In Memory of Dick Snider

By Peter Hancock
Special to the Topeka Metro News
Nov. 26, 2004

Babe Ruth hit his last home run as a player for the Boston Braves. The last uniform he wore (as a coach) was that of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Michael Jordan finished his career in the NBA with the Washington Wizards, and Joe Namath threw his last NFL pass for the Los Angeles Rams.

A lot of great people end their careers in places other than the one that made them famous, and so it was with Dick Snider who died this week at age 83, a month after publishing his final column in the Topeka Metro News.

Regardless of where he ended his career, most readers will always remember Snider as a longtime reporter and columnist for the Topeka Capital-Journal. And that’s as it should be, even though his short-lived career at this newspaper should never be forgotten or discounted.

I never had the privilege of knowing Snider personally, but I always admired his work. He had that rare ability to keep both the big world and the small world in their proper perspective – to write with equal eloquence and passion about city politics or a Snider family reunion.

He could be lighthearted and whimsical, or he could be dark and caustic. Either way, he never fell into the trap of taking himself, or his own opinions, too seriously.

Snider came to this newspaper after what can only be described as a less than amicable separation from the Capital-Journal. I don’t presume to know all the reasons for his departure from that paper, nor would I presume to pass them along here even if I did. Continue reading

ABC College Football Highlights and NCAA Films

National Collegiate Athletic Association News

Nov. 1, 1976

Teamwork produces success in athletic competition more perhaps than any other single ingredient, and, likewise, it is this same essence which contributes most to the production of the weekly NCAA College Football Highlights Show.

Just as no superior football team ever won a championship solely on the talent of one superstar, the College Football Highlights Show never could exist without the network of people who form a “team” for the NCAA Film Service, which produces it for ABC Sports. Highlights of each action-packed week of NCAA College Football arc captured by NCAA Films, and within hours, the excitement and drama arc reproduced for the viewing public’s enjoyment over 78 percent of the stations on the ABC television network.

Perhaps never contemplated by the Sunday morning armchair quarterback, who settles back into his easy-chair to review the clashes staged on the nation’s college football battlefields virtually hours before, is the hectic story of one of the most unique film presentations aired on television today. Continue reading

Enough Of Phelps’ ‘Emotional Terrorism’

Phelps Announces a Picket

From the National Journal online

By Steve Snider, Oct. 6, 2010

In the late 1990s, Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church posted a news release to its site announcing plans to picket the funeral of my father, Dick Snider. My Dad was a Topeka newspaper columnist for many years, writing 750-word takes three days a week on politics and local characters past and present, taking not a few pokes at the pompous and self-dealing. Phelps and his picketers were a Topeka staple for years before going national to spread their targets of hate and ending up as plaintiffs in Snyder v. Phelps. The Supreme Court will hear an appeal today from the father of Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder to reinstate a $5 million judgment won against the Phelps group after they picketed Matthew’s funeral. Snyder was killed in Iraq.

My father said Phelps started targeting him for columns that chided Topeka authorities for allowing the picketers to roam the city in placard-waving packs to harass “accused” homosexuals. A newspaper profile of Dick Snider when he turned 80 put it this way: “As a youngster in Oakwood, Okla., the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan burned a cross at the Snider family home, forcing one of the few Roman Catholic families in the small town to move elsewhere. Little wonder why Snider maintains little tolerance for fools and bigots.” Continue reading

A few nice words about Dick Snider

(In March 2001, Topeka Capital-Journal outdoor writer Jim Ramberg penned this birthday bouquet. Ramberg, a friend of my Dad’s and a regular visitor in the final days, passed in 2007. To read writer Rick Dean’s excellent obit in the C-J, click here.)

Outdoor notes compiled while coming up with a tribute to fellow columnist Dick Snider, who celebrated his 80th birthday a couple days ago.

Let’s see. Dick Snider is …

Well, let’s start off first with some outdoor notes while I think about this. Continue reading