Canada Talks’ Jeff Sammut reflects on legendary broadcaster Pat Marsden
In celebration of St.Patrick’s Day, I want to tell you a little about my St. Patrick.
If you are a regular listener of “Canada Now” (weekdays 10am-12pm ET on Sirius XM Canada Talks Channel 167), you’ll hear my tribute to him at the start of every show. When I was the great Pat Marsden’s technical producer, I’d play “Let Your Love Flow” by the Bellamy Brothers for him on the mornings when he really needed a pick me up. I use that song as my theme. I also throw in a “Good morning Pat” while I greet my audience over the tune.
Now you know Pat was a legendary broadcaster in the world of sports. A voice of the CFL, a TV staple, a radio morning show host that “saved this radio station”, as he humbly described his time hosting on Canada’s first all-sports radio station in Toronto. That’s the Pat the audience got to see. I was privileged to see another side of him too.
When I entered his field of vision, his legend was established. He had nothing to gain in a friend who was much younger, very green and certainly intimidated by him. He had a ton of friends that loved him and still smile at the thought of him today. The mere mention of Pat Marsden sends his friends into a worm-hole of stories that has them belly-aching with laughter.
For whatever reason, Pat saw something in me. He took the time to share his stories with me. To tell me what mistakes he made. To make sure I didn’t take any crap from anyone. He instilled a backbone in me, gave me courage for my convictions and had me believing I could do anything I wanted in radio and in life. I was somebody to him. He demanded I succeed and not accept anything less. Heck, he’d make sure I had cash on me if I was going somewhere important after the show. He was kinda like my work-Dad.
Years later, when he was knockin’ on heaven’s door, he did all that and more from a hospital bed. As I said “see you later Pally” for the last time, walking down the disappearing entryway to his room, I grabbed the handle to the door to let myself out. I knew I laid eyes on him for the very last time. He knew what I was feeling, so he used some of his last breaths to utter his last words to me…”I miss you Jeffy”. I said, “I miss you too Pally”. And that was it.
Pat went on to become my saint.
My wife and I gave my second born the middle name “Patrick”. I’m reminded of Pat Marsden every day because of that. Throw in the Bellamy Brothers every morning and I get another flash of Pat there too. It’s nice to surround myself with memories and stories of him. It’s nice to bellyache.
Thank you my St. Patrick.