A football stadium to replace the Santa Monica Airport? (Illustration courtesy Cary Shulman)

A football stadium to replace the Santa Monica Airport? (Illustration courtesy Cary Shulman)

The World Series is finally over. Frankly, I was tired of seeing all those guys with beards. The Boston Red Sox looked like a Smith Brothers cough drop box. Now American sports fans will turn their attention to the NFL and ultimately the Super Bowl. (Or as I call it, “a national holiday with commercials.”)

We in Los Angeles, however, have been without an NFL team since 1995. Why L.A., with a population of more than 4 million (and you wonder why you can’t find a parking space) doesn’t have an NFL franchise and Green Bay, Wis., population 104,000, does is beyond me. Then again, a lot of things are beyond me.

Take Santa Monica Airport for example. (Abrupt segue, anyone?) There was a time when our quaint community airfield was thought of as charming and even romantic. Today, however, to those who live under the flight path or adjacent to the airport, with all the noise and jet fuel fumes, I don’t think “romantic” is necessarily the right adjective.

Keep in mind that SMO is one of relatively few general aviation airports in the country that is surrounded on all sides by dense residential development. But the lease on the airport is up in 2015. (The Federal Aviation Administration would beg to differ.) So what should we do?

Some suggest closing the airport in favor of creating a grand park. Perennial City Council candidate Jon Mann would also like to see “green space,” but by that he means giant pot farms. He now says that he was just joking. Yeah, right.

Most legal experts contend that the FAA has way too much clout to let the airport close. But what if something even more powerful than the FAA were to step into the picture? What, you ask, could possibly be more powerful than the massive federal government? The National Football League! (Key the dramatic NFL theme song.)

Yes folks, if any entity can get its way, what with its hundreds of millions of fans worldwide, it’s the NFL. So what I’m suggesting is that in 2015 City Hall take bids to build, where the airport is now, a state-of-the-art sports stadium. That way we can finally get an NFL team again and, in the very near future, Santa Monica could actually host the Super Bowl!

Before you send irate e-mails (forgetting this is tongue-in-cheek) consider that for a decade or more we haven’t been a quaint anything. We are an international city with the traffic congestion to prove it. Have I lost my mind with my stadium proposal? Perhaps, but bear with me as I still have another 250 words to go.

Yes, with a new stadium Sundays might get a little crowded. But consider seven days a week we wouldn’t have jet noise or toxic fumes raining down like radioactive pollution in a cheap Japanese horror movie. (Unfortunately, with the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster that image isn’t quite so funny.)

But back to the stadium. In addition to the billion dollars or so poured into our city, instead of seeing Buffalo, Kansas City or Tampa Bay football on TV, we could see a team from our area. Of course, the logical next question is what to name our team.

I’m open to suggestions if you care to e-mail. For obvious PC reasons, not to mention that it’s taken, Redskins is out of the question. I suppose if Jon Mann had his way, our nickname could be the Santa Monica Stoners. (OK, you can turn off the NFL music. Perhaps play some Bob Marley?)

 

Gussy gets her court 

 

Now from the absurd to the actual. (These days, many times they’re one in the same.) Sunday, at Reed Park at Seventh Street and Wilshire Boulevard at 11 a.m., the Santa Monica Tennis Club and the city’s Community Recreation Division are staging a ceremony dedicating tennis court No. 1 as “The Gussy Moran Stadium Court.” The public is invited.

"Gorgeous Gussy" Moran with her famous knickers. (Photo courtesy Google Images)

‘Gorgeous Gussy’ Moran with her famous knickers. (Photo courtesy Google Images)

In the last year of her life, I was fortunate enough to befriend Gertrude “Gussy” Moran, a professional tennis player who made a name for herself, literally, when she wore a short skirt at Wimbledon in 1949 that showed off her lace-trimmed knickers.

Born and raised in Santa Monica and a Samohi graduate, even at 89, she was outspoken, spirited and ever-charming.

Sadly, “Gorgeous Gussy,” once one of the best tennis players in the world, passed away this past January. How wonderful, though, that at the very courts where she practiced constantly almost 80 years ago, her spirit will now live on.

 

Jack can be reached at jnsmdp@aol.com. In honoring Gussy, many thanks to City Councilmember Kevin McKeown, Community Recreation’s Wendy Pietrzak, and Anita Ybarra. The Santa Monica Tennis Club is at www.santamonicatennisclub.com.

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