In my introductory post last week, I gave you a list of the four Chicago sportswriters who helped shape me as a writer.
Rick Telander was among those names, and it was his experience in the summer of 1974 that led him to pen Heaven Is a Playground which I read in 2004, instantly making me a fan of his and helping me immerse myself more in the thought of wanting to bring sports stories of my own to life.
If you ever had the pleasure to meet Telander, he’s as laid back and low-key as his style portrays. He’s also a bit of a wise-guy when it comes to humor.
All of those characteristics can be seen in a column he published on July 30th titled, Be glad you’re not them.
In 876 words, Telander analyzes current dilemmas facing nine individuals, including the untimely death of English songstress Amy Winehouse.
My favorite part of the column is when he reiterates his opinion that the Chicago Cubs won’t win a World Series before he dies.
I’m 62, and I first thought the Cubs were going to win it all 42 years ago, in 1969, when I was a college sophomore and before Santo, Banks, Williams and pals expired in the August heat. But say I’ve got two good decades ahead of me, maybe even three. In fact, let’s say I’m an outlier and make it to 102. Forty more years.
That’s nothing! That’s less than 40 percent of the time the Cubs already have gone without winning a championship.
What’s great about the piece is Telander's authenticity in how he not only goes through some critical focal points in sports news – aside from Winehouse’s passing – but also manages to bring a humor element of some very serious violations and situations.
As far as the Cubs go, let’s hope that Telander, as well as the rest of us, get to enjoy a few World Series victories in Wrigleyville before we expire.
Christopher Cason covers the Chicago Bulls for the Examiner.com and freelances for HOOP magazine and contributes to Slamonline.com. He will be providing a look into Chicago sports journalism every Wednesday at Eye on Chi. You can follow him on twitter @C4DUNK.
Rick Telander's Sun-Times archives