It was back in March 1955 that James A. Rhodes, auditor of the state of Ohio and a skilled politician, threw a display of vote-getting razzle-dazzle at the amateur athletic bigwigs in Mexico City and landed the 1959 Pan-American Games for Cleveland.
This center of culture and learning, upon being apprised of the brilliant coup, said "huh?" and went about its business.
So far as patient research has disclosed, it is still going about its business, oblivious to the fact that 15 months have passed and Cleveland is no nearer readiness for an invasion by the athletes of 20-odd Western Hemisphere nations than it was that day in Old Mexico.
COMMITTEES AND MEETINGS
Committees have been formed and meetings have been held and some tentative plans drawn, but not one measurable step has been taken toward their realization in wood and concrete and glass and water.
A stadium must be built. Where? The committee has proposed a site of land belonging to the Cooley Farms in Warrensville Heights, and a heavy majority of the members of the City Council have said as one voice, "Over our dead bodies!"
And there the matter rests.
More and more often, as the weeks and months slide by, one hears, "Let's quit kidding ourselves. We're not going to have the Pan-Am Games. We're going to stall around and hold meetings and talk, but someday we're going to have to admit that we're not ready and can't handle the thing."
Which recalls the day in Mexico City when the third quadrennial games were awarded to Cleveland and a disgruntled Los Angeles delegate snorted, " Cleveland! Cleveland wouldn't know how to handle a horseshoe-pitching tournament. Tell you what: We're going to be ready in Los Angeles, and when Cleveland drops the games, which it will, we'll pick 'em up and put 'em on right."
It's unfortunate, but true, that Cleveland is acquiring a nationwide reputation as a city that can't and won't get things done. It isn't a question of whether or not the city wanted the Pan-Am Games. The basic fact is that it has been awarded them—some say stuck with them—and has accepted them and made certain glowing promises. As a matter of civic pride, if for no other reason, it owes it to itself to get on the ball.