We all have stories about some of the great things we’ve experienced as Kentucky fans. The offseason, when news is slow, is a good time to share some of those stories as we’re in the midst of making many new ones. Today’s comes from Ryan Clark, who was able to return a favor to his granddad.
Back in early 2007 I was a newspaper reporter and I was lucky enough to land a gig writing a book about UK basketball – Game of My Life: Kentucky (http://www.amazon.com/Kentucky-Memorable-Stories-Wildcat-Basketball/dp/1596701196), where I was able to choose 30 former players and have them talk about their favorite games while at UK. (Gregg Doyel was actually supposed to write it, but decided he couldn’t and instead helped me along with it. Great dude).
It was a blast. I had the most fun I’ve ever had taking to these folks. But one of the best things about it was being able to meet and interview Ralph Beard, who lived in Louisville and just happened to be my Granddad’s hero. Granddad said Ralph was so fast and so good with the ball he would have no problem playing in today’s game.
After talking with Beard and his wife, I asked if maybe I could bring my Granddad by to meet him. Beard of course said yes.
My biggest thrill was taking my Granddad over to meet his hero. We spent about two hours going through the Beards’ basement, which was a museum of memorabilia and articles. It was just amazing. We took some pictures with them, including one of them pointing to Beard’s framed gold medal from 1948.
It was a pleasure, and Beard shared his story with us, which was both heartbreaking and mesmerizing.
When we left we all felt like friends, and I was proud to say I could do something for my Granddad - a person who had done so much for me.
Just a few months later, in November, Ralph passed away at age 79.
But we were able to talk to him and spend time with him, and I’m so thankful for that. He was an extremely nice man, and I just wish more people knew who he was and what he meant to UK basketball.
He certainly meant a lot to me and my Granddad.
A love of UK basketball that has been inherited from family, specifically a grandfather in both Ryan’s case and mine, is one of the best parts about being a Wildcat fan. I’ve enjoyed reading all the stories that folks have emailed to me over the last couple of weeks. Keep them coming to email@example.com.
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Bill Keightley Report : Never to be forgotten.
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