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Applauding Boston's Move Toward An Olympic Referendum47:34
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Boston Mayor Martin Walsh speaks during a news conference in Boston Friday, Jan. 9, 2015 after Boston was picked by the USOC as its bid city for the 2024 Olympic Summer Games. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)MoreCloseclosemore
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh speaks during a news conference in Boston Friday, Jan. 9, 2015 after Boston was picked by the USOC as its bid city for the 2024 Olympic Summer Games. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh didn’t want a referendum on whether Boston should host the 2024 Olympics. Boston 2024 didn’t either, but this week the mayor wavered and the committee heading up the host bid noticed which way the wind was blowing and changed its collective mind.

Bill Littlefield is among those glad a vote is in the offing.


In Krakow and in Munich, they’ve said "nei" and also "nein."
(Forgive pronunciation, please. Those languages aren’t mine.)
In St. Moritz they’ve likewise turned their backs upon the Games,
And Oslo has cold-shouldered them as well. So go their claims.

These are, I grant, the Winter Games which people will not miss
If they are Germans, Poles, Norwegians, or, indeed, the Swiss.
That’s not to say that they won’t watch. They will. Of that I’m sure,
But hosting the Olympics is a strain they won’t endure.

They’ve voted to avoid that honor, for, without a question,
They do not need cost overruns and all of the congestion.
They’ll pass on the security required of a host,
The housing lost, and every venue doomed to be a ghost.

They did not buy the pitch that somehow the Olympic show,
Would make their cities places folks from everywhere would go
Instead of staying home or maybe heading to the beach.
(The Games as advertisement? Well, it’s always been a reach.)

The Summer Games are different, more expensive, more desired,
But even these, it seems, can be debated and get mired
In politics and promises and windy proclamations,
Of future glory, grand designs, and pride among the nations.

“They’ll bring us jobs,” proponents say. “Nor is that all they’ll bring.
They’ll build us tracks and trains, and on those tracks the trains will sing,
While hauling people faster! further! Everywhere they’ll go!
These trains will be a wonder! They won’t have to stop for snow!”

And I suppose they won’t, at least when Summer’s Games are here,
And I suppose the case for Boston hosting, bright and clear,
Is lost on Munich, Oslo, Krakow, and on St. Moritz,
Which doesn’t need the glamor much, and doesn’t need the glitz.

But still I’m glad that backroom planning, not a happy choice,
Won’t win the day against the plan to give the people’s voice
A chance to make a mark beside the box that’s labeled, “No!”
And tell the Lords of All the Rings that they should prob’ly go

Elsewhere, although they won’t presume they know just where to send ‘em.
But they’ll have spoken. Good for us. We’ll have a referendum.

Related:

Bill Littlefield Twitter Host, Only A Game
Bill Littlefield was the host of Only A Game from 1993 until 2018.

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