Monday, September 15, 2014

A personal note on Bill Davidge

If I'm going to break radio silence, it's going to be for something important.  And, to me, this is.

Word came down from The Mother Ship that Columbus Blue Jackets analyst on FOX Sports Ohio (and perhaps a Blue Jackets employee...I don't's all so muddled as to who's under contract with whom...) Bill Davidge is undergoing treatment for multiple myeloma.  This apparently is a recent development.

Bill Davidge doing what comes naturally...being a
genuinely nice man. (Photo from the Columbus Blue Jackets)
I'm no medical expert, but cancer is nasty business.  I've known plenty of people afflicted with cancer.  It's no fun.  You just don't wish it on anyone, any time, any place.

And in the case of Bill Davidge, I will draw upon my limited personal experience to say that this happened to one of the more genuinely nice people in the Columbus Blue Jackets media-sphere.

You see, I had the opportunity to do the whole media row thing once as part of my work with FOX Sports Ohio last season...the opening preseason game.  I got to do it all (and thanks to FOX Sports Ohio's Rick Gethin, I didn't get lost along the way) - the media check-in, the pregame media room meal, the sitting up at the counter, the rockin' wifi allowing me to write and live-tweet the game, etc.  I skipped the post-game presser because the path of my story (fan enthusiasm) didn't lead me to the locker room but rather to the concourse, but I did everything else just as any other credentialed writer.

Of all the experiences that I took in during that one night, perhaps the most memorable was the media dining room.  To put it mildly, it is a funny place filled with distinct personalities.  I dare not put any more in print, but load me up with enough Red Bull and I'll tell you some stories.  As a newbie, I took it all in with a mixture of bemusement and amazement.  Oh yeah, and the dinner was nice.  Not Mitchell's Steak House nice, but much better than Bacon on a Stick.

And as the newbie, I pretty much kept my head down and was grateful that Rick was kind enough to sit with me and talk me through the whole media process as we ate.  But when I got up to grab some dinner, who was there getting his meal as well?

You guessed it, Bill Davidge.

Bill didn't know me from Adam.  Still, he said hi to me - not really having to do so, as he could have blown me off just like so many others.  I introduced myself, and we engaged in a little small talk about the offseason and the season ahead.  He told me to have a good time and to enjoy the whole media row experience.  It wasn't a long conversation, nor a particularly deep one, but it left an impression. My takeaway was that Bill was just a nice guy doing what nice guys do.  There were easily 20-30 other people in the room, but Davidge was the only person that took the time to say hi.  That goes a long way in my book.

So when I heard that Bill was in treatment - and, bless him, will be on the air with FSO's Blue Jackets team despite the treatment - I was genuinely sad.  For as much as cancer sucks, it sucks even more when it goes after the Good Guys.

I wish Bill Davidge all the good fortune in his treatments, and that his cancer goes into remission as soon as possible so he can resume his life.  Anyone who listens to him knows that he's a man who loves hockey.  Anyone who meets him - even briefly, like me - knows that he's a special person.

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