold, and are not excited about bidding for an Expo. The big expositions have gone downhill since Montreal in 1967, which was one of the best in the history of world's fairs which were once the diamonds of history.
But back to sports, where money has always been important than picking the best weather for staging the event.  The sportscrats insist on having contests when they may get the biggest TV audience. So they play football championships in blizzards where passes wobble like wounded ducks. (I remember playing on a frozen field so hard, the lineman next to me got a concussion just falling down.)
There is concern because of this tennis open about playing the World Cup of football/soccer in Qatar where peak temperatures will match those now broiling the Australian Open.  Apart from the fact it seems a silly place to have a world event, it doesn't concern me that much because by then, if you believe Popular Mechanics, each of us will have our own individual clothing cocoon that would insulate us from weather extremes, but probably not the Canadian winter or the stupider decisions of the fatcats who run sport.

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