Chicago lost the world-famous X Games and the $50 million in revenue it would bring to the host city. And to make it worse, Moody's announced this week that it slashed the city's bond rating, making borrowing even more costly.
It should be obvious that our governments are desperately in need of more funds. If this shocking trend continues, our politicians might have to send their children to public schools.
"The venue choice we were looking at was United Center with some parking lots around it," an X Games official told the Tribune the other day in explaining how we got screwed. "I was a little bit concerned about growth potential there. The footprint is finite."
Well, too bad for you, Mr. X Games. There is nothing "finite" about Chicago's "I will" spirit, or Illinois' resolve, or Cook County's whatever-you-call-it. So rather than whine and stamp our feet, let's do something about it.
Who needs the X Games when we can host The Chumbolone Games™?
"You mean like that 'Ninja Warrior' TV show only with politicians as contestants?" said a guy near Tribune Tower. "They could fall off the ramp into the Chicago River?"
Yes, and city, county and state governments can make oodles of profit from marketing The Chumbolone Games™ to honor us, the noble but hapless chumbolones who pay the taxes. At least we'll make a fortune on TV rights, Internet wagering and tickets, selling contests like these:
Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the 50 aldermen and all 17 Cook County commissioners wear necklaces with smartphones dangled from them and try to make their way safely across the city and county, using only CTA buses and their feet. No bodyguards. No drivers. No political hacks. No concealed carry weapons. No frantic calls for help. Just one long three-day weekend on the streets.
We'll track their movements using the city's extensive security camera network, and we'll thrill to their adventures and special microphones will pick up their cries of anguish in real time. The losers are left behind to call helplessly for the police, just like chumbolones.
Ghost Payroller Rolling
City, county and state government workers who take weeks off during election seasons to work precincts are compelled to lie down on the sidewalk. Taxpayers compete to see who can roll their payroller the farthest.
Chicago River Endurance Challenge
Talk about X-treme, this one has nothing to do with swimming in the Chicago River. All contests have to do is submerge themselves briefly in the river at Dearborn Street, then float in it (using flotation devices or whatever else happens to be floating around in there) for a half-hour.
Contestants then exit the river, sit on the shore, and the countdown begins for 24 hours. No prophylactic antibiotics allowed. The winner is the one who doesn't get E. coli.
Dearborn Bike Dodge
Contestants must cross Dearborn and Lake streets without getting smashed like a bug by the sweaty, crazed bicyclists in their double lanes and by those angry car drivers who have less road than before. Survivors receive "sustainability" stickers to fix to their foreheads.
Pay $100 for the chance to find just one leading Republican who hasn't made a private business deal with a machine Democrat, kissed the hand of imprisoned GOP boss Bill Cellini or called friends in Rosemont for advice. Can't find one? Welcome to Illinois.
Daley Dunk Tank
How much would you spend in quarters for the chance to throw baseballs, hit a target and dump former Mayor Richard M. Daley into a vat of river water? Millions would line up and put their quarters into one of those old-fashioned parking meters. "I'd spend 10 bucks at least," said a guy who hasn't forgotten the parking meter fair hike outrage.
Warriors, Come Out and Play
In this extreme game, based on the cult movie classic "The Warriors," Gov. Pat Quinn and his Democratic primary challenger William Daley lead two teams of gun-control activists. Another two teams of street gang members are encouraged to follow them, each given a "Get Out of Jail Free" card and promises that nothing except murder will be prosecuted. The politicians must crisscross the city on rapid transit lines, Red, Brown, Green, Blue and Pink, beginning at midnight, while holding wads of $20 bills in their hands. Again, no bodyguards. No frantic calls for help. No special police units or RTA bureaucrats controlled by Boss Madigan's son-in-law. Just Pat and Bill and their wits and their charm.
Republicans and Democrats get to play this fun game as the nation bets on the outcome. Ald. Ed Burke, 14th, famed piano player, begins tickling the ivories and singing show tunes as a group of federal prosecutors and FBI agents joins in. Meanwhile, off to the side, elected officials begin passing the hot "subpoena." When the music stops, the one holding the "subpoena" goes to live with former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Why The Chumbolone Games™?
Because X-Treme isn't good enough for Illinois any longer.
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