Google+

Ramblers Book Review

Ramblers: Loyola Chicago 1963 15817037
The Team That Changed the Color of College Basketball
by Michael Lenehan
Agate Midway Books
Paperback, $16.00
308 pages, Illustrated
ISBN: 978-1-57284-140-6

Book Review by Kam Williams

“Was there a time when civil rights protesters could be attacked by a club-wielding mob while police officers stood by? When the president of the United States had to mobilize 30,000 federal troops to put down an armed insurrection prompted by the enrollment of a single black man at a state university?

There was… Here’s a story about the integration and evolution of college basketball, set against the backdrop of the civil rights movement, one of the most convulsive periods of our nation’s history… My aim here is to persuade you that a pivotal moment in that transition was the improbable championship of the Loyola Ramblers, a black-and-white team that opened a lot of eyes and stirred a lot of hearts.”

— Excerpted from Introduction (pages 14-15) 

Founded by Jesuit priests in 1870, Loyola Chicago is a prestigious, Catholic college located on the Windy City’s west side. Between its academic orientation and modest student size, the institution is not one would normally associate with athletics. 

However, in 1963, the school garnered some unexpected headlines when its men’s basketball team, the Ramblers, earned a berth in the Final Four of the NCAA tournament alongside perennial powerhouses Duke, Oregon State and Cincinnati. Not content just to make it to the big dance, upstart Loyola went on to defeat the two-time defending champion, Cincinnati. 

En route to the title game, the Ramblers also beat Mississippi State, an all- white team that had never faced any African-American opponents before because of a strict school policy forbidding competing against any African- Americans. So, giving Mississippi State a butt-kicking in front of their racist fans during the Sweet Sixteen round was likely fulfilling enough for Loyola. 

Note that just before the season had started, James Meredith had made history as the first black student ever to enroll at Ole Miss. That triggered an armed white insurrection which was only quelled after President Kennedy sent down thousands of federal troops. 

Meredith went on to graduate but was shot in the head a few years later while leading a voter registration march in rural Mississippi. Fortunately, he would recover from his wounds and eventually earn a law degree from Columbia University. 

The civil rights movement is indirectly the focus of Ramblers, a fascinating opus about an integrated team of talented and dignified young men who not only ascended to the top of their sport but simultaneously helped change the color of college basketball once and for all. The book recounts in riveting detail how the Loyola players maintained their composure despite being spat on, cursed at and showered with garbage during NCAA Tournament contests hosted across the South including the Final Four on the floor of the ironically-named Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky. 

Written by veteran journalist Michael Lenehan, an award-winning editor at the Atlantic and the Chicago Reader, Ramblers is a worthwhile read chronicling a memorable upset and, perhaps more importantly, a triumph of character over cowardice that had repercussions way beyond the basketball court.

To order a copy of Ramblers, visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/
1572841400/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Entertainment

Blake Lively Shines as Surfer Stranded in Shark-Infested Waters

  The Shallows Blu-ray Review by Kam Williams Blake Lively Shines as Surfer Stranded in Shark-Infested Waters Nancy Adams (Blake Lively) was so shaken by her mother's (Janelle Bailey) untimely death that she's dropped out of med school. In order to feel closer to her dearly departed mom, she's decided to vacation at the same exotic Mexican retreat where she was reportedly conceived back in 1991. An avid surfer, she also plans to search … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Books

Richards Rocks!

  Sandra L. Richards The “Rice & Rocks” Interview with Kam Williams Richards Rocks! The American-born daughter of Jamaican immigrant parents, Sandra L. Richards is the author of “Rice & Rocks.” She hopes that her debut picture book will serve as an educational resource for families seeking to teach their children the value of their heritage and the importance of cultural diversity. Sandra completed both her undergraduate and … [Read More its Good for You...]

Art

More Than a Score

  ACRONYM TO FOLLOW by Peter Brav   Finally Our Day has come There’s a Day for everything For doughnuts, siblings, eight track tapes Grilled cheese, daughters and sons to work Encouragement, Alzheimer’s Coffee, math, chewing gum Blasphemy, yo-yos And now finally One for us Truly a Day to celebrate National Don’t Shoot An Unarmed Brother Doctor King Not Seeing Progress George Orwell Laughing It Is So About the … [Read More its Good For You...]

Real Estate

New Home Sales Jump in April

  New Home Sales Jump in April By Burt Carey Sales of new homes hit their highest rate since 2008 in April, according to the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau. April sales increased 16.6 percent over March figures, which correlates to a seasonally adjusted rate of 619,000 home sales projected for the year. The median price of those new homes was $321,000, the highest median price ever recorded. That’s up 9.7 percent … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Lifestyle

Richards Rocks!

  Sandra L. Richards The “Rice & Rocks” Interview with Kam Williams Richards Rocks! The American-born daughter of Jamaican immigrant parents, Sandra L. Richards is the author of “Rice & Rocks.” She hopes that her debut picture book will serve as an educational resource for families seeking to teach their children the value of their heritage and the importance of cultural diversity. Sandra completed both her undergraduate and … [Read More its Good for You...]

Outdoors

230 LXF from Tidewater Packs A Punch in a Small Package

  230 LXF from Tidewater Packs A Punch in a Small Package By Ted Lund Are you looking for a family-friendly center console that’s got the luxury of a larger boat in a smaller package? Then look no further than the 230 LXF from Tidewater. The 23-foot, center console has the same features as the rest its large LXF brothers, including comfortable full upholstery, stainless steel cup holders. And a newly-designed console with glove box and … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

There Are Superheroes Among Us

  There Are Superheroes Among Us by Amy Lignor   This story truly proves that a superhero does not require a cape, tights, or the ability to fly. In a world where all headlines seem to be centered around who shot who, who is being put upon, who’s “getting away with it” – all the way to who is getting divorced and who may or may not be kneeling at NFL games – negative stories seem to be the only ones covered anymore by the media. … [Read More its Good for You...]

Business

Scholastic Announces Sales of More Than 3.3 Million Copies of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

  Scholastic Announces Sales of More Than 3.3 Million Copies of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two New York, NY (August 10, 2016) — Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two script book, the eighth Harry Potter story by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne, published in the U.S. and Canada by Scholastic has sold more than 3.3 million copies in North America to date.Scholastic announced a first printing … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

Vacation Time Has Turned “Spooky”

  Vacation Time Has Turned “Spooky” by Amy Lignor   Myths and legends, both spooky and surreal, are becoming the subject of many books and newspaper articles lately. And the location of many, oddly enough, happen to be in the Southwest. It used to be that a nice white sandy beach was the one place we yearned to go on vacation to get away from it all. Now, however, people are searching for places to travel where legends still exist, and … [Read More its Good for You...]

Green Living

Doing Our Part

  Doing Our Part by Amy Lignor   There are books being published as of late – wonderful books telling the stories of amazing wildlife rescues, as well as neighborhoods and communities across the U.S. that have taken on projects to save the wildlife in their own surrounding areas.   We always talk about these “success stories,” yet never actually give information on exactly how these “problems” turned into “victories.” … [Read More its Good for You...]