Sports writing, Maven/SI, lost a legend: Chris Dufresne
This one hurts.
Those who know me know that I almost never go out the night before a game because I always want to try and be at my best come kickoff. But a couple of years ago at the national championship in San Jose I got off the bus for the media party and the first thing I heard was Tony Barnhart say "There's the man we want to see." He introduced me to Chris Defresne and his wife Sheila, and Mark Blaudschun, and they wanted to pick my brain about their TMG website and joining Maven.
To call Dufresne a legend doesn't do justice to the term. He was the Los Angeles Times national college football and basketball columnist from 1995 to 2015.
We parked ourselves at a table, talked shop for a while and then started swapping stories. Mostly I did a lot of listening. Just about every veteran big-name writer who walked through the door made a point to stop by and say hello to them, and many jumped into the conversation for a while.
I had a blast. Kid-in-a-candy-story kind of night.
They ended up taking off just before the party was closed down, and when I got back to the media hotel ran into them in the media room. We kept going. At some point, either that night or the next, Chris gave me a good idea for a series that we did on the site last year.
Easily my favorite time as a sports writer in years.
Special night. Special guy. He's going to be missed, big-time.