Ronald Schram had a decision to make.
Two years out of Dartmouth, Schram was on the cusp of starting his professional
life. The job of his dreams awaited.
Only the opportunity of a lifetime stood in his way.
Schram had come to Dartmouth in 1960 with his sights set on getting an Ivy League
education and earning Big Green athletic letters. While he achieved his academic goal, a serious knee injury as a freshman
ended his collegiate career before it began.
It was only because of long hours of rehab and years on the sidelines that he
was finally able to resurrect his basketball career while continuing his education at King's College in Cambridge, England.
Now, needing money to continue his post grad work, Schram was overjoyed to receive
a job offer in a management training program at General Motors for the summer of 1966. It was the golden chance to reach the
career goal and prosperity he had always dreamed.
So what was his hesitation?
Maybe it had something to do with a basketball game in Israel.
On the face, you could say this is a sports book. You're right, sort of.
As you begin turning the pages, however, you realize this is a different kind
of athletic memoir: More about life than about final scores; more about individuals than about jocks.
The book, Sports: A Generation's Common Bond, is a collection of personal essays
written by a group of 70 Dartmouth College grads from the Class of 1964 -- guys from an athletic era when being an amateur
meant something honorable, a time now called -- with a hint of disdain -- old school.
In a way, the book is about the old school -- Dartmouth. And, in a way, it's about
a bunch of old guys. You see, Schram's idea for the book was born out of the fact that he and his classmates were about to
turn 65 this year.
It seemed an appropriate time to take stock of certain things -- things that seemed
to be connected in all their lives: Dartmouth and athletics (though not necessarily Dartmouth athletics).
"It's an age and time in your life when you turn reflective," says Schram, who
edited the 353-page book. "As we look back on our lives, you can see the influences that have shaped you and how essential
sports was to the lives of our classmates."
As Schram started the project he was amazed at the response and warmed by the
connecting and reconnecting that was achieved by the class through the writing commitment.
But it was also a learning experience.
"Most of the stories in the book were new to me," he said. "Here was Bob Bartles,
one of my closest friends, and I had never heard the story (about meeting 1955 World Series hero Johnny Podres of the Brooklyn
The stories -- including offerings from Dartmouth President James Wright and legendary
soccer coach Whitey Burnham -- are interesting and varied. Some with specific Dartmouth references and some more painted by
the individual writers' personal lifetime reflections.
What gives the book its unique appeal is that you need not be a Dartmouth grad
nor an aging athlete to appreciate the merit and message within its pages.