Thursday, January 25, 2007


According to Wiki, San Francisco’s Olympic Club is the oldest athletic club in the United States. Probably it’s most famous member was “Gentleman” Jim Corbett (wikilink), world heavyweight boxing champ in the 1890s.

Golfers will know the Olympic Club as a world class golf course. The US Open is played there every twelve or thirteen years. It must be awesome for a member to see Tiger Woods playing on “my course!”

It’s membership comes from old San Francisco families and those they sponsor, except of course, Jews, Blacks, and women. I’m sure there’s some blah blah blah about greater inclusiveness, but my guess is it’s just blah blah.

An SF State professor who I played some tennis with, told of being invited by an O’Club member to join as a tennis member (much cheaper than a full member), but was asked, “You aren’t Jewish, are you?”

It seems that half the kids I went to high school with are Olympic Club members. I graduated from St Ignatius thinking that Christianity and anti-Semitism were incompatible. This just demonstrates my cluelessness. It’s like, excluding people is what clubs are all about, right? What fucking planet am I from?

St Ignatius puts on fundraisers at the Olympic Club.

O’Club members tend to be comfortable about pretty much everything. It’s easier to be comfortable with no women, Jews, or black people around. It’s tennis venue is the best I’ve ever played.

One evening my tennis team was visiting the O’Club for a team match. Waiting for courts, I overheard some discussion among three O’Club members about a recent news item.

A few months earlier, a large tree on Olympic Club property toppled across a San Francisco public street. Crews from SF Rec and Park, and Dept of Public Works, had to cut it up and haul it away.

End of story, almost. Louise Renne, San Francisco’s City Attorney, decided to press Olympic Club to reimburse the City for the expense of removing its tree. For some reason, the O’Club was refusing to pay, and it finally hit the papers with bad PR for the O’Club.

So these O’Club members were talking, all good old boy and sexist and all, about what a wimp Louise Renne’s husband was. Louise Renne’s husband was an Olympic Club member.

Basically, these guys were saying about the husband, “What’s the matter with this guy that he can’t even control his wife!” You could tell that the poor guy had been receiving lot’s of grief from his fellow members.

Of course, it didn’t help that Louise Renne had previously sued Olympic Club for excluding women and minorities. Olympic Club was able to delay that effort to death.

As this article shows, the exclusion of black people can be waived for bribable government officials.

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