Mark L. Hopkins: The Olympics: A dream come true
I would love to tell you I was in the Olympics. Of course, you would take one look at my 5-foot-8 and 200-plus pound stature and would know I was pulling your leg. I did attend the Olympics when it was in Montreal, Canada and it was everything I ever dreamed and more.
In the early 1970s, while Ruth and I lived in Iowa I did some consulting for an Olympics enthusiast and in our private time together we talked a lot about sports. He had been a wrestler at The University of Illinois and never lost his enthusiasm for the sport.
Our family had relocated to Elgin, Illinois the summer of ’76. In late June I received a phone call from my Olympics enthusiast friend asking me if I would like to go to the Montreal Olympics with him and some friends. He said it was like a “thank you” for the things we had accomplished together. I had some new obligations with a new job that summer and lots of things would have to be put on hold to take two weeks off in July/August to go to Canada. Of course, who could turn down such an offer and so we moved heaven and earth to make it happen.
As the plan was presented to me, there were eight people scheduled to make the trip. A house and two automobiles had been rented close to the Olympics venue and a full slate of tickets to a variety of events had been purchased to be shared by the group. All were to fly to Montreal together two days before the opening ceremony. Does that sound like a deal or what?
Well everything does not always come out as planned. In the end, six of the eight people had to cancel out. Only one other person and myself ended up making the trip. We sublet one of the houses, cancelled the rental on one of the cars, and carried enough Olympic tickets to Montreal to see anything and everything four times over.
That was the year of Sugar Ray Leonard and the Spinks brothers in the ring, Nadia Comenche in Gymnastics, Dwight Stone and Edwin Moses in Track and Field, and Bruce Jenner in the Decathlon. Our Men’s basketball team won behind Phil Ford and Walter Davis while the women’s team placed second. It was a great time to be in Montreal.
The end result of the two weeks was that we traded or sold enough of the excess tickets to pay for the house, the car, the plane tickets and returned $254 to our benefactor at the end of the venture. I should add that “a good time was had by all.” Well, all two of us anyway.
— Dr. Mark L. Hopkins writes for More Content Now and Scripps Newspapers. He is past president of colleges and universities in four states and currently serves as executive director of a higher-education consulting service. You will find Hopkins’ latest book, “Journey to Gettysburg,” on Amazon.com. Contact him at email@example.com.