On Sunday I unsuccessfully tossed something into the garbage, and as it fell aside I found myself youthfully channeling old-school Chicago Bulls broadcaster Jim Durham with the play-by-play: “Rimmmm-innnnnggggg… No!” Yesterday, when I heard about Durham’s death, I felt like I aged 20 years.
For those of us who grew up Chicago-sports obsessed in the 1970s & 80s, there were a few rites of passage. Even if you weren’t a Cub fan, you would come home and watch the last innings of a Cubs game with Jack Brickhouse on the call. There were Sox games at night on Channel 44 with Harry Caray and Jimmy Piersall. Then over the winter, the Bulls might have had some really bad teams, but there was always Jim Durham, who at least made the games sound good—take a second and listen to a collection of his calls, here.)
My favorite Durham call isn’t notable, but it’s rimming around in my head today, just the same. It came during the 1990-1991 playoffs as the Bulls were driving to their first NBA championship. Sharpshooter John Paxson was knocking down a series of shots and Durham shouted, “John Paxson has it stuck on automatic!”
Such is the indelible intimacy a good broadcast can create, especially for a Chicago kid like me. My gut tells me there are a lot of other Chicago kids out there today turning over similar memories.