I know it’s the summer when I draw back to back on local news — when little stories are the fodder for editorial cartoons, simply because of a dearth of news on the national and world fronts.
Today’s subject is the mulling over by city officials to make a bid for the 2015 Pan-American games. “Here we go again” — I utter defiantly against the predictable enthusiasm of my colleagues in this editorial page room. Just as the current Pan Am games are being played out in Brazil with virtually no television coverage and scant knowledge that they’re even going on a few bright lights in Hamilton are aching for the event to be played out here.
As with the city’s earlier bid for the Commonwealth Games the thinking seems to be more about a blatant opportunity to grab a lot of provincial and federal funds to fix up existing arenas and stadiums than really understanding the traditions, history and spirit of what’s behind certain international games.
At least with the second Commonwealth Games bid we were demonstrating perseverance by going after the games for a second time. Along the way we were learning what the Commonwealth games were all about, and became aware of the fact that the games had it’s origins with the first Empire Games being played in Hamilton back in the 1930’s. Our bids were not only just about fixing up our crumbling arenas, we had a genuine desire and connection to the games.
The politics of the bidding process screwed us, but at least we learned. More persistence could get us a Commonwealth Games sometime down the road.
But a Pan Am games bid? Now we’re back to the old federal/provincial cash grab without really knowing what we’re getting into.
I sketched the cartoon below but thought it really went beyond how I feel about the potential of hosting a big international games event. I’m not a bread not circus’ advocate, just suspicious of Hamilton’s tendency to put off fixing crumbling buildings and infrastucture with the hope that one day this city’s going to win the lottery.