I was a duffer compared to your father but I took a handball camp with him in the 70's. He was working with Mike Dau the coach for the Lake Forest handball team. I played out of Evanston Illinois and your dad would come periodically and take on all comers with his bravado and finesse. He was bigger than life. He would typically spot the club champ 20 points and have no trouble beating him. One time he took on the A champ at Evanston and for about 20 points he wouldn't move from the back of the court but let the opponent kill the ball in the front. Then after the guy killed the ball he ran to the front in a kind of comedy routine, like he forgot that he was playing. This pissed the opponent off badly and he was screaming at your father to take him seriously. The guy got about 18 points up and then as we all knew the shoe would drop. Your dad would start with the goofy serves that would hop all over the place and he would win the game. No one had a chance to score off him unless he wanted to give up a point. He was just a lot of fun to see.
To us average Jewish athletes he was a hero, because he was good at everything. Despite his celebrity and other worldly abilities he was a good teacher. Working with him at camp did improve my game.
Sorry if he may not have been the greatest father in the world, but you must know he was very special to all of us who knew him. He brought fun to the game and everyone wanted to hang around with him. We all lit up when he came to town. Try to learn as much as you can because to me despite his shortcomings he is royalty, and that means you are too.
By Leonard Gill
download this issue
click here to see more »