Skip to main content

tv   Playing Through the Whistle  CSPAN  December 31, 2016 10:30am-11:36am EST

10:30 am
wall fell, piece them together like a jigsaw puzzle and that is how the book was written. any other questions? >> tim powell. i just wanted to say when i knew you in college 30 years ago, i thought you were both fearless and i know why. just fantastic. >> an old friend from college, great. if there are no other questions, thank you all for coming. [applause]
10:31 am
>> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's television companies and brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. >> this is booktv on c-span2, television for serious readers. here's our primetime lineup.
10:32 am
that all happens tonight on c-span2's booktv. >> my name is jennifer pickle-styran and i'm a fairly new manager of the carnegie pittsburgh library and also the third string player you're getting tonight because the first and second were not available. i'm very proud i snuck in the sports analogy. i am also very pleased to welcome you to this event tonight. this event is one of many wonderful events brought through partnership with bubba bubba arts and lectures. the library in pittsburgh arts and lectures have been present events like this one for many years for broad ranges of audiences. we are always pleased for a nice
10:33 am
positive response to these events and we invite you to bring a friend or two to help us promote and keep them going. we want to remind you the library is open until 8:00 tonight so don't forget your library card after the event this evening. i would like to recognize classic lines books and more, selling the book this evening, playing through the whistle book, and want to make you aware they will be signing the book immediately after the event this evening. as i mentioned earlier i am new to working at the main library but one of my first experiences, hearing about miss stephanie flom. all the staff at the library speaks highly of her. we have a long-standing wonderful relationship with her being executive director of pittsburgh collectors. i never met her until this evening, and i give you the
10:34 am
great pleasure to allow me to introduce stephanie flom who will tell you about the remainder of the evening. [applause] >> thank you. super super nice, you guys are going to love him. playing -- "playing through the whistle: steel, football, and an american town," compassionate, truly compassionate exploration of steel, football and an american town, the fourth book for sl, his name is s.l. price, senior editor of sports illustrated, along with 3 dozen cover stories for sports illustrated he has also written for vanity fair, the new york times, time magazine and oxford american. assignments across the us so we are happy to have him spending time in western pennsylvania and canada as well as colombia,
10:35 am
argentina, libya, cuba where he wrote the book about cuba and sports, jamaica, kenya, france, pakistan, brazil, australia, greece, korea and china. he has covered 10 olympic games, two world cups and countless grand slam tennis championships. george w. bush and bill clinton, and barack obama, one on one in iowa ymca. and the reviews have been mad, raving, glowing. whenever price writes about sports he hit it over the fence. npr sports commentator, i paid to read a grocery list of scott price. at usa today, price is one of the finest writers on sports anywhere. earlier today we went to a
10:36 am
sports history class at pitt, and he stumbled upon aliquippa, a microcosm, quote, aliquippa didn't just produce great football players, aliquippa is where america happened. give a warm welcome to s.l. price. [applause] >> that was quite the welcome. i have never heard me describes, certainly not in my own home, that way. it is funny because it is described as a lecture. you are here for a historic events, i have never given anything known as a lecture before except to my kids and they never listened, i am paying
10:37 am
for their food and rent, if you don't listen i certainly will understand. this is a subject that is incredibly and oddly important to me. aliquippa is a special place. if anyone is from that area, aliquippa specifically, can understand what i am talking about. last friday, bill clinton became the fourth us president to visit aliquippa by my count. i believe obama did spend some time in hopewell getting some ice cream during the campaign but in the bounds of aliquippa i believe only four president ande
10:38 am
10:39 am
presidents are testament to this, there's something incredibly is special about aliquippa. i first went up there in the fall of 2010. an editor at "sports illustrated" named mark who i believe his grandfather worked with the union in aliquippa and he said see if you are
10:40 am
interested. they are producing incredible football players to win championships and the town is clearly dealing with the forces of the mills shutting down and obviously 25 years previously, sorry 15 years previously, go up and see what you think it so i went up and i wrote was essentially the longest piece i have ever written for "sports illustrated". it was nearly 10,000 words and it was a specific story about how aliquippa is produced great football players. mike ditka, tony dorsett to some extent darrelle revis ti lung, sean gilbert and a slew of division i players and just incredible and athletes in general. so i wrote a story a so i wrotebo a story about that
10:41 am
and there was limited story in the sense it was about football and it was about football in the face of great difficulty and great pain and triumph amid that pain. it was a graphic story and some people didn't take it because it went into the pain too much but people i wrote about thanked me and wanted their story told. they wanted you to understand what it took to make it out of triumph in aliquippa. anybody who comes from there, you hear it and aliquippa thing and you wouldn't understand. anybody who grew up in aliquippa and left it never really leave it behind. you really can't get away from
10:42 am
it. it had hooks in the, there is something about this place, something special going on that i don't understand. nottb just football but henry mancini winning four academy awards and 1616 grammy awards, henry mancini growing up next to joeoe terry whose son, joe, wen on to win four academy awards for lord of the rings and avatar. james frank, the first black president of the ncaa, jesse steinfeld grew up down the street from joe and henry ends became surgeon general under richard nixon and was fired for his opposition to the tobacco industry. it was -- forgive me for this.
10:43 am
♪ could it be i am falling in love ♪ anybody know that song? doctor steel, thank you for coming. i can't tell you what an honor it is to have doctor melvin steel here because in many ways doctor steel's experience told me how special aliquippa was. he was incredibly honest to me when we spoke about his experience. how did i do on that song? bad? not great. what i thought was amazing, in doing my research i am finding allll these other people who ha comend from aliquippa and findi
10:44 am
out, if you are excited about the world series last night i spoke to francona, terry with his son managing the indians last night and terry is from new brighton and tito has lived in new brighton for a long time but when i called, everybody says i am from new brighton but i am not. i'm from aliquippa. make sure you say that. there ishe a pride of place tha continues. and that idea of greatness rising out of tragedy, out of pain, is something obviously appealing to me. as a writer it is gold. it happened on the football field but doctor steel, to me that story stuck with me because doctor steel was teaching in the aliquippa school system at a timeea of great racial tumult a
10:45 am
don't know if you told me this but i stumbled upon a story where doctor steel wrote a letter to the paper because he was accused wrongly of starting race to malt and fighting in aliquippa, for takingin some students to a movie called halls of anger. he wasn't the person responsible butle he defended himself and meanwhile at a certain time when tension was tight, doctor steel and his brother who worked in j and ellen studied music, philadelphia under the greats, at a time of tension right this beautiful song could it be i am falling in love about his wife. and happy anniversary. congratulations. you should be up here.
10:46 am
that to me was something about aliquippa. a former basketball player, his family story from down south is a tough one, his mother saw some tough things, he was emblematic of many blacks who had come the great migration from thee 20s ad 30s. even affects toughest time, aliquippa was special things. and and it is not just about athletes. pennsylvania have labor
10:47 am
troubles, problems with management. aliquippa is representative in the extreme, the forces that were cut loose, in the mid-80s when it an entire crowd of tough, was suddenly cut out of having the american dream, we are dealing in this campaign with those very forces that were never properly addressed. there were not labor-management
10:48 am
tensions, and little siberia, and part of that was your family comes over from ukraine, poland and want to gather with the family and the community recognize. jane enforced that, was very helpfulec and keeping people divided, j and l, and got the worst jobs. and janelle takes it a step further, very conspicuously to allow them to jail, but the black worker go free and
10:49 am
incitinggh more resentment, mor resentment there is management tension everywhere but j and l and his police force kidnapped a man for passing out union cards and had him send to an insane asylum.e and broke the psychic stranglehold to the town. the wagner act which is the
10:50 am
foundation stone. and a great representation of blacks in aliquippa. and the crack epidemic hit problem , drugs were a all over america and the epidemic hit aliquippa like a typhoon and you had situations where tony dorsey's nephew was running the biggest crack ring in town and the crack ring was broken finally by mike warfield, former aliquippa quarterback attached to dea and state policeman. things happen in aliquippa in broad w strokes. for whatever reason, i have 2 say that for me the mystery to me.
10:51 am
what happened in aliquippa, i won't be able to fully explain why aliquippa produces so many great football players more than the mnorm, why so many dramati forces, cultural forces that worked their way in a negative sense through the rest of the culture blossoming in an extreme way in aliquippa, walker is the first african-american mayor in aliquippa history. not just a community togetherness, and the central narrative thread that is unavoidable when you talk about aliquippa, doesn't belong in the pit and the football field,
10:52 am
walker's sister was killed by an aliquippa football player and motivated to move for office and take office. it has been an extraordinary combination of elements to make aliquippa what it is. i was challenged, i get letters once in a while or notes from other towns in western pennsylvania, aliquippa is good, you should write about -- i am not denying any of that. two things at work ii decided focus on. one if there were so many names, makes life easy for a writer. there were a lotes of names peoe
10:53 am
don't know. i include a lot of names. every in a while, tony dorsett and understand the story, you have seen them on tv and recognize them. that is helpful. extremes, really made me believe, a place that produced football, great football but where america happened over and over again and continues to do so. like i said it was a place -- it was a place that had great racial trouble in the early 70s, and there was a lack of black cheerleaders in the school for
10:54 am
football and basketball. it really hit a head and was not unique in the county or the nation at large but got pretty nasty. a couple things,an i can't tell you how much you are dealing with a writer here, not very good at speaking, not my training. just going to read a little bit about ad great man named gino parolee. i am going to read this. will all come full-circle. this guy is making weird sense. actually, hold on. i am not going to do that. i will go to make didn't go. to have a famous name to deal
10:55 am
with a little bit. everybody knows mike ditka. he was little mike, his dad was big mike at the time but he had this quirk. respected, he felt better in a world of rules yet he was constantly breaking the rules seeking out mischief, taking out beatings in return, he went to saint titus element physical, served as an alter boy but also the time he stole a christmas ornament from the tree of a nearby library. he been to buddy over the i. blood, six stitches, the nuns found out, it came out. tomatoes thrown at houses, garbage cans turned over, big mike always found out. nearly burned the wood down. my dad spoke lucky, and a couple
10:56 am
of my eddies in a cement cul-de-sac, would all over, we were sitting there. smoked lucky strikes when 7 years old and didier so there goes the woods and there go the woods are not the weeds. the wind is blowing, finally did get it out, firemen came. we were sitting there having dinner, looks up and says what happened to the woods? i don't know. that was funny. my mother said ask your son. charlotte ditka is a great character. i got my ass whipped. that was the worst one i ever got. ditka paused. i did smoke cigars. the safest place for such a soul, leaving a bit of mayhem into the comfort of defined parameters was a perfect fit. anything that a smacks of competition little mike played with aur bottomless theory. officials announced they stole a
10:57 am
ball autographed from the first kid who hit a homerun, ditka smacked one in his firstst game. brother ashton was pitching after a few walks, made them switch positions. when the shortstop made an error, another time playing legion ball, ashton who would go on to a fine college baseball career at buck dropped the game-winning flyball in centerfield, and jump the centerfield fence and thrashed him before it got home. it was bad, didn't feel like i was doing anything wrong. i know others didn't feel the way i felt that i had tunnel vision. don't know where it came from but growing up it started with marbles, playing tag, touch football, hated to use, i expected to win, didn't expect to lose, that is why losing is so hard that was a new attitude
10:58 am
for a town that by the time he entered high school and 53 had just had its first taste of football glory, baseball brought the first win l crown and basketball teams confuse the wpi l titles. the pulverizing style, gridiron call for toughness resonated with the family like no clean family ever could and winning made it irresistible, football was preeminence, making the high school team becameme a badge of honor. that was part of what you were and what you were meant to be. why would a guy my size, john is about this big, why would a guy my size be a starting guarded division iii football. and would be embarrassed to come home. i would not come home until my father knew i didn't make first team. it took until my senior year in high school, that is what had to be done. many of me were out there.
10:59 am
you didn't embarrass your family, uncle, friends or neighbors, didn't care if you got your ass kicked, but gave the kid all he had, that is what it took. you still hear that all the time. tough player, that is aliquippa. that is the difference in some of these other schools and a big difference. i feel like ditka did set the tone. he was invented in many ways by ashland. that sort of manic, larger than life theory became an aliquippa hallmark for star players. you never met a boring star player. they are fascinating to talk to, just a little bit crazy. i want to read one other thing about hopewell.
11:00 am
in 1953, future aliquippa postmaster, future aliquippa historian, devoted partisan of health of high sports moved to hopewell. that is what you did an aliquippa given the chance. had worked as a pipe fitter for eight, now making it up to the evermorere cramped neighborhoodn west aliquippa. wasn't like his dad's time anymore, come to ellis island, live so close you could feel it daily heat like a beast breathing until the day they cart me away in a box. .. box. raccoon and a man could carve out space there and quiet alast. hadn't they had enough excitement. moving was the most tangible reward for the most promise people had fought more in world war 24 -- 2 and better life. you could count and raised kids in peace.
11:01 am
at least nine other veterans moved to geno street was a three-bedroom bungalo and m living room, kitchen, maybe a basement. many children would graduate high school the same year. all the men drove to know comine in from hopewell or said or even the stars moon township. vince, the father of future kentucky basketball john calipari commuted into aliquippa as a young man, sweating all five pants every eight hours. he lasted a year. driving later on route 51 with his son he would point to the blazing fires skimming along the horizon. see the red line? i used to work right beside that thing. if i stayed i went and died. for those who did stay the compensation carved up by the union, an average wage of 24 hours a day, pensions 1096 enables steelworkers to put some distance between work and home. take a step of the social
11:02 am
ladder. aliquippa was a small sample. 18 patients with five biggestbit cities began a 30 is like a net population. u.s. suburbs grew by 60 million people. nobody blames them. it was just natural. you do what's best for you and your family. still a place to lay your head in. the men went to work and whistle blew and the sand rock festival and political italian and the bishop waving, home village to so many italian, they went to visit mom and pop and the unattached or not would drive in for the weekly dance on the second floor of the italy hall, somebody spub records and they squeaked from all that leather and sweat.
11:03 am
i just want to talk about hopewell one more time. in 1961 hopewell had gotten big enough from the people leaving aliquippa. hopewell high, very close by, 3 miles or so from the pit as it's now called and -- so in 1964 which was the year of carl ashman in aliquippa history, aliquippa played hopewell. they played for something called the steel bold trough-- trophy
11:04 am
and he went on pitching, went onto pitch many teams in the major leagues and he was only known as -- i'm trying to get -- and so what happened was that hopewell late aliquippa beat hopewell that night. this is how he put it. before that, good and bad, one pure moment by which to measure, helped take down the toughest guy around. everybody was really surprised that we won, everybody. even the guys on our team were surprise that had we won because we thought they were tougher than that really. who didn't and, indeed, there has been no greater upset
11:05 am
announced the following monday. it had been 25 years ashley declared since he had been so stunned by a loss. aluiquippa fans sat silent waiting for the next miracle, the times went on. their expressions would not exchange if the earth had opened up and some would have welcomed him. so that hopewell is a strange -- they have a strange relationship hopewell and aliquippa and there had been many efforts in recent years or at least flags thrown out by the aliquippa district officially or unofficially to somehow get emerger because obviously the population is getting smaller. hopewell has no interest and at
11:06 am
least so far, so there's been -- there's a lot of resentment in aliquippa toward hopewell and even sort of their brother, it's ashame because everybody from hopewell, many of them have the aliquippa roots. so let me just tell you a little bit about tony dorset, so eventually when dr. steel was there, hopewell became the power in aliquippa, hopewell became the power and aliquippa fell in terrible times. a lot of it was because of the racial problems in the schools were devastating. the tables have completely turned since hopewell shock win. vikings were the power. that more than anything accounts
11:07 am
for persistence of query. hopewell folks dismissed the entertainment of this notion, of course, no previous dorsets went to aliquippa high. it would have been easy. the boundary runs through the middle, right through one home's kitchen in fact, of the mount vernon housing project in plans 11 and hoping from one school to the other is a tradition. offensive coordinator head coach. for example, grew up in the 70's and dad wanting him to go to hopewell in eighth grade. lasted a few days in the school. a neighbor had told on him. he wasn't alone. hopewell endorsed and in high school ebb -- enrolled only a
11:08 am
token handful. kids trooping out of their homes, would look to see a bus, tony grew up living the life in plans 11. his older brothers were part of a local gang drinking beer and hustling. tony ran with baby bugaloos. when it came to playing league football, dorset was not able to play due to age and weight limits. in any other era, he was there for the taking, but in the spring of 1970 the schools were walking calm, safe and even so his mother was taking no chances, he kept tony home a few days when aliquippa head its
11:09 am
peak. that day had passed. it was a terrible place to go to school. indeed, any aliquippa was looking to get out too. i almost attempted to do the same thing. it was a struggle playing for aliquippa. the chance to win a ball game every once in a while was zero to none. it is that many aliquippa talk about era, the one that got away. all charm would come back and begin the program's revival. dorset was finishing career and 40 year's later it still stings. i never would have let him play for hopewell, he said. i had got his ass. [laughter] >> i never lost anybody to hopewell. i used to get them from hopewell.
11:10 am
i usedi used to take their players. when i got the job at aliquippai never lost a player to hopewell again. and so this is my last did on hopewell and aliquippa. worked as assistance and kept an eye on frank, he knew that only a crisis a moment where if you believe would be right time and the right time came in 1997 and handed him the football program too. elsewhere in america the two sport coaches, that was the point. this was a desperate act of a desperate town. aliquiipa was debt and 85%
11:11 am
qualified for free lunches, 300 were special education pup ills requiring more teachers and funding and 65% were black. most of the visitors at stadium had to be closed because no money was available for repairs. local officials kept launching trial balloons about emerger with hopewell all unanswered. everybody in aliquippa assumed it was a matter of race and ensure that daughters would never date a black boy. they think they are better than we are are a white aliquippa known as white chocolate. ma makes you better than me? i dated a hopewell girl in high school and today that feeling has left me a bit. i want to see the teams do well. you still have something down inside you that they thought they were better than us. then again with all the news,
11:12 am
the only sure thing was reining in the team was the visible way to show that the town was worth fighting for. the board needed to stand firm on any of the most visible assets. so that was 1997 and that was the last time hopewe played aliquippa until the other night and won 35 in aliquippa at the pit. and all this just goes to say or to show that for me sometimes a town, small town isn't just a small town, sometimes it's a lot more and aliquippa to me there's a lot more, there's a lot of american history there, there's vital american history there that's essentially important to
11:13 am
us to this day and sometimes the game is just a game and sometimes it isn't. i would argue that that game hopewell and aliquippa is loaded in a way that it no where is. that's it for me. no one wants to hear me read anymore, i'm sure. happy to take questions. [applause] >> thank you, scott. alan, you want to turn the microphone on, please, and weave got lisa rooming -- roaming with the mike. feel free to raise your hand. feel free to raise your hand and we will repeat the questions so everyone can hear it. and we have a question.
11:14 am
>> somebody has to have a question. >> all the way up there. >> why are there no photographs? >> did anyone hear that? the question was why were there no photographs? >> to tell you the truth i think it was a financial thing and e stettic thing that i don't really know. first of all, i was going to have the pay for the photographs and gather them and to tell you the truth, i in terms of deadlines we were running up against it and there was something on my editor -- maybe it was money. i don't know. i understand it. >> on that note, one of the students this afternoon played
11:15 am
and wanted to ask you about the pit. can you visually get -- describe the pit because it sounds like a pretty special place. >> the pit is a -- was a wpa stadium, work progress administration and built in 1937 in the state of pennsylvania, an astonishing number were put up so quickly. i'm amazed at how slow infrastructure takes place because they throw up stuff fast. and the pit is falling apart. it's clearly in need of great repair and it's a tough, very tough place to come into not just because aliquippa is so intimidating as a team and town now because reputation proceeds it because the visitor visitors locker room, hell hole cramp, unlit hole in the side of the
11:16 am
stadium and sort of going back to what i was saying, yet, the stadium is wedged on the top of a high heel and it's gorgeous, the surrounding -- there's no better place to see high school football game. i would argue, i'm sure everybody would argue with me, but i'm saying in terms of -- everybody has their favorite place. it's really a gorgeous place to see a high school football game. >> great, have a question? right here. >> well, it's not really a question, but when you were talking about j&l it reminded me about a folk song writer what did j&l steal, pittsburgh. i didn't sing it. [laughter] >> your rendition was better than my singing. >> i did sing it to him earlier. >> it's funny, though, because
11:17 am
j&l started off as this incredibly brutal boss in the -- well, started off weirdly started off with the idea of building a utopia for the steel worker. pretty quickly because things got out of control they brought in harry and clamped down in a vicious way on the pop swlis but post world war ii, i can't tell you how many people speak lovingly about j&l and the relationship after -- after world war ii. essentially after the wagner act went through. j&l gave in and became a far more paternal and partner in the town that many people look upon loving. they don't say the same about ltv. to read the history -- this was a place called little sigh --
11:18 am
siberia. little hell, to change and have people who even experienced that really speaks to how much of a partner in town and really strikes me. >> can you talk about how the team is striving against all odds? >> since i wrote -- this book went into -- i mean, i finished it in january and since then, i mean already another chapter is being written. aliquippa decided to go, single a high school and decided to move up and it's always a two-way school and decided to move up to 3a to compete but it's a town with only essentially 3,000 boys in the senior class. and meanwhile, meanwhile you have this town since january the team has been raaged in a brutal
11:19 am
way. suffering for leukemia. the wives with trying to get a bone marrow. the team in 2003 championship team was, i believe, the seventh or eighth player killed, his body was found on the side of the aliquippa road. awarded the purple heart twice for service in iraq. another player committed suicide at one point in the summer and the day the book published two were involved in murder in town. so and meanwhile the team is eating two and seated number one
11:20 am
in first round of playoffs. it is -- it is frankly astonishing that they're able to do that and it maybe a case of misplaced priority and it's remarkable and it's a tribute to the coaches and specially the assistant coaches, there's almost 20 of them who are there in aliquippa who come and volunteer, very few who are paid, they're all former players and they demand a standard from these players as do the families, in fact, people keep asking. this is not a place where people lose a game, it's not ought to
11:21 am
boy, you'll get him next time. it's y'all suck. it's your dad, your uncle our your cousin and they make you feel like crap and he said, you know, when he got to bill parcells with the patriots and parcells was notorious for haying rookies and was really, that's all you have? [laughter] >> it's an astonishing place. i keep thinking it's not going to last and i keep thinking that they're going to stop producing division one player and yet it's still happening. and i really thought this year -- 35-30 that's not aliquippa standard. i'm not predicting their demise this year, i really thought with all the hits tape on the field and that they had gone in place that they were going to have a very hard time this year.
11:22 am
they had a harder time but i'm wrong yet again. >> wow. >> questions over there. >> i think it's gone down. i've been to a lot of games where certainly the stadium is not jammed pack. the interest in the team remains and you certainly have a former steel workers under this roof that's been set up for them at the pit but the interest in football remains, i would say the attendants at nonbig games specially has gone down. to me, which again you sort of think, wow, are people really interested in this town. you look at four different teams and four different age classes. there's still kids on the waiting list still. so it's weird that sometimes i think the intense interest in football doesn't necessarily
11:23 am
equate to attendants every week but when it comes time for a big game, i expect a big contention. >> someone over there. >> hi. two questions for you, please. you in your book it's mentioned about an nba legend. that nba legend norvich by any chance? >> yeah, i'm sorry, yeah. if you're talking about the beginning of the book. >> i have no read the book. my wife told me. >> coached them and played basketball in the 30's and grew up until he was 13 and was in aliquippa and was basketball coach and by the way, you know, after his great senior season then got pissed off during a basketball game and punched a wall and broke his hand but he
11:24 am
was playing if i'm right and i might have that a little bit wrong but what he said to me was that he was better than everybody on his team. that little shit. that shit was better and shooting the hell out of the ball. >> my father actually told me stories about pit playing against -- >> against press? >> yeah. >> what was he saying about this game in. >> he was a tough player. >> my question is did you beat barack obama one-on-one? [laughter] >> here it is again. all right. >> all right.a you're a less tough crowd than the kids at it today because, all they care. i hadn't played in a long time.e [laughter] but obama come i will say he is quicker than me and, but i'll tell you to stories.
11:25 am
point is that, is that i needed, i suddenly realized that i got to play one on one but i'm going to write a column about it. this is 2007 in iowa just before he won iowa and became barack obama. obama. he never plays one-on-one. so i played him two games one-on-one and in between talked to him, for 40 minutes. unbelievable. i realized that, oh, my god, you can learn about somebody playing basketball. what are they like so on and so forth, how do they act, do they -- i don't know. and so i realized i can't stop
11:26 am
the game every point and write down what happened. [laughter] >> what am i going to do? >> i see my 13-year-old son and film this for me. you have to learn how to use camera and he came with me to iowa and again i hadn't played him a while and i said to my son, you are going to have to film this, i'm your dad but don't pay any attention to me. you to keep the camera on obama the whole time. before the game, obama warming up and he's across the gym floor and i'm my son now, my son is filming and filming obama and i know this because we have the film of this and he's filming obama who is going across and obama comes takes a look and goes under the basket and believe me that was not a problem and then he comes along
11:27 am
and my son is still doing it. you better keep the -- and unlike me who when obama came to his side, i would have put the camera down and filmed my shoe and instead my son, this is the time when he -- he flip it is camera and he's holding it like this. you have this view of obama and obama -- so now i'm obama and my son is like what the heck and obama is like, so, what kind of game does he have? [laughter] >> and my son gives me up. he's like, yeah, he hasn't played, he's not in basketball shape. he said his shots are off. everything we talked about. what was interesting is obama was kind of tiki tack, he didn't call every foul. he said, you could get shot for
11:28 am
doing that. he would always go whoa whenever i would shoot, i thought that was cheap. at one point i said to him, all right, this is for the presidency and he was at the top of the key and he hit it and he didn't say anything, believe me, i didn't think of the line. i just sort of threw it out there. did you hear what i said, why do you think i hit it, i will tell you -- that film of him where he's like gaming me out was actually, it wasn't the slick smooth great order obama, it was the kick-ass competitor. he was sizing me up. you can see him and my son actually got the best moment of it because it was really the most revealing thing i've seen about obama. he's incredibly nice and smart guy but what people don't normally see is the killer and
11:29 am
he is that as well. so but i hadn't played in a long time. [laughter] >> and how did you do? >> i lost both games. now, he said -- in the first game, you know, he basically -- i can't remember the score. it was not pretty. by the way it's much better for a writer if you lose. you win, what are you going to say, yes, i beat obama. there is an element there. in the second game, before the second game, you know f -- i figured if you back me down more, you will score more. oh, yeah, why am i shooting for -- that was a closer game. >> you have someone right here. >> i'm from aliquippa i'm glad that you did the book. >> why doesn't the world recognize it? >> that's why i'm glad that you put it in writing but two comments, you mentioned carl.
11:30 am
my uncle who was really -- one of the biggest ever aliquippa fans felt that he was the boast football coach ever and the answer to your question maybe there are some divine intervention involved that his influence hasn't faded. >> no, he was, you know, and also he had what the family called a paper heart. he had very bad heart trouble. his daughter died of heart troublic at the age of 30-32. he was incredibly tough guy, frank morocco second success or was playing football game and got punt smashed into his face and carl walked up to him and frank went back in the game. get back in there and i talked to other people.
11:31 am
don's brother spoke. he thought actually ashton was too hard on guys that way and he felt -- jene says, you know, i don't think he cared about his players as much as i would have liked him to. but over all, he swears by him and a lot of people who also notably enough, i think it was richard who is now receivers coach with the steelers and richard and others really didn't notice any kind of racial component with carl ashman. they thought she he was a straight shooter and respected him for that. >> you mentioned the name jeno, he's my italian mom and both my ukle passed away in june and he attended funeral.
11:32 am
who are these girls? and my mom, she's slipping a little bit but she recognized four faces just like that jeno was happy because he's still active and just keeping aliquippa the place that it always has been. >> he really is a walking history book and knows more about it and, you know, specially for the older generations he knows stuff that will disappear and i hope i got some of it in. he was really helpful to me on the book. >> we've got someone over there for a while. [inaudible] >> that was going to be my next question. who is actually from aliquippa?
11:33 am
and who has an aliquippa connection in your family? all the hands up. >> so actually i have a question. i mean, i think of aliquippa as a special place and i will tell you that i do get arguments from other people, from western pa. yeah, it's special but, you know, my town -- so does everybody from aliquippa believes there's something unique and special about it. just put up your hands. [laughter] >> and i agree with you. right. [inaudible] >> and by the way that was a home game because they did play there and for some reason -- so you were at the game? [laughter] >> i didn't hear that, what did she say? >> your boyfriend, is that what
11:34 am
you said? [laughter] >> so did you have mr. blany. >> my boyfriend was chuck blaney. >> chuck blaney ran over and -- a pitcher only completed three passes in that game and chuck was the hero and i believe his father taught at aliquippa high. [inaudible] >> thank you. >> el, i think i speak for everyone that we owe a a debt of gratitude. [applause] >> thank you all for coming >> thank you all for coming. [applause] >> i want to say thank you, coming from such a remarkable town, it really is a special place.
11:35 am
and for good and for bad, it's not a fantasy world and it's not all perfect but it is absolutely human and it is absolutely vital, completely american, so thank you. [applause] >> okay, quick note about the signing line. scott is going to come sit here. we're going to form the lines going this way, and the easiest way to do that is to go out the door you came in and turn left or if you still need to buy youu books, the good folks in line will be happy to sell you one or two or five. they make great christmas gifts. >> you are watching c-span2 on booktv -- booktv, television for serious readers.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on