Just been thinking, what can one say about Randy Starkman that hasn’t already been shared by colleagues, athletes, coaches and hundreds more.
The news of his death was a shock. Age 51 – too young to leave us, but his spirit, his message and what we often shared in common - promoting amateur athletes – will live on forever.
I had been at the Toronto Star for 30 years, a good chunk of my life, before retiring two years ago. Randy was surprised when I said it was time to move on – and we don’t live forever. Other things to do. We had shared many stories about young athletes, coaches, officials and more.
Here’s the part that got us both laughing. People confused me with him – and, yup, him with me. Maybe because we both had glasses. Maybe because our last names ended in “man”. We often shared the praise, the jokes – even the mail and the tough times.
I’ll never forget his praise for what I did. He called me the set up man – getting the young kids identified early so that others could take over. One thing, though, he was truly the only “other” to take over. When he did, the words in his stories were like a fine book.
I will remember his outstanding accomplishments that go way beyond the stories, the interviews, the awards and even the politics – and there’s plenty of that at the Star.
Randy often got after me for just sticking with high school, college and university athletes. He thought I should broaden the reach. I threw it right back and said – go with the pros.
He was a pro – and in many ways.
But, like him, my career was set on raising the flag of amateur athletes. Giving them their time to shine – even if wasn’t for a medal, a trophy or even a pat on the back.
Thanks, Randy. Thanks for being there, for your advice, your friendship all those years - but also for those who would have otherwise gone un-noticed.