Constant readers will recall a series of stories that I started not long ago about my career in broadcasting. I wrote about the people who influenced my early career and their colorful nicknames. I left out an individual who was part of that great group of people I associated with during my college years. I left him out because he wasn't in television, but he was a larger than life character whose devotion to the University of Kansas earned him a much deserved nickname, "The Old Jayhawk."
Bob Nelson passed away this weekend. He was 88. Rich Bailey, "The Pureman," introduced me to Bob when I was a freshman in college. I remember thinking, why is Rich hanging around this old dude? What's funny now is that old dude was about the age that I am now. But I quickly figured out that Rich and a lot of other folks gravitated to this "old dude" because he had more life, more energy, and a zest for living and loving all things Kansas than I could ever hope to have.
"The Old Jayhawk" wasn't just the life of the party, he was the party. He knew everybody and everybody knew him. The times with Bob I remember most fondly where the trips to Kansas City for the old Big 8 Holiday Tournament. Bob was always at the center of any pre-game or post-game gathering. I feel sorry for those who never got experience those tournaments. I feel sorrier still for the folks that never got to spend an evening with "The Old Jayhawk" hoisting a few adult beverages and reveling in his wonderful stories about the Crimson and Blue.