This one's from the heart Randy, just the way you always thought it should be.
I always believed you were the best. You had the most passion, the most understanding, you never wavered from what you figured was the right story to tell. You were a lone wolf and rarely part of the pack.
You were different and to tell the truth, I wanted to be a lot like you.
Randy, you and I ran into each other frequently over the years. It might have been at the Canadian Track and Field Championships in Windsor, or the World Cup downhill on a bitterly cold weekend at Lake Louise. I knew that whether it was in New Delhi at the Commonwealth Games or in Rome at the World Aquatics Championships, in you, I had found a kindred spirit.
You cared Randy and I wanted to be just like you.
I can tell you this much, your hard work and commitment did not go unnoticed. I've seen the messages from Simon Whitfield, Jessica Zelinka, Perdita Felicien and so many other champions
. You were their champion Randy, and you never faltered, not for a second.
Whenever I picked up the Toronto Star and went to the sports page I flipped as fast as I could to what you had written. What you had to say was different, out of the ordinary, and it made me think.
The stories you had to tell caused me to fall in love with sport and the people who give their lives to it.
That's the difference Randy. You had a flair for the great tale. It was something far beyond the statistics and the so-called business of sport. It was something very real.Sacrifice, joy, discipline
You had something to say about sacrifice, joy, discipline and fascination that can take the sporting enterprise beyond the ordinary to something ethereal.
It was a privilege to read what you had written.
I remember the time you came to speak to the class I taught at Centennial College in Toronto. My students were a collection of young people who wanted to love sport and to begin the process of becoming journalists. You sat amongst them and talked about the Canadian rowers in whom you had so much confidence.
They lapped it up Randy.
They were enraptured as you showed that video you shot at Elk Lake in British Columbia. They were transfixed at the gods of sport that they'd never been exposed to before. They referred to it when the Canadian men won the gold medal, as you predicted, in Beijing that summer.
I wanted to thank you for that Randy.
It was magic. You made them believers.
I always believed in you because you were the one. You made this your life's work. It was a constant struggle to find space and make your case but you always managed to succeed.
When it came to covering Canada's high performance athletes you were the trusted one. You were the go-to guy.
Randy, what I'm trying to say, is you were an original. You were never a fair weather friend of the athletes.
You were just their friend and they will always remember.
So will we.
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