It was with heavy heart and a shock that has still not worn off that I learned of the death of Lions beat writer Tom "Killer" Kowalski. I must have sat at my desk just dumbfounded for more than a few minutes as the shock set in. I've had my won brushes with heart issues this year, and it really hit home. It could happen any time. Celebrity deaths are things that have never really struck me to tears. But I was close to breaking out tears yesterday afternoon, as they stood unsehd in my eyes. Tom was just a local celebrity, national figure, he was someone who had been a part of my life the whole time I was a Lions fan. My whole life.
Back in the early 2000's, I found the Mlive Lions Forum -- back in those days Tom would log in between practices sometimes, and hang out with us answering questions. A true insider showing true class. It was like he was just one of the fans -- only with behind the scenes info that we on the outside could only dream of.
He had a way of analyzing and adding his thoughts to the news coming out of Allen Park that made it so much more than the standard cut and paste AP articles and regurgitated blather that you get from most outlets. His Film Breakdowns after each game - even preseason - were priceless for those of us who wanted to watch the film but didn't have the time, knowledge, or experience to do so. Nor could we ask players and coaches - as he did - what the heck happened on that play fellas?
It was Tom Kowalski who replied to my email encouraging me when I decided to start this blog - and also encouraged me to stay away being just another set of news links. "Lots of Hot Dogs, not very many toppings" is how he described the basic reporting that we often see of a few facts repeated and thats it. Lots of writers are afraid or unable to really put that stamp on their writing while reporting at the same time. Despite being fair -- both in praise and criticism -- he was still a fan like the rest of us, rooting for the team. And that dichotmy led him to delve into his own thoughts and share them with us -- as well as debate, argue, and chat about them with us.
He was one of us, and made us feel like we were in Allen Park right there with him - that we were all insiders, part of the team.
Without his great insight, hard work, and dedication none of the vibrant lions blogging community would or will be the same. You're going to be very missed Killer - not just Mlive -- but all of the fans of the Lions will never feel the same.
what time is it....? Theres a 100% chance you know... it's time to say goodbye Tom.