Hey, Olympic Committee! Why don’t y’all come on down to Florida? July is lovely here!

Florida is a land of wonder! This python ate a deer that weighed more than the python did. Credit: Conservancy of Southwest Florida

Dear International Olympic Committee:

Allow me to introduce myself, Your Gold Medal Excellencies: Jimmy — Jimmy Patronis — Chief Financial Officer of the great sunshine state of Florida.

So, I hear Japan’s so scared of the Wuhan virus they want to ditch this summer’s Olympic Games.

Pathetic.

But never fear: As I so boldly stated on Twitter, “If Biden is serious about ‘unity’ he will pick up the phone & tell the powers that be that we need the Olympics to happen. If Japan is out, Florida wants in.”

Some un-Christian antifa types accused me of being “on crack” and called me rude names like “schmuck” and “clown,” but all I care about is good, clean play and the great sunshine state of Florida.

So how about it?

I’m serious. Florida is the Hell, Yeah! State. If we can shoot rockets into space and build Hogwarts off I-4, we can do anything.

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis. Credit: Florida Department of Financial Services

We got stadiums. We got pools. We got lakes. We got motels. Hotels. We got the world’s most beautiful beaches for the beach volleyball, right here in Panama City.

And, after the games, you can dine on some fine Florida seafood at Captain Anderson’s, which my family happens to own. That’s not important. What’s important is that I guaran-damn-tee you Tokyo sushi can’t compare with our “Famous” You-Peel-Em Grilled Gulf Shrimp, Three-Cheese Shrimp and Grits, and a slice of Peanut Butter Pie washed down with a Frozen Kahlua Colada.

The weather will be fantastic: warm, humidity maybe at 99 percent (hey, you get used to it!), blue skies — unless there’s a hurricane and even then we could probably just nuke it or something.

I’m telling you, Florida in July is paradise.

Plus, Florida people are super-competitive, whether it’s college football, where sometimes even the mascots duke it out (like that time Sebastian the Ibis messed with Chief Osceola on the 50-yard line), WWE — declared an essential Florida service along with food, medicine, and transportation — or Goofy Golf, where you have to putt into the mouth of a 10-foot one-eyed space monster.

As I keep saying to my once and future voter base, “Florida does sports right.”

And not just regular old athletic contests, either. Y’all ever heard of python hunting? Sponge diving? The Flora-Bama Interstate Mullet Toss?

If you don’t mind a few friendly suggestions, Your Athletic Excellencies, how about adding a few crowd-pleasers to the Olympic line-up. Like gator rasslin’, which is like freestyle except your opponent is a large, irritated, crocodilian reptile.

Or how about running the marathon through Tate’s Hell Swamp? First guy who makes it from Sumatra to the Sunset Isle RV and Yacht Club without substantial water moccasin bites wins.

Now, I know what you’re going to say: “Isn’t the COVID-19 a pretty big problem, Jimmy?”

Right now, Florida’s under 2 million cases and around 26K in the death department, which I know sounds kind of bad, but if the Democrats in D.C. would just give us more vaccines, and a bunch of money, great Gov. Ron DeSantis (a personal friend of mine) will take care of it.

The ’rona is basically a PR problem, anyway. We arrested that blond lady data analyst, the one who kept posting the scary virus stats.

And we keep our Surgeon General in a box: You can see him, but you can’t talk to him.

By the time Ivanka Trump lights the Olympic Torch at Hard Rock Stadium (I’m way ahead of you!) most people will have forgotten all about the virus.

As a proud Greco-American, I truly understand the Olympic Spirit. Baklava runs in my veins. Come on, Your Muscle-Loving Lordships. The Sunshine State stands ready to save the Olympics. I can probably get Disney to discount some three-day passes to the Magic Kingdom for you, and I’ll throw in some Maragaritaville coupons.

Bring cash.

Yours sincerely,

Jimmy xxx

Diane Roberts
Diane Roberts is an 8th-generation Floridian, born and bred in Tallahassee, which probably explains her unhealthy fascination with Florida politics. Educated at Florida State University and Oxford University in England, she has been writing for newspapers since 1983, when she began producing columns on the legislature for the Florida Flambeau. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Times of London, the Guardian, the Washington Post, the Oxford American, and Flamingo. She has been a member of the Editorial Board of the St. Petersburg Times–back when that was the Tampa Bay Times’s name–and a long-time columnist for the paper in both its iterations. She was a commentator on NPR for 22 years and continues to contribute radio essays and opinion pieces to the BBC. Roberts is also the author of four books, most recently Dream State, an historical memoir of her Florida family, and Tribal: College Football and the Secret Heart of America. She lives in Tallahassee, except for the times she runs off to Great Britain, desperate for a different government to satirize.