The other day, TNT sportscaster Craig Sager passed away after a long struggle with leukemia, during which he actually returned briefly to his job as a sideline reporter. Sager was widely beloved, even by athletes known to be reticent about talking to the press. They talked to Sager, and often affectionately. Even San Antonio Spurs coach Greg Popovich -- as taciturn and snarky a coach as there is when dealing with the press -- would happily (for him) talk with Sager, at one pont kissing the announcer on the forehead when being interview during a game after Sager had returned following treatment. Yet for all that, he was probably still best known for his outrageous, attention-getting sportcoats.
It wasn't until last year that I found out that Sager went to Northwestern University, and that our time at the school even overlapped for a few years. He was from the Chicago area, in nearby Batavia, and also turned out to be a huge Cubs fan, getting invited to throw out the first pitch before a game last year and lead the crowd in "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."
What I just learned yesterday, as well, while watching the Northwestern basketball game, is that while he was at the school Sager played sports there his freshman year -- and at one point was the school mascot, Willie the Wildcat. I mention this in particular because for yesterday's game Northwestern had a magnificent, if subtle tribute to Sager. I suspect most fans in the stands didn't get the salute, but I thought it was just an absolute heartfelt gem and took a screenshot.
Well done. And happy trails...
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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