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09 June, 2008 / theexpositor

Remembering Jim McKay…more than just sports

Having done a radio program recently on sports, and the American obcession with it, how ironic it is for me to learn of the passing of one the greatest men to ever be a part of sports and culture in America and around the world. Jim McKay has died at the age of 86.

As I have shared on the radio program, my childhood years were filled with trauma, uncertainty and fear. It was my God-given love for, and talent for, sports that held me together many a day. Even now, some 40 years later, if I sit and ponder those days and nights so long ago, my eyes swell with tears thinking of the moments, people and pastimes that kept me going; the broadcasts of the NBA with Red Auerbach basketball programs at halftime, watching my idol Pistol Pete Maravich making trick shot after trick shot. It was the night after night, that as I lay in my bed, trying to sleep, sometimes over the sounds of violence and distress, that a small AM radio on my pillow, tuned to a Yankee baseball game, allowed me to drift away from the madness and loneliness of my little life, to find peace to rest.

It was also the many times I would sit in front of our old black and white television, that would only get three channels, to watch Wide World of Sports, and as I listened to the voice of Jim McKay describe the exotic locales and the people and places around the globe, it would whisk me away to those places, where I was safe.

To this day, it is impossible for me to think back about those tumultuous years as a child and not cry. But it brings a smile to my heart to remember those things, those people, who helped a little boy to cope. With that said, may I offer you this tribute to Jim McKay, and say thank you.