Cows in the Cow Palace: Do we really want the 2012 Games? |

Cows in the Cow Palace: Do we really want the 2012 Games?

Column by Rick Chandler, Tribune correspondent

Well, today’s column was going to be about the Indiana high school football player with the enormous head — at 26 inches in circumference, they couldn’t find a helmet to fit him, even after asking the Chicago Bears.

But then San Francisco made the cut in its bid to play host to the 2012 Olympics, so that’s our topic. Sorry about this, I really did want to write about the gigantic head. But there’s breaking news, so my hands are tied.

Man, that’s one big, freakin’ head.

But the Olympics. Yes. When the U.S. Olympic Committee announced that SF and New York were the finalists to get the U.S. bid for the Games, the Bay Area went wild. There was a lot of cheering and thrusting of fists into the air, and I’m not sure but there may have been some looting.

I don’t get it.

Personally, I haven’t become this exited about an event to take place 10 years in the future since I rolled over my IRA.

I would think very carefully before agreeing to play host to an event that doesn’t occur for 10 years. Who knows what things will be like in the Bay Area in 2012? You think that traffic there is bad now, give it eight years to congeal. Unless flying taxis are invented by then, athletes will be getting to their events by rickshaw.

I have many, many other concerns, which I have itemized here. Please clip your favorites and forward them on to your congressional representative, or blithering radio talk show host of your choice. Then make plans to get out of town — hotel rates are cheaper when you book eight years in advance.

Reasons not to hold the 2012 Olympics in the San Francisco Bay Area:

— Last-minute planning. Olympic Organizers are only human, and humans have a tendency toward procrastination. Even though we have eight years, you know we’re going to wait until the last minute, because every time someone proposes action on a venue, someone else will say, “Ahhh, keep your pants on. We’ve got eight years!” Look at Greece — they’ve got the 2004 Games, and they haven’t even laundered their towels.

— Weird new events. The IOC is considering dropping baseball and women’s softball as Olympic sports, and adding tennis and golf. The announcement sent Tommy Lasorda into a rage, which is a good thing, but the larger implications are troubling. What will be left after the IOC has eight more years to mess with the events? Will Stanford Stadium be the venue for lawnmower racing? Ballroom Dancing at the Oakland Arena? The Spelling Bee finals at Candlestick Park? Rodeo may be an event by then, which means actual cows in the Cow Palace. And I have just one more word on this subject: Battlebots.

— Foreigners asking for directions. There’ll be an influx of people from all over the world in the Bay Area, and you know many of them will visit Tahoe. So people here will be bombarded by questions in French and Swedish asking for directions to the Ponderosa Ranch (I mean, more so than usual).

Also traffic will be unbearable, so get ready for eight years of new, intense lobbying for a trolley car line down Highway 50.

— Inane, confusing mascot. The big issue will be the mascot for the 2012 Games, and predictably it will be something completely stupid, such as an animal not found in nature, or an item from the prop room of Beach Blanket Babylon. Then we’ll be force-fed the mascot on every billboard and souvenir item for four straight years, which will predictably lead to violence. Future TV news item: “Goldy the Olympic mascot was assassinated today when he was shot in the South tower by a deranged sniper.”

— Lingering resentment. If San Francisco is picked over New York, it still has to beat out Rio de Janeiro and Rome, as we understand it. So all those places will be mad at us if we get it. I’ll never again be able to show my face in the Italian countryside.

— More Starbucks. Estimates are that the Olympics would pump about $8 million into the Bay Area economy. Think about it.

— David Letterman. His remote Olympic bits are funny when viewed from afar, but now he’s in your town — and you won’t be laughing when he’s at your front door at 7 a.m. with a bullhorn.

— It would give us a big head. By 2012, that Indiana high school player would be in the NFL, perhaps even playing for the 49ers. The world already thinks that Americans have big heads, and now the proof will be there, literally.

Ha! I knew I could sneak that in there.

— Rick Chandler’s interactive sports column, Capacity Crowd, can be found at or contact him at

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