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Convergence - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
The news that Adolph Rupp-era Kentucky All-American Ralph Beard has passed away calls back memories of the time I saw him at Louisville's storied Hotel Seelbach, which I wrote about in the early months of this journal. At the time I didn't recognize that Beard's involvement in a notorious college basketball point-shaving scandal that led to his being banned from the NBA made the location of my encounter especially rich. The Seelbach, you see, figures in The Great Gatsby, a novel in which the 1919 Chicago "Black" Sox scandal plays a role. When I saw Sherman Alexie deliver the keynote talk at the University of Louisville's annual literature conference last year, he kept coming back to the image of F. Scott Fitzgerald's ghost wandering the halls of the Seelbach, where Alexie was staying. I also didn't realize back in 2004 how deliciously ironic it was that Beard was accused of shaving.

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From: (Anonymous) Date: December 1st, 2007 11:17 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)


Thanks for the link back to the Beard post. You're right: the Wildcat faithful do have the ability to overlook some of the less-than-savory parts of our heroes bios, for better or worse. (As much as it pains me to write this on the day that UNC trounces my Cats, but that's something different entirely.)

The family's legend is that my (still living) grandfather had a scholarship to UK in '48, though I'm not sure if he would have overlapped with Beard or not. Alas, his father was killed in a farming accident, so his mother insisted that as the oldest son he stay home and help take care of the rest of the family. I'm not sure how much truth there is to the story, but I saw newspaper clippings from his 50-point game, and he still had a mean set shot well into his seventies.

Hope to see you at MLA, John
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: December 1st, 2007 11:52 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: Beard

Wow. Even the idea that he might have been granted a scholarship by Adolph Rupp is pretty awesome.

I was surprised Beard had died, because he looked extremely spry when I saw him in 2004. Still quick on his feet and with the proverbial spark in his eye.

Not sure about MLA. It was great seeing you in Bethlehem. Sorry I didn't respond to your message. I was busy and then never got around to returning that week's e-mails.
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