Monday, 16 October 2017

GETTING CADLED: A REMEMBRANCE OF KEVIN CADLE

My friend and colleague Kevin Cadle died unexpectedly yesterday, aged 62. I've written an appreciation of my man for nfluk.com, you can find it here. (NOTE: On the first anniversary of Kev's death I went back to repost that story, and the link to nfluk.com doesn't work any more. So I'll just insert it here, exactly as I wrote it that morning, after Karl and Larraine called to tell me he was gone, and as it appeared on nfluk.com. There will be a little repetition in the rest of this piece, but I don't mind if you don't.

GETTING CADLED

Yesterday Kev was supposed to be in the Talksport studio doing the Jags game with Nat Coombs and me. I got a text from him Sunday morning saying he'd been to the emergency room with a virus, and wasn't feeling up to doing the show, making his unnecessary apologies. This wasn't like Kev, who was generally indefatigable, but I texted him back jokingly, as I was just out of hospital myself. I expected to see him in a few days, when I was going to do his new Sportsheads show with him. When I heard the news of his death, my first thought as the shock wore off was that it was the first time I'd ever heard from or about Kev when the conversation didn't generate a smile.

Kevin was above all fun. It was more than twenty years ago that we met doing End Zone, the World League of American Football magazine show on Sky, and for another decade he and I did WLAF/NFL Europe games together every spring. The thing with Kev as the host was he always kept you on your toes; one of his favourite tricks was to tell you he'd be asking you about the Monarchs' defense when we came out of the break; then he'd ask you about the Amsterdam offense, and chuckle off camera as you tried to adjust. I used to call it 'getting Cadled'.

Most of you know Kev was first off a basketball coach, and for a couple of years in the Nineties, he and I did Euroleague basketball for a satellite channel in the Gulf. We'd each call a weekly game, but during the final four playoffs we worked together, with my doing play by play and Kev the colour. I tried any number of times to Cadle him, but like I said, he was indefatigable, and I never really succeeded: nothing was going to put him off his game.

But my favourite times with Kev were quieter ones, when his positive thinking could lift me up. Especially in those years we both lived in northwest London, and he'd give me a lift home after late finishes at Sky. We'd be able to pick up the banter, and it was always a hoot and a half, in just that sort of way when you and someone you like share some common background, but also enough differences see things from different angles. But it was even better when the talk grew more serious. I see humour in things in a somewhat ironical way, Kev's perspective was always more positive, and no less funny.

He was big man, with a big personality, and he loved to share it. From the first time we went to Scotland to do a Claymores' game, and the legion of fans from his days coaching hoops up there crowded round, I could see there was a special connection there. Kev was successful as a motivational speaker, and it was easy to see why: his message was always upbeat, and he was always on message.

I can't tell you how shocked I am that we've lost him. The last thing I said to Nat Sunday night was about bringing Kev back in this Sunday. I was hoping to finally Cadle him. I won't get that chance. When we finished a Sportsheads taping a couple of weeks ago, we went off together and started talking about how much fun it had been, just like the old days. Those old days are now gone. I will miss him. And so will NFL fans, and sports fans, all round the UK. For anyone in this country who followed American sport, Kev was a star. And to me, I am proud to say, he was a friend.

***
It was a shock, especially since he was supposed to do our Talksport show that night, and I was looking forward to doing his Sportsheads programme this week. Just saying that reminds how much of our careers in this business depends on relationships: Kev brought me aboard on Showtime Sport's EuroLeague basketball (it was in 2003 and 2004, not the late Nineties as I mis-remembered) and I was able to throw some things his way: it was true that we talked about that old time feeling of working together regularly just a couple of weeks ago: you just never know what will happen.

As some of you may remember, Kev replaced me on the Sky NFL show. Sky being Sky no one ever bothered to inform me of this, but I was lucky enough to have Channel Five pick up the late night Sunday and Monday games soon after, and the rest was history. The Sky NFL producer was on holiday, and had assumed someone else would let me know; meanwhile Kev and I had lunch in Primrose Hill when he knew but I still didn't. The next time we got together (which curiously enough was by accident, and on Primrose Hill) we had a talk. Kev hadn't wanted to bring the subject up, because he felt embarrassed and, assuming Sky would have had the grace to inform me; he figured I was being polite and not bringing it up either. That we stayed friends says all that needs to be said.

The photo at the top of the page was taken just about a year ago, after the NFL game at Twickenham, when I interviewed Kev on stage to help promote his memoir, The Cadle Will Rock. In the middle is Karl Baumann, who was our producer on WLAF/NFL Europe. I'd tell the Amsterdam story now, but this isn't the time or the place.

But it makes me smile. I've got others; the Frankfurt concentration camp one is my favourites. Maybe someday. And this is the absolute truth: no sooner had I posted this than my email showed a request from Kevin to connect on Linkedin. He'd Cadled me one last time! This morning someone posted a picture of Kev and Cecil Martin carving the Thanksgiving turkey, a Sky tradition which I believe was Karl's idea. It was high sports comedy, and it got better every year. When I saw the photo I started laughing out loud. And then I cried. RIP Big Guy.

2 comments :

illi41 said...

Lovely, Mike. Yes I love the happy, jokey, positive, family feel when I watch both of your shows. Thank you.

Ed Hall said...

Thanks for posting this, my wife and I still miss his sky anchoring of Sunday night NFL. We even asked Neil (Reynolds) when we were on Regents Street last year meeting the Colts, then suddenly soon after the news of his far too early demise came We only knew him through the screen but such was his personality that it crossed the ether into our living room and our lives. Gone too soon and sorely missed. Rip Kev