Bottom of the 9th, #62 – Rick Reilly

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Bottom of the 9th - Rick Reilly

Bottom of the Ninth – Rick Reilly By Keith Wahl

Rick Reilly is a brilliant columnist. I first started receiving Sports Illustrated in 1986 when the Chicago Bears won the Super Bowl, Roger Clemens fanned 20 Seattle Mariners in an April contest, and the Boston Celtics won the NBA title. This was in the first six months of my subscription and I was pretty sure the whole world revolved around my interests in sports (my dad is from the northern part of Indiana close to Chicago, raised me to love Larry Bird, and the Red Sox thing just kind of happened because of the Celtics and Clemens…we were both right-handed power pitchers).

During the early years of my subscription, Rick Reilly had worked his way up to writing the column at the end of the magazine. Very quickly, the first thing I would read when receiving the magazine would be his column. If he wrote another piece, often times about John Elway and the Broncos, I would make sure to read that piece as well. To get a feel for his mastery, read this recent column about Derek Jeter – Reilly can capture the athlete as a person while also entering into the narrative. Brilliant. (http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/10995146/rick-reilly-derek-jeter)

Rick Reilly wrote his last column this week, this time for ESPN (http://espn.go.com/espn/story/_/id/11049946/rick-reilly-last-column). Biblical concepts abound in his final piece – fatherhood, mentorship, forgiveness, gratitude, community, and inspiration. His final piece represents a bit of the grace with which he wrote for many years.

Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.â€

I cannot speak to Mr. Reilly’s salvation or spiritual bent, but I, for one, am thankful that we had a chance to see his good work in this world.

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