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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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Just Say No-Lympics

(It’s time again for science. That’s Secondhand SCIENCE, natch.

This week, it’s a look at DNA origami. Want to fold a pretty swan out of your genetic material? Well, that’s kind of strange. But maybe you can. Have a look, weirdball.)

I’m not sure I’m on board with this whole “Boston hosting a Summer Olympics” thing.

Sure, it would be a fantastic cultural experience — people from countries all over the world would mingle in the streets, sharing thoughts and cuisines and various exotic pathogens. It’d be like a United Nations meeting, with more javelins. Or Carnivale, without the boobs.

And maybe living here, I’d even be able to score tickets to a couple of the events. Nothing extravagant, of course. The popular sports would be way out of my price range. But maybe I could catch Cameroon and Laos in a cornhole semifinal, or whoever Russia hasn’t re-absorbed in Eastern Europe playing a game of table soccer.

Are those exhibition sports? I don’t really keep up.

Still, I can’t see the advantages outweighing the significant and inevitable suckages. Logistics, for instance. Boston proper is approximately the size of a Denny’s place mat, which means the venues for sports would either be outside the city and miles apart, or allcrammedupontopofeachother, which would lead to some terribly awkward moments around the Olympic village.

Just for instance:

Latvian athlete: Hey, bucko — you got your sweaty handballs in my beach volleyball panties.

Norwegian athlete: To be pardoning, no — you wrapped your beach volleyball panties around my sweaty handballs.

Both: They’re two great tastes we can medal in together!

And then they’d run off to practice Greco-Roman wrestling in the dorms. Do you want that on your conscience?

“There’s a reason people only bother going to Gillette Stadium for four games a year in December and January. I’m just saying.”

Well, fine, maybe you do. Still, it seems kind of messy. And the point stands — the plan as I’ve heard it is to use existing sporting venues all over the suburbs, which would mean an awful lot of zipping around on overtaxed roads and buses and subway cars to see them. There’s a reason people only bother going to Gillette Stadium for four games a year in December and January. I’m just saying.

Speaking of which, that’s another markdown for the Olympics: why would you host a sporting event that the local sports heroes wouldn’t excel at?

That’s just not the Boston way, frankly. When we’ve hosted the Stanley Cup in hockey, we made sure the Bruins got to play in it. Ditto the World Serieses at Fenway; the Red Sox were right in the middle of those. All the NBA playoffs in Boston have featured the Celtics, and the NFL post-season played here includes the Patriots, like clockwork. The local fans love those teams, and the players. But where in the world would any of them get into the Olympics?

Nowhere, is where. What’s David Ortiz going to do, join a rowing team? They say Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski have a great rapport on the field — but can they synchronize swim? And who wants to see Zdeno Chara in competitive horse jumping? Not the horses. I’ll guarantee you that.

Besides all of that, the last few Olympics have been enormous money sinks for their host cities, costing billions of dollars to plan for, put on and clean up after. Neither Boston nor Massachusetts has that kind of money lying around; it’s already earmarked for Harvard fundraisers and MIT startups. Also, I think we’re probably still paying for the Big Dig. Also, Ted Kennedy’s bar tab. And the Tea Party.

(No, not the loonybag recent one. The other one, back in Redcoat times.)

So personally, I think I’d prefer if the Olympics pass Boston by — with one exception. These are the 2024 Olympics, I think, and that’s still a few years off. Maybe by then, we’ll have this virtual reality thing finally figured out, and all the games will be digital, with the athletes competing via joysticks from the comfort of their Olympic Village sleep pods, and the rest of us jacked into the Matrix to watch. It might not matter at that point what city the Olympics are “in”, technically, but I’d be all for Boston hosting then.

Why? With all the fancy hacking and coding the kids can do these days, we can probably muster a way to make Big Papi a world-class (virtual) rhythmic gymnast. And that’s a (digitally-enhanced) spectacle I’d pay (real money) to (fake) see.

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