I donít think I could have picked Dick Schaap out of a
police line-up until I quit going to church. Sure, Iíd seen him covering different
sporting events; I mean, I must have seen him, as much sports as Iíve watched over
the years. It wasnít until I gave up on God for a while that I discovered this great
teller of tales on ESPN. He hosted this show called The Sports Reporters that
came on right before Sports Center.
The show was just four sports
reporters sitting around talking about things that happened that week in sports. Schaap
was the ring leader and the voice of reason. Each week the show ended, and still does,
with each reporter giving a one minute speech about something that was supposed to make
the viewer think. Most of the time they fell short, but never Schaap. He was
consistently witty, intelligent, and articulate. His autobiography is the
This guy knew everyone a man needed to know. He was buddies with
Muhammad Ali and Billy Crystal. He went to dinner with Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle.
Schaap played golf with President Clinton. His life story is filled with the famous
people he knew and that is the thing that makes this book so much fun to read.
Schaap tells his stories like they are no big deal. The stars you or I
would love to meet are just ordinary people to him. He is able to acknowledge the
magnitude of their fame without becoming overwhelmed by it. In the process we walk away
from the book feeling like we know them too.
If there is a complaint to be
had with this book, it is that the reader learns very little about Schaap himself. We
get to hear about his two bitter divorces and the son that followed him into journalism,
but thatís about it. In my mind, thatís not much of a problem when held up to the rest
of the book.