This has really nothing to do with Sweden. Except for the fact that I am here and because of that I am a little behind on some current events that are quintessentially American. Like Sports Illustrated. I subscribe. And it makes its way half way across the world so I can enjoy it. Sometimes a bag of mail must get lost for a while. Unfortunately, that mix up can lead to dire consequences. Which I found out first hand.
Sports Illustrated usually comes one to two weeks later than the publishing date. Which is fine. It’s something I’ve gotten used to. I still read the magazine front to back. Kind of. I start, of course, on the last page with Rick Reilly, then flip to the beginning and make my way through the magazine. Granted, I’m reading stuff that I usually already know about. But the writing is spectacular; seriously, my AP English teacher in high school used the level of writing in Sports Illustrated to showcase journalism that used an advanced vocabulary as opposed to the... well, less advanced vocab that often times showed up in the Tribune. Plus, it makes me feel at home.
Sometimes, the magazines pile up, seeing as how I subscribe to a few different sports magazines and that I already know what happened I don’t feel the same rush to read them before the next one comes. So they pile up in my bathroom. Yup, I’m a bathroom reader.
Just a couple of weeks ago I picked up my issue of Sports Illustrated and turned to the back. And nearly shit myself. Luckily I was on the toilet, but still. You get the idea. Rick Reilly was gone. Instead there was some nonsense titled the “Point After.” The Life was gone. Frantically I searched through the magazine looking for an explanation. What happened? I feel like I would have heard about it had he died. So I felt reasonably certain Reilly was still enjoying life in Boulder. But he was missing. At the beginning of the magazine I found a note from the editor telling me that they were bringing back the “Point After” which had apparently been a staple of the magazine long before Rick Reilly set up camp on the last page of the magazine. Nothing else was mentioned. But it was clearly the end.
I checked the date of the magazine and then the others that I had. A magazine was gone. I knew I hadn’t seen it. The arrival of Sports Illustrated is a pretty big deal. It’s a little piece of home right in my hands. And I knew DCP would have laid it on my computer had she found it before I did. She’s nice like that. But it was nowhere to be found.
Then it came. The missing magazine. Maybe it had been floating around the Atlantic for a couple of weeks. Lost somewhere in Iceland. I don’t know. But it was the bearer of bad news. I turned to the back immediately and saw Reilly staring back at me. Under the title “Giving Up The Life.” And I knew. It was over. I read the article, but it didn’t matter. I knew deep down after seeing the “Point After” in the aforementioned magazine. I had already seen the future. And the future was Reilleyless.
And so this post is a Swedish farewell to Rick Reilly. Six weeks late. You made me laugh. You made me think. You made me a sucker for Nothing But Nets. Hell you even made me cry a few times. I started each and every issue of Sports Illustrated with your column. Thanks.