Chicago’s Olympics Defeat, Ted Williams’ Teammates, Miriam Mathabane’s Memoir

People react at the announcement that Chicago was the first city eliminated during a live viewing of Chicago 2016 Olympic bid at Daley Plaza in Chicago, Illinois on October 2, 2009. Odds-on favourites Chicago went out in the first round of voting to host the 2016 Olympics here on Friday, a stunning setback for a city which had been backed by US President Barack Obama.

People react at the announcement that Chicago was the first city eliminated during a live viewing of Chicago 2016 Olympic bid at Daley Plaza in Chicago, Illinois on October 2, 2009. Odds-on favourites Chicago went out in the first round of voting to host the 2016 Olympics here on Friday, a stunning setback for a city which had been backed by US President Barack Obama

It’s a dreary rainy day here in Chicago.

That’s fitting, given that the city came in dead last out of the four finalists for the 2016 Olympics. 

Dunreith and I had lunch in the Aon Center, where she works and the headquarters for Chicago’s bid.  I chatted briefly with downcast volunteers wearing orange shirts with today’s date emblazoned in white letters and heard about the hours and hours they spent working for the bid this past year.

Meanwhile a new book by Larry Johnson about Ted Williams’ frozen head being used for batting practice had added to the abuses first reported about several years ago in Sports Illustrated by Tom Verducci.

I’ve written about this before, and for those looking for a more upbeat and touching portrayal of Williams’ life, check out David Halberstam’s The Teammates.  The short book tells the story of three of Williams’ long-time teammates-Bobby Doerr, Dom DiMaggio and Johnny Pesky-driving to see the great slugger one final time before he died and was subjected to posthumous indignities.

In other book notes, I recently finished Mark Mathabane’s Miriam’s Song.  Many people know Mathabane for his searing memoir Kaffir Boy, which chronicled his apartheid-era childhood in Alexandra township.  The book ended with Mathabane’s leaving South Africa to attend college on a tennis scholarship in the United States.

His sister Miriam stayed behind.

Her book is a hard but inspiring tale of rape, beatings, police brutality and many other obstacles on the way toward her realizing her dream of graduating from high school and preparing to attend college.

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