Robert Sacks

by Larry Peery

In a hobby filled with interesting or exotic characters, Robert Sacks was unique. He was both.

In a hobby filled with loud talkers or hard workers, Robert Sacks was unique. He was both.

In a hobby filled with mortals who think they are immortal, Robert Sacks is unique. He is immortal.

As long as there is a Diplomacy hobby, there will be stories told about Robert Sacks. In time those stories will become legends, because Robert was the kind of person who inspired legends. With the legends come immortality.

I knew and worked with Robert for over a third of a century. During that time we were friends and enemies, partners and adversaries, proponents and opponents; but always sharing the same goal --- making the Diplomacy hobby a better place for all. There was hardly a hobby project, publication or activity that Robert didn't have an opinion about; and he never hesitated to let people know what they were. Sometimes he was in the mainstream. Sometimes he wasn't. It never mattered to him, he always said and did what he thought was in the best interests of the hobby.

Ironically, I suppose, I never had a chance to actually sit down and play a game of Diplomacy with him. We were always too busy for that: writing, editing, publishing, organizing, running events, chairing meetings, etc. I do recall at one of the early Avalon Con events at Hunt Valley we did have a chance to play an absolutely horrible boardgame called Fast Food Franchises. Across the board I discovered another side of Robert: his sense of humor, his wit, and his intelligence in a social environment.

I last saw him at last year's WDC event, also at Hunt Valley, where he was, once again, busy at work on some gaming event. We only had a few minutes to chat, but he still had time to let people know how he felt about the Diplomacy hobby and the WDC event. Who would have known then, listening to him expound on his ideas, that in a few weeks he would be dead?

But even in death, Robert has not been forgotten. Don Greenwood recently announced that Robert had posthumously won the BPA Sportsman of the Year award, selected by his peers from among a field of 50 nominees, for his longtime work as a BPA volunteer. A fitting tribute to one who gave so much.

I have lost a colleague and a fellow hobbyist, but the hobby has gained a legend. It's the kind of trade Robert would have appreciated.

Larry Peery

If you wish to e-mail feedback on this article to the author, click on the letter above. If that does not work, feel free to use the "Dear DP..." mail interface.