Yes, this is the final week of preseason football. Yes, a bright new season, full of hope and promise is coming down on us like a freight train.
But this week will not really be about the Lions for me at all. This will always be the week that Tom Kowalski shockingly passed away from an apparent heart attack at the age of 51.
If you've followed the Lions online for any amount of time, you've probably read a lot of Tom's work. He had been on the Lions beat for 30+ years. He wrote for booth newspapers, did work for Fox 2 Lions coverage, maintained a forum and wrote for Mlive in Detroit, and hosted numerous radio shows for WDFN The Fan.
When you are a blogger, without a proper press pass to into the locker room or the press box or post game interviews... you get a lot of your information to write about in a predigested format from other writers--the ones with the passes.
For me, for most Lions bloggers, that source of information was "Killer" Kowalski. He was the consummate professional. He was never a sensationalist. He never wrote anything for "shock" value. He got the story. He presented the story. He was friends with the coaches and the players and everyone else on the beat.
I got to talk to Killer several times via email and his radio shows. He was always cordial and truthful and honest and real...no matter how stupid my questions or beliefs were. He was funny too in a tongue-in-cheek condescending way.
Tom "The Killer" Kowalski was a huge brick in the foundation of Detroit Lions sports coverage...and that foundation now has a big empty crack in it as far as I'm concerned.
Life will go on. The Lions season will open in a little under two weeks...a season where there are great national expectations for these same Lions...after Tom covered thirty years of, mostly, ineptitude and failure. It just doesn't seem fair that now that they may be on the verge of something...the Killer will no longer be in the room...he's no longer our guy on the inside.
I've listened to talk radio this week, since the announcement and you can feel the hole that he's left. The entire community is in shock and each show has a hollowness and sadness permeating through it...