A Little less Sugar…

Grateful Blog: Day 86: Bert Sugar died yesterday. Bert Randolph Sugar was known as “The Greatest Boxing Writer of the 20th Century”, as well as “one of the foremost historians alive,” and was elected to the International Boxing Hall in January 2005. Bert was one of those larger than life characters. He wore a fedora, smoked a cigar, rolled with the high rollers in some of the biggest sporting events in the last century and witnessed a ton of them in person. I’m not really a boxing fan but Bert was a regular guest on one of my favorite sports radio programs: ‘Prime Time with Issac and Suke on 1080 AM.’ Issac and Suke called Bert once for an appearance on the show and 2 weeks later Bert just started calling the show and giving tips on which college football teams would win that weekend.

It became a regular feature and I totally looked forward to it even though I couldn’t have cared less who won or lost. Bert would call in Thursdays at 4:30pm and tell stories about how he’d hung out with Mohammed Ali or drank with Joe DiMaggio and you felt like you were listening to the radio in 1956 or 1966 all over again. He was a complete throwback from another era, a living legend and a real-live link to the past that most folks just read about in books. He also had that wise-acre sense of humor and gravelly voiced demeanor that’s part weird uncle and part genius. The fact of the matter was that Bert Randolph Sugar was one of a kind, a world class storyteller, and the sort of guy we never see anymore, and that I think we could use more of.

There was one night I was listening and Bert was laughing loudly, his whiskey and cigar tinged laugh and said ‘Hey fellas, once upon a time don’t work no more’. I wrote it down and went home and wrote a song by that name that night. I’m Grateful he called in every week and told his stories. I think he just wanted someone to talk to who knew what a treasure he was. I miss Bert already…