The tragic death of Robin Williams transcended the worlds of comedy, films, and television.
Williams, who lived in northern California, was a rabid San Francisco Giants fan, so much so that he gave an impassioned address to Giants fans before the first game of the 2010 National League Division Series. The team later credited the fire stoked by Williams as part of the reason they were inspired to go on to win the first World Series for the Giants in 56 years. Williams paraphrased his “Good Morning, Vietnam” catchprase from the eponymous film by shouting, “Good Evening, San Francisco!”
The Giants acknowledged his death with this statement:
We were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Robin Williams. Robin was a true artist who brought joy to the world through his brilliance, humor, talent and love for our community. We lost one of our greatest fans today and he will be deeply missed by the Giants family. Our thoughts and prayers are with Robin’s family and the entire community during this difficult time.
Williams also created a deathless routine about golf which was hysterically funny, as well as provided pungent comments on other sports. The golf routine, featuring an imaginary conversation between Williams and a Scotsman, was a classic:
Scotsman: Here’s my idea for a sport. I knock a ball in a gopher hole.
Williams: Like pool?
Scotsman: F*** off pool, not with a straight stick, with a little f***ed up stick. I whack a ball, it goes in a gopher hole.
Williams: Oh, you mean like croquet?
Scotsman: F*** croquet. I put the hole hundreds of yards away.
Williams: Oh, like a bowling thing?
Williams: F*** no. Not straight, I put s**t in the way. Like trees and bushes and high grass. So you can lose your ball. And go whacking away with a tire iron. Whacking away, and each time you miss you feel like you’ll have a stroke. That’s what we’ll call it, a stroke, cause each time you miss you feel like you’re gonna f***ing die. Oh great, oh and here’s the better part — this is brilliant. Right near the end I’ll put a little flat piece with a little flag to give you f***ing hope. But then I’ll put a little pool and a sand box to f*** with your ball again.
Williams: Oh, and you do this one time?
Scotsman: F*** no. Eighteen f***ing times.
Williams returned to sports as fuel for his routines many times during his long career.
Snowboarding: “The poor Canadian snowboarder, in the 1998 Olympics, they took away his medal because he tested positive for marijuana, which is kinda redundant number one; number two, they said that marijuana was a performance-enhancing drug. Marijuana enhances many things: colors, flavors, sensations, but you are certainly not empowered. When you’re stoned, you’re lucky if you can find your own God-damn feet. The only way it’s a performance-enhancing drug is if there’s a big Hershey bar at the end of the run. Then you’ll be like a Swiss ski jumper going, ‘I’m there!'”
Boxing: “I go to boxing to watch the sport of boxing. That’s like saying, ‘I go to stock car races to see people take left turns all day.’ No, you go to boxing to see somebody get the f*** beaten out of ‘em.”
Soccer: “There’s a few soccer fans, the rest of you are like, ‘Uh, that’s like football without pads, right?’ For the rest of the world, it’s football. For us, it’s a strange sport, played by damaged people. Everyone plays it. Not like the World Series, because the French don’t have a baseball team. If they did, [with French accent] they would only have left field and no one would be safe.”
Of course, there were performances by Williams in films in which he talked about sports, notably in Good Will Hunting, where he told Matt Damon of how he missed the historic Carlton Fisk home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series to have a drink with the woman he would marry. But those words came from the pens of Damon and Ben Affleck. Williams simply delivered them brilliantly.