I had a terrific time filming Champ at his home in the Spring of 2015. I had arranged our shoot just a few days before, and I showed up with two crew in a bit of a frenzy; Champ was our third interview/location of the day! To say he was a sport about it is an understatement. He was so relaxed as we came into his house and proceeded to rearrange everything in sight to set up the shoot. After the interview, we went outside with him to shoot training footage - which we made him repeat about 1,000 times! Poor guy. Our shots kept getting interupted by neighbors passing by who wanted to talk to Champ. He was clearly the celebrity of his neighborhood! At the end of what seemed like an incredibly long day, we were finally done shooting, so we bid Champ adieu. As we were sitting in his driveway, packing up our gear, I realized that I had forgotten to have him sign a personal release form. So I knocked on his door again, release form in hand. Champ's wife called me inside, and there was Champ: sitting in his La-z-boy, smoking a stogie. I guess it surprised me to see a 98 year-old champion athlete puffing away in his living room. I smiled, and secretly wished he had busted out the cigar while we still had the cameras out.
Rest in Peace, Champ. Yours was truly a life worth living.