Write Again … Such were his gifts

Published 4:00 pm Monday, February 1, 2016

Today’s column, friends, is mostly an obituary-news feature that appeared in the Miami Herald in January.

It’s about Dr. William David Sime. Dave Sime. Some of you may recall that I wrote a column about him not so very long ago. In it, I said that I thought that he was the greatest athlete ever in North Carolina. I also mentioned that I competed against him in the 220-yard dash trials (200 meters) in the spring of 1958 at the Carolinas AAU Track & Field Championships. That day I ran my best ever 220 (21.7), and he just floated away from me. Lord, he could run.

Of interest to sportsphiles is that his grandson, Chris McCaffrey, a sophomore at Stanford, was this past season’s runner up for the Heisman Trophy, and won the Maxwell Award, also emblematic of college football’s player of the year.

Due to space limitations I will omit the family information (he had three children and eight grandchildren).

“He was born and raised in Patterson, NY, . . . His beloved younger brother Ricky died tragically in a baseball accident at the age of eight …

“David lived most of his life in Miami, Florida. He was holder of nine world track records (outdoor: 100 and 200 meter dashes, 100 and 220 yd dashes, and the 220 yd low hurdles; indoor: 100, 80, 70, 60 yard dashes), was once described as ‘one of the fastest humans of all time’ and was named by Sports Illustrated as ‘Superman in Spikes.’

“He won a silver medal in the 100 meter dash at the 1960 Rome Olympic Games, all while attending Duke University Medical School. Sime wasn’t just fast, he was also a champion long jumper, discus and javelin thrower, the 1950 Silver Skates Derby Junior Novice champion at Madison Square Garden, a basketball star, an All-American center fielder, turning down many major league offers, ACC Athlete of the Year in 1956, and a football player (his first year in medical school) who was drafted by the Detroit Lions (but chose not to play).

“He was an inductee of the USA Track & Field, New Jersey, and North Carolina Sports Halls of Fame, and in 2010 Duke named him their most outstanding athlete of the 20th Century.

“Following his residency at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Sime practiced ophthalmology in Miami, Florida, and was a pioneer in laser eye surgery …

“A bon vivant and adrenalin junkie, Sime enjoyed tennis, inline skating, cycling, wind surfing, helicopter skiing, flying, shooting, sailing, body surfing, world traveling (most recently kayaking between glaciers in the Chilean Straits of Magellan), and was an avid reader, sometimes consuming up to three books a week.

“He enjoyed golf and was a longtime member of Indian Creek Country Club in Miami Beach, and also the Elk River Club in Banner Elk, North Carolina …”

He died January 12, 2016, “following a long battle with cancer.”

Dave Sime (pronounced to rhyme with Jim). One of a kind.

We shall not see the likes of him again.