A fitting tribute to a great, great guy
Marnie McBean made me cry.
How’s that for turning the tables?
The COC did an outstanding job with a breakfast to honour the late, great Randy Starkman here this morning (it’s why I’m a bit late) and when Marnie got up there to speak on behalf of athletes, to tell the 60 or so people there how much my good friend and colleague meant, it just got to me and, truth be told, it had to get to every reporter in the room.
And when Randy and Mary’s daughter Ella and his brother Laurie reciting a poem they’d written in memory of my guy, well, it was almost teary time again.
Randy’s been a constant presence throughout these Games. You go to almost any event and someone asks how Team Star is doing without our anchor. People from around the world, guys I see once every four years, offer condolences and want the message sent back home as well.
And maybe that’s why I really enjoy these things and wish I could do more on Olympic athletes. It’s been my history that they are delightful people and wonderful athletes with interesting stories to tell and you can truly get a connection with them by getting those stories out.
No one did it better than Randy, no one in Canada ever will. It’s not an easy job, we are by nature and nurture a cynical lot who are sometimes as happy to find flaws as we are to find goodness.
But here, that cynicism is suspended. Someone back home last week suggested it was hard to write about the sports because we don’t know them and, often, neither do readers. But it was easy to point out that we’re not here to write about sports, we’re here to write about people who happen to play sports. It’s a very different animal than I’m used to, a very different animal than we typically deal with in North America. I can see quite easily how, if you did the job full time, you could get attached to some of the men and women and demand that people follow their journeys by writing about them.
Can’t remember if these were Marnie’s exact words but this pretty sums up what Randy did and how he did it for so many years.
“Randy was there when we were nothing. He was there when we became something.”
We knew what he meant to us at our paper and in our lives, it was nice to be reminded again what he meant to the people he wrote so eloquently about.
And he’s still with us in some small way.
One of the lads at The Swan said I needed to hear this.
So do you
Having been fed a typical British breakfast every day for about an eon – that’s how long we’ve been embedded here, isn’t it? – I can safely say it’ll be a very long time before I can handle beans and mushrooms with a morning meal.
So, after two days of watching the American men’s basketball team here, I can safely say this:
I’m glad I didn’t have to see them in the first round.
Not that they’re bad guys or uncooperative or play with any kind of sense of entitlement or anything; in fact, I’m hearing quite the contrary from some of my boys who’ve been around them.
It’s just that, in some ways, the games I’ve seen have been boring.
Sure, there’s a little buzz in the building when they come on the court, people rise to take pictures of them when they leave it, the inevitable “wow” moments in the two games have been greeted by slack-jawed wonder and ovations. But other than that, they’ve been kind of boring in the two games I’ve seen.
Here’s hoping Spain pushes them tomorrow and it’s a game rather than an event.
-Things I hear once every four years:
“How do I get to BMX?”
Hey, what are you folks doing tomorrow at 10 a.m. back home?
Want to come to an IGBT?
Just like the olden days with the Raptors, we’ll be here to goof around and watch the gold medal basketball game. Well, I’ll be watching it, I’m not sure what the broadcasters wherever you are will do.
You don’t often see an accredited member of the media at a basketball game wearing a Chicago Bulls Dennis Rodman replica jersey.
You know how you can tell we’re getting close to the time they put a lid on the fire?
No one’s running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to get to two or three events in a day.
There’s just enough to keep everyone busy and no one over-worked with one, perhaps two, venues to go to. Other than that, this is a weekend of press centre days and wrap up stuff and it’s a very normal weekend.
We deserve it.
It’s official: Racewalking is the silliest-looking sport at the Olympics.
And I now know that one of the Aussies in the men’s, um, race, is about 15 minutes behind the leader thanks to the rather loud reporter sitting a row away from me talking to his office.
Oh, and the leader:
“Cheating like buggery.”