Remembering Buzz: a Trail icon

"[Buzz] engendered a little jealousy among his peers for his seemingly effortless mastery of any activity..."

I have never been much for mysticism, but some days it seems like there might be something to it.

Just the other day an old friend and I were discussing a few things over a beverage and up popped the name of Buzz McGibney, an almost iconic former Trailite and a mutual friend. Neither of us had thought about, or broached, that subject in a very long time.

Turns out, our conversation took place at about the time Buzz took his last (graceful, I am positive) breath at the age of 95.

Buzz led a lightly-charmed life in most respects, and engendered a little jealousy among his peers for his seemingly effortless mastery of any activity in which he participated.

Tall for his generation, and handsome, and well-groomed, and capable, Buzz may not have been able to do it all, but he did what he did, such as golf and curling (and baseball earlier on) with seeming consummate ease.

For someone who never met him until the early 60s, like me, it was a stretch to consider him sweating or uncoiffed. Not entirely his fault, I suppose, but one sometimes heard the complaint that, “nobody is supposed to have it all.”

And, of course, he didn’t. Buzz, like me, never had natural children, which he would have loved (I know that because he told me so), and never actually won any of the five briers in which he represented B.C. with local teams. I suppose he must have perspired (but, maybe not) during the first four attempts, as he played lead once and second three times on those Reg Stone rinks.

By the time I met him, however, he had begun skipping and never once seemed ruffled, no matter the circumstance. He did win a national championship with a local team, but that was as a, “senior,” curler.

It must be said, however, that one year he won the local seniors AND the local men’s zone title (knocking me and my rink off in an extra end during the playoff round).

Buzz, was, too, among the many accomplished and competitive curlers in the area who almost always had time for learners, like myself, whom they patiently taught as much of what they knew as could be absorbed in casual interactions. Of course, they also taught me a few lessons in competition.

The thing was, summer was just as good to him. Buzz was, for a long time, a sub-scratch golfer at Rossland/Trail.

Oh, and I haven’t mentioned his ambidexterity. Buzz golfed and pitched left-handed, curled with the other wing.

A half century or so ago it would have been difficult for any group in B.C. to match scores with the threesome of Reg and Roy Stone, both then professionals, and Buzz McGibney, for several years a sub-scratch scorer required to offer several strokes even to low handicap players.

Competitive as heck, but easy-going and affable, Buzz was almost considered an ornament to the Home of Champions during the five decades in which he resided here, and locals will have generally fond memories of him, some, of course, tinged with envy at the apparent ease of his attainments.

It wasn’t of course, that easy to be that good at stuff. Buzz practiced a lot, at both his key sports, and got good at them. He stayed good at them for a very long time by putting in the work.

I am sure the family and friends he gained in his later life will miss him. Some here, including me, who have seen little of Buzz in the past three decades, also mourn his passing.

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