By stern on Mar 23, 2007
A few days later, my son received a letter from his maternal grandfather, on the occasion of his upcoming Bar Mitzvah, containing a bit of grandfatherly commentary. It's the kind of thing I hope he holds onto for a century, so he can explain to his grandchildren what the people in all of our family pictures were like. I tried to draw a parallel through one of the few glimpses I have of my own maternal grandfather; as he died in 1946 I never met him. But I know that he put away stamps and coins for my mother, now part of my own collection, and perhaps the genetic predisposition for my eBay habit. As I showed the bits and pieces of his great-grandfather's life to my son, he and I noticed that four of the stamps are near-perfect 1932 Olympic commemorative issues. Featuring a ski jumper -- whom we coincidentally nicknamed "Art Devlin." All I had to do was mention him in an email, and 75 years of philatelic history deposited Art Devlin in a family Kodak moment.
Normally, I wouldn't read too much into this, until I received this YouTube link from my co-author Evan Marcus. It's the story behind ABC TV's Wide World of Sports introductory "agony of defeat" scene, in which a ski jumper misses the ramp and careens down into the gallery. In the video, Jim McKay plays the original sports cast for the assembled crowd, and you can hear the gasp of the color commentator: one Art Devlin.
It's a life imitating Art hat trick.