Voices echo forever in sport

JODY VANCE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:58 AM ET

Never having been an athlete myself, I live my life vicariously through sports I watch on TV.

With that in mind it will come as no surprise to learn that since I was a child, time was marked by way of major sporting events and the voices that called them.

For example, when you hear: "Touch 'em all Joe, you'll never hit a bigger home run," you are transported to 1993. Joe Carter is bouncing around the bases of SkyDome celebrating his three-run homer against the Phillies in the bottom of the ninth of Game 6. The shot sealed the World Series for the title-defending Jays. That moment became more special because of the voice and words of the legendary Tom Cheek. It is hard to believe it has been more than two years since we lost Tom to cancer on October 9, 2005.

The list of Great Canadian broadcasters lost to illness sadly grew by two in the last month.

On Dec. 17, we suddenly lost Don Chevrier to an undisclosed blood disorder. On Saturday, Don Wittman lost his valiant and brief battle with cancer. It's hard to imagine a time when Wittman, Chevrier and Cheek weren't painting pictures for sports fans in this country and I cannot imagine them not being a part of future competitions.

While Cheek was the ironman of Blue Jays baseball on radio, both Wittman and Chevrier were rare in the world of television sports -- they were multi-event broadcasters.

From hockey to curling, golf and tennis, the Olympic Games and beyond --the list was limited only by the games we play. These men have left large shoes to fill. There are a precious few who can do what Wittman and Chevrier did in terms of versatility and Cheek in longevity.

So this is a nod to those we've lost who cultivated this sports fan's interests -- marking time by their words.

-- Jody Vance is a longtime sportscaster and personality with Leafs TV. Her column appears Tuesdays and Thursdays in 24 hours.


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