Once upon a time, before he was a walking Father's Day card, before his writing became a neverending telethon for the blind and the deaf, the palsied and the pinkieless, the one-armed and the no-legged, Rick Reilly was really good.
Reilly has gone in for a lot of abuse hereabouts, all of it richly deserved. But there was a time, long ago, when he was the sportswriter's sportswriter, a guy who some days was the best thing in the business. And on the days he wasn't the best, he was, to crib a line, at least in the photo.
A brief story: In 1998, SI handed over its back page to Reilly, and thus was born the now-trademarked "Life of Reilly." I was in college at the time. Every few weeks, my friend would tear out a good Reilly column and tape it up in a bathroom stall in his dormitory — the door, the walls, wherever he could find free space. The stall filled up in no time. To a college student, this was the highest of compliments. Of course, today, the whole project seems appropriate in an altogether different way. (His latest offering, for instance, is a rather sizable piece of shit.)