I am not really old enough to look back on life and get nostalgic but today I had to take a moment to allow myself to indulge in that activity. You see, today marked the end of the career of one of my biggest sporting influences growing up. The end of a distinct voice that I will forever associate with Canadian Soccer and with Saturday morning Premier League broadcasts. Today, Gerry Dobson announced his retirement.
To say that Gerry was the most iconic voice in Canadian soccer history would not be an overstatement in the slightest. When he moved to Sportsnet on day one of the networks existence he began an integral part of their regular soccer broadcasts and for many who did most of their growing up in the past 18 years he became an inseparable part of our soccer watching experience.
For many they look back fondly on Saturday mornings spent watching cartoons on tv but for myself that time slot will always be occupied by the mornings that I spent watching soccer with Gerry Dobson and the rest of the Sportsnet broadcast teams over the years. Those broadcasts we were I developed my love of the game as it was not a part of my family culture growing up and to this day I have still found something comforting in the familiar voice of Mr. Dobson when I get the chance to tune in to games on Sportsnet. For that I will always have fond memories of him.
I will remember him fondly for those times watching him through the tv but also for the times that I had the pleasure of interacting with Gerry in person. The chances were few and far between but when our paths did cross he was always gracious with his time, quick to offer advice to a young man hoping to become a soccer journalist, and clearly just a huge fan of the game. They say you should never meet your heroes but that did not apply to Dobson as when I did meet him he was every bit the quality individual that I had hoped he would be. He even managed to pronounce my name correctly when he mentioned one of my pieces during halftime of a Champions League game which is certainly a moment in my writing career that I will not soon forget.
On a less personal level we all have plenty to celebrate in the career of Gerry Dobson. Over his decades of working in the media he proved to be one of the biggest advocates for Canadian Soccer. For years he pushed to get the Canadian national teams the kind of attention that they deserved and that work should not go unnoticed by those of us who have benefited from it. He was a tireless supporter of Canadian soccer even through some very lean years when we all know that the games were not drawing fans to the stadiums let alone viewers to the tv networks.
Gerry was deservingly included in the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame and should be remembered as one of Canada's finest sports broadcasters for all his years of hard work in front of the camera. It is a career that he can certainly be very proud of now that it is all winding down.
He will still be on our tvs for the remainder of Sportsnets Premier League broadcasts and will be involved in their Toronto FC coverage throughout the summer so be sure to take the few chances you have left to watch Dobson talk about soccer on tv.
Tonight though, I will be raising a glass to 37 years of talking about soccer for a living and remembering fondly the career of the voice I most associate with soccer.