Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Inimitable Bud Collins

They should put Bud Collins' photo next to the word inimitable in the American Heritage dictionary. You try wearing pants like that with a bow tie and tell me how it goes. Or try writing a weekly column where you take a single metaphor and flog it through 80 percent of the piece and see how editors and readers react. You can't write like that! Bud did.

For us Boomers, Bud was the face and voice of tennis, and that's that, no quibbling. When Bud died yesterday tributes came quickly from the likes of Billie Jean King, Rod Laver, and Chris Evert (right), people who know a bit about the sport. When I watched a tribute to Bud last night on the local PBS station (he was a Bostonian), I was struck how he made the world a better place through the power of love -- for the sport, for the people in the sport, and for life itself. To be clear: To love a sport isn't a trivial thing. It's one way of celebrating humanity. He also did work that was more obviously charitable, for example, starting a tennis program for urban kids in Boston.

Farewell, Bud. Wherever you are at now, I'm sure you are still one of a kind. Here's a nice tribute written by Dan Shaughnessy, a colleague of Bud's in the Boston Globe Sports department. The title of the piece also uses the word inimitable. Hey, if the pants fit.

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