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timcolmonday 3/19

March 19, 2001

County won't get any honey in return for Olympic buzz



The City of Baltimore is in the running (so to speak) for the summer Olympics in the year 2012 and that is good news for Hagerstown because the German athletes might be housed here.

I think I have that right. An Olympic coordinator for Baltimore urged local business leaders last week to support the Baltimore effort, and in return we might get the Germans (that applause you hear is from world-class German restaurant owner Charlie Sekula) and maybe a lot of traffic from people staying in local hotels because the ones in Baltimore will be sold out.

They are calling Hagerstown a "staging area," which is code for "driving through at high speeds with the windows rolled up."

What we would not get is venue status for any Olympic event. Games and preliminaries are being farmed out through the region, so Frederick is likely to host some baseball games (why the Olympic committee doesn't consider Municipal Stadium a good site for Olympic baseball, I just couldn't tell you) and the Savage River out west will host kayaking events. But apparently Washington County doesn't have any facility or natural resource worth using.

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So, to review, Baltimore is asking of Hagerstown what the Baltimore Ravens asked of Trent Dilfer: Be supportive and don't screw anything up.

The Olympic Committee won't visit Washington County, but we're still being counted upon to be happy and contribute to the regional excitement. "It is really a lot about buzz," said the president of the Washington/Baltimore 2012 Coalition.

Buzz, huh? I'll give 'em buzz. But I'd be a lot buzzier if they would at least toss us a bone, like maybe a preliminary badminton match at Hagerstown Community College's ARCC.

Maybe he didn't mean to say "buzz." Maybe he meant to say "bucks." Because oh, now that you mention it, the coalition member also said they could use a little help from us raising the $1.1 million still needed to meet the $9.5 million Baltimore has to provide for the "bid process."

If you kept an eye on Salt Lake City and other Olympic candidates, you know what the bid process is.

"Why, yes, Mr. Olympic Committee member, you're 'bid process' is waiting for you up in room 402 and you should see what she's wearing." Or, "So you say your daughter wants a scholarship to Johns Hopkins? Well, let me see if there's something in the 'bid process' to address that."

All right, all right, supposedly the scandals are in the past and the Olympic Committee has cleaned up its act. But for nearly 10 mil, you know the committee members ain't going to be staying in no Motel 6.

(Yes, by now I am perfectly aware of the drill. All you Motel 6 public relations executives can feel free to send your reprimands to Tim Rowland c/o Disneyland. Geez, I hate the Internet).

At the very least we ought to be able to land some shooting event here in Washington County, where guns outnumber books by about 6-1. They could hold it at Fort Ritchie. Extra points if you touch off some of that "unexploded ordnance."

Come on, don't tell me you're going to hold the shooting events in Baltimore, where the only thing they hate worse than guns is filling potholes. Coming all the way to Maryland then holding the shooting events in Baltimore instead of Washington County is like going all the way to the Riviera and then hanging out by the pool instead of the beach.

Maybe they're scared. Because you know at some Washington County sportsman's club there's bound to be a 9-year-old kid or two who could give the Swedes a run for their money.

Oh, but I'll be good. I'm nothing if not a team player, so even if we don't get an event I will fall in line like the cheerleader I am.

Bzzzzzzz.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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