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As Close As I'll Ever Get - De File — LiveJournal
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As Close As I'll Ever Get
I was reading Sports Illustrated just now before bed, the Hunger Games soundtrack blasting in the background, when I came across this passage about former Arizona Wildcat Andre Iguodala in a story on this year's Philadelphia 76ers:
Iguodala grew up in Springfield, Ill., at the height of the Bulls dynasty, and patterned himself after Scottie Pippen. He was not the leading scorer at Lanphier High, where he deferred to a gunner named Richard McBride, or at Arizona, where he averaged 12.9 points and set up sniper Salim Stoudamire. "He likes being the guy who does everything else," says Lawrence Thomas, a coach in Springfield who has worked with Iguodala since ninth grade. His road roommate at Arizona was team manager Jack Murphy, and before Iguodala left after his sophomore year, Murphy gave him a copy of Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. "I didn't want him to ever think he went unrecognized," says Murphy, now an assistant at Memphis. Iguodala, who churns through three books at a time, had already read it.
Jack was my student in the fall of 2000, but stayed in touch afterwards, stopping by to talk basketball on a regular basis. I treasured those conversations, which taught me a great deal about the game -- not to mention Jack, who was doing a remarkable job of turning personal adversity into the life he had long desired -- and also helped me feel more rooted in a community I was still reluctant to claim membership in.

Years later, after he had finished his undergraduate degree, Jack returned to me while enrolled in a graduate program to ask if I'd be willing to direct him in an independent study on African-American literature. I don't know that he needed much help from me -- Jack was always very inner-directed -- but I do remember talking to him at length about my love for Invisible Man and the excessive length of the chapter I devoted to the novel in my doctoral dissertation. It's a real treat, well over half a decade later, to see evidence of my legacy as a teacher in such an unlikely place.

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6 comments or Leave a comment
quuf From: quuf Date: April 14th, 2012 05:44 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
What a great story.

The Hunger Games . . . My niece begged me to read the book, so I downloaded it to my Kindle and enjoyed it more than I thought I would. But she accused my sister and me of being 'snobs' and 'hipsters'(?) when we wouldn't consider it for our book club. Enough, already!
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: April 14th, 2012 06:38 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I was very happy to read this. I had no idea I'd stumble upon it.

As far as the Hunger Games go, I think the books are great. But I'm biased, not only because my daughter read and loved them, but because what they are doing is of great interest to me. It's like they were written to be of use for the subject of my doctoral dissertation, which focused on the nexus of cultural identification and theories of the political.

(Also, it's so nice to hear from you! I keep trying to reanimate my participation in Live Journal, but have so far been held back by the mess of feelings being here inspires. Still, I hate to lose touch with those I have enjoyed getting to know so very, very much.)
quuf From: quuf Date: April 15th, 2012 04:43 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Thank you for your kind words, Charlie. If joining LJ back in 2003 was one of the most uncharacteristic things I've done, it was also one of the wisest. Like you, I'm held back from posting more, for reasons too messy to go into here. But I'm hanging in (t)here, and so, fortunately, are you.

Your remarks about The Hunger Games intrigue me, and now I wonder if I should give the second and third books a read. It would certainly gladden the hearts of my niece (age 14) and my goddaughter (age 11) - the former of whom announced last night that she plans to take up archery. :)
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: April 16th, 2012 12:10 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
The third book is disliked by many. And almost everyone enjoys the first one the most. But to my mind the profundity of the author's political message requires all three. I actually loved the last one, but it's dark and emotionally unsatisfying for a lot of readers.
alsoname From: alsoname Date: April 14th, 2012 07:33 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
That's so cool!
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: April 14th, 2012 09:26 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I was excited!

(Just realized I left out the link to the piece, so I've included it here.)
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