Lost amidst all of the bowl hoopla, NFL playoffs and general holiday business, last week we lost a true American treasure. Retired sportscaster Stu Nahan passed away at age 81. Some of you may live in Boston and you grew up on Johnny Most; perhaps you grew up in Chicago and find Harry Caray to be the quintessential sports voice. Me? I grew up on Rocky, and therefore Stu Nahan's voice resonates as "big game" to me (or "big fight", as it were).
You can have your "Giants win the pennant!!" or "Go crazy, folks! Go crazy!". Me, I will take "What started out as a joke has turned into a disaster" any day of the week (from Creed-Drago at the MGM in Rocky IV, by the way). He called all of the big fights that mattered to me growing up -- Creed-Balboa I, Creed-Balboa II, Balboa-Lang I, Balboa-Lang II, Creed-Drago. (I'm still bitter USA Network didn't send him to Russia for Balboa-Drago, but that may have been Stu's decision.) His calls of the fights are as synonymous with the Rocky movies as Mickey's inspirational screaming, Paulie's butchering of the English language, or the audience's desire for snipers to take out Adrienne.
Nahan lost his battle with lymphoma on December 26, 2007. His survivors include his widow, Sandy; children Kathy, Mark and Kevin from a previous marriage; five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
In lieu of a ten bell salute, I leave you with video of Stu's finest performance outside of the Rocky saga. The riveting Spicoli interview from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Rest in peace, Stu Nahan. Hopefully, St. Peter gave you as kick ass of a jacket as the network did in this interview ...