Rick Reilly, who has won the National Sportswriter of the Year award 11 times, could not have picked a better role model than Jim Murray, who captured that honor a record 14 times--including 12 straight from 1966-77. After Murray passed away in August 1998, Reilly penned a touching obituary that displayed Reilly's talent while also explaining the qualities that made Murray so special. I encourage you to read the entire piece; here is an excerpt to whet your appetite:
I once asked Jim Murray if he kept a few extra columns in the bank for days when he had the flu or a tee time or an incurably blank computer screen. "Of course not!" he yowled. "What if I die one ahead?"
On Sunday, Jim Murray, the greatest sportswriter who ever lived, kissed his gorgeous wife, started to put on his pajamas, said, "Linda, something's wrong," and collapsed. The doctor was there in five minutes, but it was too late. Jim had died of a heart attack. He was 78.
He got his wish, though. He didn't have any columns saved up. Too bad. We could use a few laughs right now.