Can I take a moment of privilege here?
You guys compliment me from time to time on writing these notes. I learned to appreciate writing by reading. My mom taught English and put books in my hands at an early age. Very quickly, if I had a book, I wasn’t any trouble to anyone.
Sports Illustrated, the magazine, was one of my favorite reads. It was quality journalism and storytelling all wrapped into one publication. Some writers were so good I looked forward to seeing their byline on the articles and would read them no matter the subject matter.
Dan Jenkins was one my favorites and I was sorry to learn of his passing this week.
Jenkins was hilarious and insightful. He would leave me both chuckling and informed.
His daughter Sally became a world class sports writer too. She wrote a tribute about her dad. This is how she ended it:
“So, here’s the deal if you want a recipe for father worship, if you want kids who, when you are dying in the hospital, will race at 60 mph across town in search of the grape Popsicle you requested, just to please you one more time. Take your little girl or boy everywhere with you, even into bars. Do small, harmless things with them you shouldn’t, let them off easy and end every conversation with a laugh. But give them your God’s truth about what matters and let them see you work.
He preferred brevity, loathed false sentiment, prized candor and humor above all character traits and was a free speech absolutist. Privately, he was a lenient, adoring and adored man. As great a writer as he was, I don’t know that you can say anything higher about a guy than his children preferred his company to all others and his approval to all the credit in the world. I was so lucky to be his.”
“I don’t know who to try to impress anymore,” I told my mother.”
If you don’t know Dan Jenkins, goggle his name and read some of his work. You will see what I mean.