Sporting commentators have always held a special place in the memory of great sporting occasions.
They create the soundtrack to our sporting highs and lows and when we think back to the special moments theirs is the voice that tells the story.
There have been greats like Peter O’Sullevan and Jimmy Magee, stars like Micheál O’Hehir and so many more.
And there have been voices and characters that have defined their sport in more niche terms but with no less influence and importance.
In the world of Darts, the name that comes to mind for those of a certain vintage is Sid Waddell with his iconic drawn out one hundred and eighty signature.
But for the last twenty years and more the voice that has guided us through Christmas World Championships, the dominance of Phil Taylor and the era of Sky has been Dave Clark.
Last night he announced on Twitter that he was stepping away from the sport to face the next chapter of his ten year story of a life with Parkinson’s Disease.
It never dimmed the enthusiasm he injected into every tournament. It never took away his big northern smile and northern soul.
The tributes paid to him are heartfelt and generous.
Clark was in the first generation of Sky presenters that emerged from radio to take their place in the explosion of live sporting coverage.
I had the pleasure to work alongside him on a number of programmes in Capital Radio in the 1990’s, including as part of a team with the late Bobby Moore, Johnathan Pearce, Steve Wilson and more.
He has faced his life with Parkinson’s with courage and inspiration to others that have been struck by it.
In a wonderful feature with Nick Callow that appeared in the Irish Examiner last year Clark shared what his advice is to those who ask him.
As a lesson in how to face whatever challenges beset you it is real, pragmatic and useful.
It is worth repeating:
Live in the now, try not to look too far into the future.
Always have something in the diary that excites you.
Music makes you happy, don’t live in a silent house where you can brood.
Dance, even if you haven’t danced in years.
Keep busy .. but don’t feel guilty about having the odd sofa day.
Stay sociable. If your friends don’t ring you, ring them and arrange to see them on a regular basis.
Get up Dress up Show up NEVER Give up.
Don’t mourn what you can’t do, celebrate what you can.
Say yes to invitations, even if you’re feeling rubbish.
Exercise makes you feel good, even if you can only manage to get to the corner shop. DO IT!
Stretch — every morning.
Eat well, try not to skip meals when you’re shaky. Food is brain fuel.
Hydrate.. Water makes up about 73% of the human brain and helps make hormones and neurotransmitters.
Talk to other people with Parkinson’s online .. it’s a really supportive community. Their experience can help your experience.
Build a support team around you. People you can trust. Friends, neighbours, fitness instructor, your neuro doctor, your chemist.
Only tell people about your Parkinson’s when you’re ready.
Other people’s grief about your diagnosis can be as hard as getting a diagnosis.
Remember, people with Parkinson’s can do amazing things. Do something amazing.”
He won’t be on our screens, laughing and guiding us through the joyous madness of darts any more but follow him on twitter and watch the next chapter as it unfolds.
He will brighten up your timeline.