(105.3 THE FAN) — When I broke into the Dallas media fraternity way back when I was scared to death.
Not only was I interviewing famous athletes, I was also running in the same circles as the press. Suddenly I was standing next to Blackie Sherrod, listening to Dale Hansen hold court, and just putting a face with all the sportswriters I had consumed for years. Learning the ropes was not easy. There were so many ‘unwritten’ rules concerning press protocol. And believe me, back in those days (we’re talking late 80’s) most operated in a stealth manner that would rival the CIA. Or at least the Obama administration. But it was maybe the most fascinating period of DFW sports history. And to have had a front row seat was magical. Let’s take inventory:
Watching the sad demise of Tom Landry and the Cowboys. Watching the unfolding of the Jimmy Johnson/Jerry Jones saga. The sale, firing of a living legend. Bringing in a much loathed coach. 1-15. Meteoric rise to the top. And an epic ending worthy of Cecile B. DeMille.
Mavs snatching the worst team in NBA history.
The arrival of something strange called ice hockey.
Rangers…well…just being Rangers. But they did make the playoffs three times in the late 90’s.
OK, where am I going with this gibberish you ask? It’s about being there everyday and not having a clue about a side of a person I encountered on a regular basis. As a raw and green ‘new guy’ I was treated like all rookies and novices. Pretty much ignored like a piece of furniture. But I always like to highlight the few that not only treated me like a human being, they actually allowed me in the media tree-house. Those four included Randy Galloway (whom I’d later become his producer), Dale Hansen, my future partner Richie Whitt and Tim Cowlishaw.
Not sure how/why they took in my urchin ass, but they did. And I have never forgotten it. Never will. But it was Cowlishaw that was most puzzling. A dogged reporter, loved music like myself, threw out some of the best dry-humored lines and wrote with the veracity of a renaissance literature maven. Tim was the epitome of a newspaper man. Tireless prose producer. Work ethic of a pack mule. He covered sports as if it were a matter of life and death.
And it almost was.
Tim Cowlishaw was also an alcoholic.
Much like the immortal scribes of yesteryear, Tim knew the real stories were in the bars. Secrets, drama, off the record scoops and vital information flowed like so many cans of Budweiser and shots of cheap (and when TV came calling, expensive) shots of vodka. It was a different time. A long-ago gone method of dispensing information. A new crop of fuzzy-faced sportswriters barged on the scene and the traditions of the past were buried with typewriters, notepads and a longstanding journalistic creed of accuracy. But the drinking continued for the fossils.
Tim Cowlishaw was leading the charge with Teddy Roosevelt-like fury and debonair stoicism. He was on top of his profession, but rungs below in life. A reckless hubris of self-control and destruction. He was losing in his quest to wrestle with his imbibed lifestyle.
Back to reason of this posting. Tim has written a book. And not just any book. A MUST READ book. A book of unvarnished truths and a boisterous élan.
Aptly titled, “Drunk on Sports”, Tim weaves a tale of ambition, tremendous tumbles both exhilarating and edifying. Readers are given a front row seat focusing on stories we all know, but now those stories come alive with stunning swagger and truthfulness. A prevaricating and dissimulation fueled by swashbuckling and hardscrabble assertion.
I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy while in Arizona at Rangers camp. Knowing I had a 3:30 revelry to catch a flight home, I consumed the entire book. I got in the bunk about 2:00am. But it was worth it. Sleep be damned.
I’m not gonna give away any more info on the book. Tim sent it to me online and said, “please don’t pass this along. After all, I do want to sell books.” I will honor that request. The book will be released in about two weeks. I am hoping that Tim will appear on RAGE to discuss it further. I will solicit Tim for a few copies to give away on the show. Not sure he’ll agree. This man once drank Gordon’s vodka to save a few shillings.
An incredible story from an incredible man going through incredible times with an incredible ending.
“Drunk on Sports”. It’s intoxicating to the point of honeycombed ad hoc.
Place your orders today.
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