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Sports blogger and original Outsports reader Joe Guckin dies

Known as Joe In Philly, he was a special friend of this website.

Joe Guckin with the Philly Phanatic.

Joe Guckin, 54, a lifelong Philadelphia sports fan, prolific blogger, commenter and Tweeter and one of the first readers of Outsports, died this weekend from brain cancer, his family announced on Facebook.

For all of Joe's many friends..,

Joseph Guckin, 54, died peacefully on January 28th after a 21 month battle with brain cancer. Joe was the son of the late Virginia (Cipparone) & William Guckin and brother of Bill (Linda), Deacon Steve (Eileen), Pat, Andy, Eileen (Pat), Ed, Tony (Jen) and the late Matthew. He is also survived by 3 nieces, 6 nephews, aunts, uncles, many cousins and friends. A viewing will be held on Saturday, Feb. 4th, beginning at 9:00am at St. Martha's R.C. Church, 11301 Academy Road Philadelphia, PA 19154. His Funeral Mass will follow at 10:30am. Interment private. In lieu of flowers, donations in Joe's memory to Saint Martha Parish would be appreciated.

He was known by everyone in the Outsports family as Joe In Philly, easily the most prolific poster we had in our first decade when we had a reader discussion board. One of our first readers starting in 2000, Joe was engaging, snarky, funny and provocative, someone who cheered and cursed his Philadelphia sports teams, and let you know if he thought you were being an idiot (as I discovered many times).

On his fantastic blog, The Joe In Philly Experience, Joe described himself thusly:

I run the gamut from A to Z. To be specific: acerbic, brilliant, cranky, delusional, entertaining, fabulous, grouchy, hardworking, incompetent, jovial, kind, lazy, modern, nervous, outgoing, playful, quixotic, reserved, serious, traditional, understanding, voracious, witty...I need an X word; I was using xenophobic but that's not accurate, yearning and zany.

A running Joeism on Outsports was changing his profile sig to match his mood of the moment, and it usually involved demands that Philadelphia coaches and managers be fired (“Fire Andy Reid Now” was a perennial and my favorite). In 2008, Joe had “Fire Charlie Manuel Now” as a sig until suddenly the Phillies caught fire and won the World Series. It was a rare time that Joe delighted in being proven wrong.

It’s safe to say that Outsports would not be what it was without Joe and other readers like him from our early years when we struggled to find our voice and mission. Joe was first among equals on the Discussion Board — he was to posting what Michael Phelps is to winning gold medals — and while the discussions often got heated, it was impossible to dislike him. As one of his friends and former discussion board sparring partners wrote on Facebook in tribute: “To one of the greatest humans I met during my lifetime ... thank you for being a part of my life. I hope you get to Rest In Peace.”

Joe was also very kind and generous to his friends. We saw that first-hand in 2004, when Outsports was sued for libel. It was a totally bogus lawsuit but the legal fees of defending it threatened to cause Cyd and I to stop publishing the website. Joe stepped in with a generous donation to help pay for our legal fees and rallied others to help. The suit was dropped and one reason was that we had the resources to hire a good attorney. Neither Cyd nor I have ever forgotten that it was Joe who stepped up in our moment of need.

On our 15th anniversary in 2014, we asked Joe to reflect on his relationship with Outsports and the community he found and he wrote, in part:

Although I'm in a big city with a decent-sized gay community and gay sports leagues, I don't socialize easily in person. I'm not naturally outgoing and I'm not a bar person. So I wasn't very different from someone who lives in the middle of nowhere and has no gay community to join.

Outsports helped me in that regard. The back-and-forth on the board led to meeting a number of fellow Outsporters in person. There were two Outsports Conventions (2003 in Los Angeles, where I was stranded for a couple extra days by the President's Day storm that dumped nearly two feet of snow on Philadelphia, and the following year here in Philly, in May this time so snow wasn't a factor), which were absolutely extraordinary, as well as other gatherings people put together on their own. I met a lot of new friends over this time, and just for that I will always be grateful to Outsports.

The best way to remember Joe is through his writing. His last entry on The Joe In Philly Experience blog — “ If you read only one blog full of ranting and raving about sports (local and otherwise), movies, TV shows, miscellaneous pop culture, life and other assorted flotsam and jetsam, make it this one! — is from Sept. 28 when his cancer was making it hard to write. His last words are fitting for someone who always wanted to have his say:

So I intend to blog, tweet and complain about your behavior on Facebook for as long as I can.

R.I.P., Joe. You said it better than anyone. You will be greatly missed. Fly, Eagles, Fly!