Richard H. (Dick) Grimm spent his prime years in the world of golf moving about with the sport's royalty. Jack Nicklaus, Nick Price, Craig Stadler – just a few of the names in his personal Rolodex. But here we were, folding clothes together in a laundromat in Dry Gulch, Alta., or wherever we were that week on the far-from-glamorous Canadian Tour, the developmental circuit that was the first stop for many young pros.
He was the commissioner and I was the publicist, and we had a standard uniform that included logoed shirts. Somehow our tops got mixed up on the sorting table – usually not a problem unless one of you is a medium (me) and the other is an XXL. When I slipped a shirt on back at the hotel, I looked like the 97-pound weakling on the beach. But I, at least, could tuck in the excess fabric. I could only imagine what poor Dick must look like (he being well over six feet tall and not exactly lacking in girth).
Sure enough, when I arrived at the course, he was locked in his polyester straitjacket, afraid to admit that he might have bungled his wash and shrunk his top by four sizes, and looking like an Oktoberfest sausage at peak grill. I couldn't help but play along for an hour or so, needling him with: "Have you lost weight? You look a bit smaller today." Finally, not able to watch him squirm any longer, I untucked my sail. And that's when I heard it, his signature – the low chuckle that rolled into a gargantuan laugh.
Not many people can knowingly subject their boss to public ridicule and have a job at the end of the day. But then again, not many people were Dick Grimm. He had a love of comedy and a deep appreciation of the absurd that served him well in the political world of professional sports.
Rob Gilroy is a Globe and Mail copy editor