Friday, January 3, 2014

Naming names: The James A. Rhodes Arena, a.k.a. JAR

The clamor hereabouts over building a new sports arena to replace the James A. Rhodes hardwood is another example  of faded athletic crowd-keeping. In this instance, the JAR, the  acronym quickly assigned to the place by the sports crowd who thought it a cute substitute,   turned 30 in 2013.  That meant by today's standards, it's  a relic with too few seats (and other modern conveniences), regardless of whether they were ever fully filled.

For the proposed modern  structure claimed by the University of Akron,  the name was offered  as a kind of  honorific for the sitting governor in the early 80s. Among the  witnesses to a  a pre-arena meeting between then-UA President Dominic Guzzetta and Rhodes was Guzzetta's aide, Dick Wright.

"Before leaving for Columbus to meet  with  the governor with an appeal for his support,  I urged Guzzetta not to begin by promising Rhodes that the  arena would be named  after him, " Wright told me years later. A veteran of the give and take of state politics, Wright figured the official flattery  would only be useful as a last resort to win the governor's support.

"So what do you think happened?",  Wright said.   "As soon as we sat down in the governor's office, Dom  eagerly assured Rhodes that the University  would put the governor's name on it."

So much for Wright's counseling.  And that, dear reader, is how it proclaimed  James A. Rhodes for the ages before it became the JAR.

We can only  consider the consequences if a later governor, Robert Alphonso Taft II  had been in the office.

But given our addiction to acronyms, best that we not go there.



Anonymous said...

When they did the very nicely done renovation of the Ohio State house, the SOB (Senate Office Building) suddenly became the Senate Building. Funny how fast government can move when its leaders have the proper motivation.

Grumpy Abe said...

They had to think of their wives and children