Friday, January 26, 2018

Sid's world

Among Twin Cities sports fans (and I daresay even some non sports fans), you only have to say his first name and everyone knows to whom you're referring. That name would be "Sid."

On the off chance you don't know who "Sid" is, I am referring to Sid Hartman, long time sports columnist (70+ years) at the Minneapolis Star Tribune and sports commentator (60+ years) at 830 WCCO radio. While I don't consider myself a "fan" per se, Sid is undeniably a legend in these parts due to his longevity (still working full time at two months shy of age 98) and connections (his bevy of "close personal friends" include hall of fame players and coaches from multiple sports).

Perhaps one of my favorite Sid stories is one which involved me personally. A number of years ago I participated in the 4th annual Sid Hartman Sound Alike Contest. I was chosen as one of eight contestants to perform a two-minute bit imitating Sid in front of the crowd gathered at the WCCO broadcast center at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. From there, the panel of judges would select the three best impersonations to compete for the ultimate prize in the finals: A personal dinner with Sid at Murray's (the running joke was "What do the losers get? Two dinners with Sid?").

I was the first of eight contestants that day. Emcee and WCCO radio host John Williams asked if I listen to Sid's sports updates regularly on 'CCO. I quipped, "Eh. As little as possible." Upon the audience erupting in laughter, Sid turned to meteorologist Mike Lynch (who was serving as one of the judges) and asked what I had said. When Lynch conveyed that information to him, Sid turned to me and said "That took care of you, you aren't gonna win." Alas, he was correct.

Before the contest even started, all eight participants were gathered inside the 'CCO booth to receive some general instructions from the promotions guy. Shortly thereafter, Charlie Boone (he of the legendary Boone & Erickson 'CCO morning show) came to introduce himself to us. As he chatted with we contestants, Mr. Boone indicated that this particular contest would likely be the final one (it was) and that we should enjoy Sid as much as possible. Charlie's rationale was that, given Sid's advanced age, he probably would not be up to venturing out the MN State Fair as often, if at all.

That was twenty two years ago.

So what motivates Sid to keep going despite having amassed a personal fortune in real estate which would have long sustained him had he retired in the 1970s? Steve Marsh penned a fascinating in-depth look into Sid's life in his latest piece at Mpls-St Paul Magazine.

Definitely read the whole thing.


No comments: