The reunion put smiles on the faces of everyone in the crowded room.
Terry Taylor took the podium Tuesday afternoon and promptly addressed her long relationship with the Red Smith Award case, an old friend of sorts that also was in attendance at the APSE Summer Conference in Nashville.
She remembers “happily lugging this case around for the better part of 20 years to every convention I attended.” She remembers having it in her office at Rockefeller Plaza in New York, grateful just to have it in her sight.
“So you have to give me a minute here while I say, ‘Red, baby, you are looking terrific!’” Taylor said to the delight of her audience.
Red’s looking even better now.
The 2018 Red Smith Award recipient, Taylor took the opportunity to reflect back on an illustrious career that included stints as the deputy sports editor of The New York Times and sports editor of the Associated Press, where she was in charge of serving every market in the world.
“I had a wonderful sporting life,” Taylor said. “I had a front row seat at all the major events. I traveled to countries I never thought I’d visit. I met people who are still my friends and I cannot imagine I would have been as happy doing anything else.”
Prior to her acceptance speech, a video presentation gave former colleagues a chance to offer congratulations, express gratitude and share the widespread impact Taylor had.
“You are inspiration not just as a woman journalist, but as a journalist, period. As a leader,” AP Global Entertainment & Lifestyles Editor Nekesa Moody said.
“You had that rarest of gifts: the ability to inspire others,” AP columnist Jim Litke said. “Count me among them.”
Taylor, meanwhile, was gracious in accepting the award.
“Working with AP members taught me so much about my job,” she said. “You were my touchstones. You were my sounding board. If I did my job well, it’s because you helped me.”
Taylor became the 37th winner of the Red Smith Award but just the second woman. Mary Garber won the honor, given annually for outstanding contributions to sports journalism, in 2005.
In closing her speech, Taylor turned her thoughts to Garber.
“I attended that luncheon and I confess it was hard not to choke up,” she said. “In 2016, I was honored to receive the Mary Garber Pioneer Award from the Association of Women in Sports Media. Like this award, it was a bolt out of the blue. So thank you, Mary Garber, for your endurance, your determination, your integrity, and your perseverance in doing what you loved. You were the first woman to win Red Smith. I know I won’t be the last.
“Thank you APSE for this tremendous, tremendous honor. I have never, ever been prouder to be a journalist.”