Gorgeous venues are empty on our television screens this week as we tune in to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The impact on the competition likely varies with each event, but it has to be a bummer and a mind blower for these athletes who are missing the adrenaline derived from spectator crowds.
Having had a taste of the same this last winter at the Ryan Center as public address announcer for Ram games played in front of no public and looking back at replay, it can be said that the TV helps hide the hollowness of the empty building. But when in-person at the arena, the games themselves just felt like glorified scrimmages without the juice of thousands on hand. And strangely, the starting lineups could certainly have been introduced without a microphone.
You wonder why Japanese leadership didn’t opt for another postponement of the games with the COVID infection numbers on the rise and vaccinations in the country lagging. One, the athletes are calibrated for competing now. And two, no surprise, it’s money. They’ve reportedly spent more than $15 billion in construction and one-year delay costs. The computation gets a little murky from there. Keeping the fans away is a reportedly estimated $20 billion long-term revenue loss and complete cancellation adds $20 billion more. What is unclear is what the equation looked like for yet another one-year wait with a perhaps better chance of getting a hold on the virus. And accordingly, bringing the fans to the venues.
We’ve seen in past Olympic projects the massive country investments in sports venues only to see the post-games use of the facilities evaporate. One can only hope for Japan’s sake that going forward, the stadiums will one day host spectators and the surrounding infrastructure upgrades will benefit its society at-large.
It’s impossible to deny that the Delta variant is wreaking havoc on the health of the unvaccinated. The story of a Tennessee radio host who has questioned the need for the vaccine and now finds himself in a serious hospital bout with the virus has pierced the national media on all fronts.
And conservatives are finally speaking out, such as Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey, who just this past weekend plainly said “it’s time to blame the unvaccinated folks” for the return surge. The former press secretary to Donald Trump, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, wrote a soft op-ed announcing her decision to take the vaccine and urging others to investigate and pray about it.
Still, with national polls showing that 80 percent of the unvaccinated population are committed to staying that way, it seems like a bigger game changer is needed. Black and Hispanic leadership has to re-engage hard in their respective communities. And as for the red state refusals, the former president could have substantial impact. Sadly, he is still stuck in his narcissistic world.
Don Carcieri has quietly remarried. His devoted 53-year marriage to a wonderful First Lady Sue ended with her passing in 2018, and I can still see his stamina when standing and greeting each of the hundreds of people who lined up for hours to pay their respects. He’s 78 now, a former governor, not a president. He deserved privacy in these twilight years, but some local news reporters found it necessary to write the scoop and attempt to chase him down along with the family and the new spouse, with no success.
They should take a shower.
Dan Yorke is the PM Drive Host on 99.7/AM 630 WPRO, Dan Yorke State of Mind weekends on MyRITV/Fox Providence and owns communications/crisis consulting firm DYCOMM LLC.