2018: A Rough Year for “Voices Of ….”
Dick Enberg… Keith Jackson… Woody Durham … and its only mid-March. OK, Dick Enberg died December 21, but that’s close enough to qualify.
If you are/were a venerable sports “Voice Of” and you have a nagging cough or a frustrating hitch in your get-along you might oughta get that checked… and/or don’t be buying green bananas. Charon The Boatman on the River Styx might be saving a seat for you.
Blondie’s family have this ongoing on-line game we play based on celebrities always “dying-in-threes”. Someone of obvious or marginal “celebrity” status will die and one of us will send a group text message notifying the rest of us that So & So had died and “does he/she count?”… beginning or adding to a new “group of three”.
We call it The Ghoul Pool and have coffee mugs that say that.
The whole concept of celebrities die in threes is dependent on two key factors… (1) WHO qualifies as a celebrity, and (2) HOW LONG does the clock tick for “they all died together” over a period of days… week… ??
If, for instance, Billy Graham starts a new group… and Woody Durham is now the second member of that group… how quickly must a 3rd celebrity be added to announce… “See, they always die in groups of three”. Should there be a time window that closes on completing a group?
Does David Ogden Styers (a M*A*S*H cast member) “count” and did he end an ongoing trio or start a new trio that Dr. Graham and Woody have now completed?
What follows is always an interesting peek into the minds of millennials versus baby boomers. As well as those who follow sports versus TV/movies versus “The Arts” versus politics.
I have not submitted Woody’s name to the group but I can tell you, he likely will NOT qualify. Blondie and I are the only Ghoul Pool members on this side of The Mighty Mississippi. Woody may have been a household word from Murphy To Manteo and certainly within The County of Orange… his reknown, alas, did not extend too many latitudes / longitudes beyond Yea Olde North State… as that one ill-mannered Syracuse fan reminded us.
I’m not even sure Dick Enberg was unanimous. Before any of you get your fruit-of-the-looms in a wad about “Woody” I have to tell you that Duke Snider did not qualify back in 2011. The kerfluffle that caused still reverberates whenever a marginal candidate is nominated.
When famous (??) chick-writer Nora Efron was nominated in 2012, I invoked “the Duke Snider Rule” that Ms Efron was never part of a Dream Outfield of The 50s in NYC of Mantle… Mays… The Duke.
I finally gave in figuring anyone married to Carl Bernstein for four years deserved a break. I keep Duke close at hand as needed.
As of today no “famous rapper” has been formally nominated despite various ones being gunned down periodically.
One of our unwritten rules is “if you have to explain WHO the freshly deceased is” then they likely are not famous enough. I would definitely have to do that with Woody. David Ogden Styers, oddly, did qualify.
It is a tribute to the intellectual prowess of our group that Dr. Graham was a unanimous first-ballot selection. That our group contains no angry obscene militant homosexuals pretty much assured that.
Our most notable “threshold candidate” was ZsaZsa Gabor. “Zsa” was formally toe-tagged in Dec 2016 with only five toes available for tagging. She had lost a leg to some vascular disorder several years prior and became a bit like SNL’s infamous General Francisco Franco for whom there were weekly updates of his mortality status.
I had several interactions with Woody in the early years of this millennium. Alas, as my well-documented estrangement from “over yonder” got more and more estranged our casual friendship dissolved. Publicly acknowledging my friendship with “Damn Dan” (Kane) kinda decluttered my Contacts with many 27514 zip coders… DUH!
N&O “big wig” John Drescher and I were chatting this week and he asked me to run something by “my buddy Art” Chansky. I told JD since I publicly aligned with “Damn Dan” me and Art ain’t been too cozy. John, if anyone, should understand.
Epic Scandals make strange bedfellows.
My favorite Woody Story took place around 2003-2004…. It was on a TruBlue monkey board. The rabid loonies were discussing how much they hated Dick Vitale, Billy Packer, Duke’s Bob Harris… etc etc. Board monkey discussions always involve “hating” someone – ADs, refs, commissioners, me… or something. It’s part of their “charm”.
NOTE: As I once said about the late Don Shea… anyone who hates Bob Harris has A LOT of other personal issues. Bob Harris is one of THE ALL TIME “NICE GUYS” in “the business” or otherwise.
Remember that time Hansbrough was sucker-punched in the nose with a sledge hammer by that Duke “thug”. Henderson?? If you ever get the chance, listen to how Woody – Bob Harris – & Billy Packer all three described it as they each saw it. LOLLLLL!
Anyway… the TruBlue monkeys were doing what board monkeys do when one she-monkey remarked…
“I always listen to Woody because you can always trust Woody to tell it like it is…”. YIKES!
I related that to Woody over lunch at Chapel Hill Country Club. He almost choked on his Cobb Salad. I recall his answer as being “… well…I always told it like I wanted it to be…”.
Every “Voice Of…” Is “A Homer”. It is always “us” and “we” and “our boys” versus the quite “evil them”.
Woody Durham was as impartial as NC State’s Frank Weedon… let’s leave it at that.
My last Woody story was told to me by a longtime colleague of his a few years ago. Whenever Woody went out in public… a wedding, a funeral, dinner with his family, to get a haircut, any time he was out/about in Chapel Hill he ALWAYS carried “a fresh Sharpie”.
… “My fans are always wanting my autograph and they don’t have a pen. I hate to disappoint them.”
As word of Woody Durham’s passing circled the globe on Wednesday… I wondered if a family member / close friend will slip ” a fresh Sharpie” in his coat pocket for his final journey. I hope so.