Jim McKay: The Thrill Of Victory...The Agony Of Defeat
Growing up in the 60s, sports were an important part of my life. You see for me, and the majority of the other 40 or so kids who lived on my street, instead of video games and surfing the web all day, you played sports. Outside. In the sun. Boys, girls, young, or old.
It didn't matter. When you left the house in the morning until you returned sometime before dark, you lived and breathed sports. Often, the entire day was consumed with things like baseball, football, badminton, or even croquet.
Except on Saturdays at 3:30. That's when we all headed inside for a little break to watch "The Wide World of Sports."
It was ESPN before ESPN. This was where I learned about the boxer Cassius Clay, later Muhammad Ali. Where I watched golf and became a fan of Arnold Palmer. Where I spent Saturday afternoons watching stuff like barrel jumping, figure skating, auto racing, and of course, the lumberjack championships.
In short, if you could compete, Wide World of Sports covered it, all hosted by Jim McKay. He was also the voice of the Olympics for ABC Sports, winning an Emmy for his coverage of the 1972 Munich Massacre.
Jim McKay died this week. His voice forever silenced for all of us. But I can imagine that somewhere in the heavens today at 3:30, just like the Saturdays of old, the games will begin.
Athletes from all time will once again hear the opening music and the familiar "Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport…the thrill of victory…and the agony of defeat…the human drama of athletic competition…This is ABC's Wide World of Sports!"
And while those athletes ready themselves for a little celestial competition, all the regular folks will sit down, grab a cold one, and wait to see the skier dude crash one more time.
Jim McKay, rest in peace. You will be missed.
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