Every Friday or Saturday, my son's copy of Sports Illustrated slides through the mail slot, straight into the basket in my front closet. Usually I just toss it on my coffee table and hope Chris finds it, or if I'm so inclined, I'll walk the 15 feet down the hall and toss it on his bed where he'll be sure to find it. I always give him first crack at it, because I know I'll have my chance soon enough.
Eventually, the latest issue ends up in the bathroom. This is not a condemnation of the contents, rather it illustrates the reverence given by Chris, as it shows he is reading it as soon as it arrives. This is where I find it and get to read it in the bathtub. I stand corrected... this is where I used to find it, as I won't be looking for the latest issue for quite the same reason anymore.
I read Rick Reilly. Well, his column anyway. You can easily find it because it is the last page of each issue of Sports Illustrated. No more. After 23 years writing for SI, Rick Reilly is going on to bigger and better (?) things. Big deal, you say? Very big.
Over the last 23 years, Reilly's column has been the first page millions of people have turned to first (my estimate only, at least I'm convinced it has to be millions, maybe billions even!). Quick, easy-to-read articles that highlight a point of light in sports that the average person may not know about if not for Rick Reilly. From uber-parents planning their infants high-school sports programs to how a particular Pro Basketball player would be "coach and captain" of the "team of the most selfish, greedy, spoiled to the Spleen, Multimillionaire Athletes you'd Most Like to See Thrown to a Dieting Lion", Rick's (if I may be so bold) column has made people laugh, cry, write hate mail to him, but everytime... to think.
I've been trying to catch up on some of his essays by reading his book Hate Mail From Cheerleaders (and Other Adventures From the Life of Reilly) which I bought for my son at his request. Best money on a book I've spent in a long time. It's not his only book. Check them out, you don't have to be a sports fanatic, you just need to be interested in humanity, good, bad or indifferent.
Rick's column in the December 3, 2007 issue of SI is a farewell to his readers. He's taking six months off before starting a column for ESPN the Magazine, as well as ESPN.COM beginning in June of 2008. I wish him the best of luck. Somehow I have a feeling that a new magazine will be slipping through my mailslot sometime around late spring of next year.
Oh, yeah... and Mr. Reilly... have you ever thought of a podcast??? Just a thought.
Thank you, Rick Reilly.