Friday, March 29, 2013

the last book I ever read (Bill Bradley's Life on the Run, excerpt five)

from Life on the Run by Bill Bradley:

The last letter I open is from Kentucky. It is marked “Important.” Inside is a letter from the doctor-father of a boy whom I had met four years earlier. The son was then a sophomore at the University of Kentucky. He came all the way from Kentucky to ask me to show him how to shoot a basketball. He just appeared at my apartment one day. We went up to Riverside Drive Park where there are some empty baskets. After three minutes, I knew what I had suspected. He couldn’t shoot well but he kept asking how to get off his jump shot under heavy guarding. He said that Adolph Rupp, the coach, had told him he might have a slim chance to make the team. He insisted that he intended to work day and night, for his lifelong goal was to play basketball for Kentucky. We talked and shot about an hour. He thanked me for the help and boarded a bus back home. I saw him later that year in Cincinnati. He had been cut from the Kentucky team. He was down, and convinced that his sprained ankle had something to do with it. I wrote him a letter two years later, after his sister had written that he had cancer. My letter arrived too late. The boy’s father thank me for the letter but says that his son had died six months earlier. He goes on to relate the grief and pain of losing his only son. I put the letter down. Holzman begins his pregame conversation. I can’t concentrate. I should have written sooner. I feel numbed with anger and sorrow.

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