Fond mem­o­ries of Randy Tie­man

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page - STEVEN WAR­BUR­TON

“If you have pas­sion and you work hard, you can be good at just about any­thing.”

Randy Tie­man said those words to me in the win­ter of 2011. I was at his Williamstown area prop­erty to in­ter­view him about his ca­reer as a sports­caster. He walked me through his en­tire life – grow­ing up in Ex­eter, ON, his child­hood dreams of be­ing a pro­fes­sional golfer, driv­ing across much of the coun­try in his 1967 Chevy van and knock­ing on the doors of ra­dio sta­tions ev­ery­where, look­ing for a job, and then, ul­ti­mately, find­ing work in Mon­treal in the early 1980s.

“I jumped at it,” he told me. Ev­i­dently, it was his dream job. He was do­ing af­ter­noon sportscasts and then cov­er­ing the Ex­pos games in the evening. He also had op­por­tu­ni­ties to cover the Mon­treal Cana­di­ens and the Alou­ettes. Base­ball, how­ever, was his big love and he told me that the day the Ex­pos left Mon­treal in 2004 was one of the sad­dest days of his life.

He was a jovial guy with a boom­ing ra­dio bari­tone voice and a bushy mus­tache that has been his trade­mark for more than four decades. He cov­ered about a dozen Grey Cups and al­ways had a strong sense of nos­tal­gia for the way sports jour­nal­ism used to be.

“When I cov­ered the Ot­tawa Rough Riders, some of the play­ers would ac­tu­ally call to in­vite you over to Bill’s [a lo­cal pub] for drinks,” he says. “There was sort of an un­writ­ten rule that you didn’t have a tape recorder but that would never hap­pen nowa­days.”

He had sym­pa­thy for pro­fes­sional ath­letes who, thanks to our me­dia-sat­u­rated cul­ture, can’t cut loose and re­lax any­more. “If they do that to­day, it will be on YouTube in a mat­ter of sec­onds,” he says.

He had also been a war­rior as he had sur­vived can­cer and menin­gi­tis, the lat­ter of which put him in a coma for about a week. He’d had his spleen re­moved, un­der­went six months of chemo­ther­apy, and, even­tu­ally, quin­tu­ple by­pass surgery.

On Fri­day, Nov. 16, Mr. Tie­man passed away at the age of 64. It sent shock­waves through­out Mon­treal’s sports com­mu­nity and the Mon­treal Cana­di­ens, his favourite NHL team, paid tribute to him on Mon­day, Nov. 19, be­fore their game against the Wash­ing­ton Cap­i­tals.

Well I am not a Cana­di­ens fan or a Mon­treal res­i­dent, but I will al­ways re­mem­ber the kind­ness Mr. Tie­man showed my girl, Kelsey-Fay, when she was a typ­i­cal nine-year-old who loved horses. Mr. Tie­man in­vited us to his prop­erty so she could see and even pet the six horses his fam­ily kept there. It was a pretty cold day too but Mr. Tie­man didn’t mind bundling up so he could give a lit­tle girl a bit of hap­pi­ness.

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