Gordon on Golf

Golf tales and more from “the luckiest man in town”

Dave Perkins

Who wouldn’t enjoy reading a book written by “the luckiest man in town”?

Especially someone who “went around the world a few times on someone else’s dime.”

Who wouldn’t want to hear the tales of a guy who witnessed 58 of golf’s major championships, 10 Ryder and/or Presidents Cups, 10 Olympics, a dozen Super Bowls, 14 World Series, hundreds of NHL, NBA and MLB post-season games and thousands of regular-season games? Plus horse races, car races, boxing, and just about every other sporting endeavor.

For more than four decades, Dave Perkins, the aforementioned self-proclaimed “luckiest man in town,” covered sports and, in his new book, Fun and Games: My 40 Years Writing Sports, he shares a smidgen of what it is like to be in the media rooms, press boxes, bars and other haunts that his profession led him to.

Like the man himself, the contents are honest, irreverent, funny, entertaining, frequently off-colour and often politically incorrect.  And, occasionally, emotional and introspective.

And that makes for a great read from cover to cover, whether you are just interested in the “inside the ropes” golf insight or fascinated by behind-the-scenes revelations about the other sports he covered.

Golf is Perkins’s first love. Aside from being a devotee of the game, he says, “I most enjoyed covering golf because there were no night games. It took me to nice places, just about everyone was civil and the press was usually treated extremely well.”

As usual, he is being intentionally cavalier.

Ask him what was the best sporting event he ever covered and the response will surprise you. It did me.

It was the 2003 Presidents Cup in South Africa, for reasons that are not immediately apparent.  They are well worth discovering.

Overall, and I agree, he makes a compelling argument that the best event to witness in person is the Open Championship.

His brushes, often bristly like the burly hirsute man himself, with the glitterati are not confined to sports figures, either. Bill Clinton, Meg Ryan, and others had their moments with him. More memorable for Perkins, I assume, although I have not read the memoirs of either Clinton or Ryan.

In total disclosure: I know Dave, I like Dave, and I was there for some of the golf-related episodes he relates.

Many do not make the pages of his book. As he says, “Some of the subjects of those missing stories are not dead and neither are their wives. So best to let idle lawyers stay idle. There’s still plenty to go around.”

Uncharacteristically circumspect. But characteristically accurate.

Fun and Games just scratches the surface of his 40 years of newspapering which began at The Globe and Mail and flourished at The Toronto Star.

I hope there’s a sequel.  Lawyers be damned.

Just leave my name out of it.

Fun and Games: My 40 Years Writing Sports (288 pages, paperback, $19.95) is published by ECW Press and is available from book retailers everywhere, as well as online. It can also be found online.

Fun and Games - Cover Art