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Memories of a sports writer

I’m a day late with this,but it’s been a difficult week. My son’s mother, Marilyn King, passed away early Wednesday morning. I wrote about her last week and I have been so impressed with how my son, Jeff, has been such a rock during this painful process.

Anyway, Marilyn was someone who enjoyed sports. And so does my wife of just more than two years, Debbie, who intrigued me with an e-mail she sent about her grandfather, who played professional baseball in Kansas City back at the turn of the century. The 20th century, not the 21st.

Before I met Debbie, she said, she spent most of her television hours on two networks: HGTV and the NFL Network. We owe our relationship to our mutual admiration of Kurt Warner (she admires him even more than I do, which is a slight issue in our relationship.) My discussion of Warner on radio one day led to an e-mail exchange and, ultimately, a lunch date at the River City Brewery. We hit it off, in no small part because of Debbie’s enthusiasm for sports.

She loves the NFL and has grown to appreciate college football. She said she hadn’t watched a lot of basketball before we met, but is now in tune with KU, K-State and Wichita State. And, best of all, she has become a big fan of the St. Louis Cardinals. And it’s not just because I chain her to her chair during every spring and summer night and force her to watch the Cardinals.

I don’t really do that and if I did I wouldn’t admit it.

It was great a few weeks back when The Eagle highlighted Debbie, who is a stalwart for the Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization, in the business section. The best part for me was her public admission, via written word, that one of the things she enjoys most in life is watching the Cardinals.

We’ve only been to St. Louis to see the Cardinals once. That will change this season, I promise. She has her favorite players and has gotten to know something about the team’s history and traditions. She knows, for instance, that Jack Buck is the greatest baseball play-by-play announcer in the history of the game.

That Cardinals connection is rewarding. It’s one of our many common bonds. I wasn’t sure whether I would like watching the Cardinals play with my wife every night. I wondered whether the emotions of the game would make it uncomfortable.

Now I wouldn’t know what to do if Debbie wasn’t in our love seat with me on the nights the Cardinals play. Yes, we sit in a love seat. Want to make something of it?

I’ve been thinking a lot about Marilyn lately, but also about my marriage to Debbie. It’s been a life saver for me and I’m so glad we found one another. Sometimes I get sad because we didn’t come together until relatively late in life (she hates it when I say I’m old). But this is the way it was meant to happen and I’m at the stage of my life where I will be able to cherish our time together. In other words, I’m mature. Can you believe it? I’m MATURE. Or sort of, at least.