I learned a few more things about an old friend over the past couple of days. It's the kind of news that makes you shudder for an instant. But upon reflection, it provides just another bit of inspiration.
I think Gregg Drinnan is a terrific piece of work, an "old school" media wag who understands that telephones, pencils and paper can still be used with some efficiency in the current millennium. I have admired Gregg's penchant for asking the tough questions over the years, part of the gig that I know has occasionally caused him some grief. But he soldiers on and ultimately provides great copy and insights. He does his homework!
Gregg's delivery of the goods has also evolved with modern day communication technology, as he has compiled one of Canada's most read hockey blogs: "Taking Note".
Today, Gregg is the sports editor at the Kamloops Daily News, but my interactions with him date back to the 1980's when he was the go-to-guy in Regina at the Leader Post. When I travel to Kamloops a couple of times each winter to cover the WHL for BC Hockey Now and Hockey's Future, it is always a highlight for me to sit in proximity to Gregg.
He and I are different animals at these games. Gregg is there to provide game coverage, which means he has work to produce and file that very evening. My deadlines are generally a little more "loose", so there is often less urgency at my end.
So I have to pick my spots on these nights, but I always arrive in Kamloops prepared to toss a few "names from the past" his way. It's a walk down memory lane that keeps me tied to my prairie roots. My goal is to get a chuckle or smirk out of Drinnan, or even stump him for a moment. Because he is the guru, on the rare occasion he has to really think before he responds...yes, these are the special moments!
(I wouldn't be offended if he ever looked over at me and said, "Patience, grasshopper.")
When Gregg found out about my current health issues, he responded quickly and also chose to share with me that his wife, Dorothy, has been on dialysis since December of 2009. She has a rare blood type - B - which is one contributing reason they continue to wait for a kidney transplant from a live donor. I'm about three months into my adventure. Gregg and Dorothy have been immersed in theirs for more than three years. What tremendous strength...
You know, it's funny, sports fans love sports coverage. We read, we process, we opine, we rant, we assume. And often we look at the "byline", the writer's name, and pass judgment on the person, based on what we've just read.
Indeed, I continue to learn that there is always more to the man, more to the story, more to one's life.
#30: Kind of stuck on this one. But, here goes. "30"...this would be the birthday my wonderful wife still refuses to acknowledge!