Dartmouth 64 Sports Book

Introduction -- "A Legacy of Exceeding Targets"

Introduction -- "A Legacy of Exceeding Targets"
The Table of Contents Plus Full Cover
Valley News Book Review
Classmate Reviews
Encore Reviews From Classes & Community
The Story Never Ends
Old Men And The Tee
That's Why We Play
Rockefeller Intern Project
List of 1964 Sponsored Rockefeller Interns

The Dartmouth College Class of 1964
"A Legacy of Exceeding Targets"
I am the editor of the newsletter for the Dartmouth Class of 1964.  It was in November 2005 when I announced to my classmates that I wanted to organize a book of sports remembrances to celebrate our 65th birthdays, most of which would occur in 2007.
The idea initially came from the best selling book that was published in October 2005 entitled "The Games Do Count: America's Best and Brightest on the Power of Sports" by Brian Kilmeade.  That book was a collection of essays (ranging in length from 2 pages to 6 pages) written by over 70 celebrities from Henry Kissinger to Donald Trump.  The stories gave me new insights into each writer and reminded me of the common bond of sports.  The idea for such a book was reinforced by the controversy in December of 2004 over the role of football at Dartmouth that caused me to reflect on the important influences that athletics have had on my life and to discuss the topic with some of my friends.
I thought:  What better time to look back on our lives and the experiences that had a significant impact on who we have become than that milestone 65th birthday!  And what better group to engage in such a retrospective than the classmates who spent their formative years together on the Hanover Plain.
This book is not limited to remembrances of varsity sports exploits during our undergraduate years.  The real lesson of sports to me is that you can learn important things about yourself from any physical challenge and at any stage of life.  If you think about it, we have all been impacted in some powerful way by sports and physical challenges somewhere along the way.  As the cover of Kilmeade's book says, "Nearly everyone shares a love of sports and has a story about how a game, a coach or a single moment of competition changed his or her life." 
I gave my classmates very broad parameters for their essays:
"Some of you have been influenced by a coach — maybe as early as grade school or in a non-school activity.  Some have been impacted because you yourself have coached — perhaps your own children.  Others have provided professional services to athletes and have seen them "as real people."  Some of you may have been canoeing, hiking, or kayaking and experienced the raw wonder of the wilderness.  Others may have been injured playing sports and had to struggle through a tough rehabilitation.  Some of you have made choices between sports and other paths, choices that have significantly impacted who you are today.  Some of you have watched your children enjoy sports and perhaps perform at a higher level than you ever did.  Others have tried new sports and physical challenges as you have aged like a marathon, long distance cycling or a triathlon.  Some may remember a particular moment — a highlight or maybe a lowlight of your athletic career; a moment that changed your life or the way you approach life.  Some of you bonded with friends or children in ways that are everlasting and would have been impossible without a common athletic experience.  Others have participated in an athletic event as a way to raise money for your favorite charity.  Some may enjoy watching sports and remember a particular event that seems like it occurred yesterday; others may enjoy reading about sports and may have one book that you will never forget."
In March 2006, I reinforced the concept by referencing a second book that I thought might inspire some classmates. "Coach," edited by Andrew Blauner, which includes essays by 25 writers (George Plimpton, Pat Conroy, John Irving, etc.) that reflect on the legacies of their mentors on and off the playing field.
Finally, in May 2006, I referenced one more writing that offered another perspective.  Newsweek published a personal essay on May 8 entitled "What Does It Take to Coach Girl's Track?"  The young high school coach wrote "The purpose of high school sports is to develop discipline and courage — a reservoir of strength to draw on throughout life. Just as important, sports help kids build friendships that endure beyond a season."  I asked my classmates: Why not write a piece for our class sports remembrance book describing a time when you had to draw on that "reservoir of strength" you first learned in sports or the long lasting friendships you developed or a coach who had a significant impact on you.
In the introduction to the 2004 "Wearers of the Green" book, David Shribman '76 and Jack DeGange, former Sports Information Officer, described very well the lifelong impact of sports on Dartmouth graduates:

" . . . there is something about our place — the cool air maybe or the appealing scent of the fields in fall or maybe the way we think about ourselves, or about life — that draws us to the sporting arts.

We are lured by them, beguiled by them. There is something that invites a ball and a bat and a frisbee and a football ....

Undergraduate years at Dartmouth don't necessarily mark the conclusion of organized athletic competition. For many, it's just a beginning . . . . At Dartmouth the athletic experience can be unending."

It has taken a little time for the book to come together, but it has turned out to be exactly what I hoped it would be back in November 2005: "a documentary we can all treasure, a mosaic of the diverse ways in which sports has impacted an entire generation."
When I started this project, I optimistically sought 64 classmates who would be willing to write something for the book.  That seemed like a logical target for the Class of 1964.  But I underestimated the enthusiasm and collegiality of our class and failed to appreciate the power of one of the most significant aphorisms in sports: "Participation requires 110% effort."  And, I failed to take into account that our class has a legacy of exceeding targets.  We set athletic records in college and are still setting fundraising and alumni leadership records now.  I am proud that this collection includes 70 entries, representing 110% of my original goal of 64.  Another record achievement for the Great Class of 1964.
June 1, 2007 
Ronald B. Schram, Editor
"SPORTS:  A Generation's Common Bond"