Saturday, September 09, 2006

Sports and Society

This a favorite theme of mine.

I interviewed WashPostie David Maraniss author of the and wonderful book Clemente, with a sub-title, probably the first that lays out the experience of Latino players, who now dominate MLB.

It is more important than we sometimes think.

There have been "ping-pong" diplomacy and "soccer wars."

Jackie Robinson's and Branch Rickey "broke the color line." When the mostly black Texas Western beat the Kansas Jayhawks, the American Mid-West was changed.

I recall an incident from my early teen-age years.

The City College of New York (CCNY) had recruited almost the entire NYNY High School All-Star Team. All were either Jews or Blacks.

They became the starting five for legendary Coach Nat Holman who benched his regulars for his Fab Five. One of them was the center "Leopard Ed" Warner at 6'3", who had preceded me by a few years at DeWittClinton High School in The Bronx. He could dunk the ball but was razzed for show-boating. No more.

The National Invitational Tournament was then the big tournament --- not the NCCA.

The Wildcats of the University of Kentuckey were coached by the even more legendary Adolph Rupp. His center was Bill Spivey at 7'0". Kaintuck was heavily favored.

Warner out-jumped Spivey at the opening tip.

CCNY won by a 90-45 score.

Joy and rapture in NYNY.

The Mid-South was changed forever.

Alas, most of the CCNY team was later indicted in a point-shaving scandal.

I do think I will try to write my Next Book on the subject.

When Arthur Koestler author of Darkness at Noon (exposing the brutalitity of communism) was in his mid-Sixties he said: "No more. You know what I think about politics." He went off to write a book whether the Lost Tribes of Israel had migrated to the Caucuses.

A new start for AK.

A new start for BW, G-d willing.


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