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Interview with John McMurray

McMurray, John
Lynch, Rebekah
Date of Interview: 
Relationshhips with People and Places; Stories and Storytellers; Then and Now
John McMurray talks about his grandfather playing basketball at Dartmouth.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Rebekah Lynch interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
RL (Rebekah Lynch): What is your name?
JM (John McMurray): My name is John McMurray.
RL: Do you remember being read to as a child?
JM: Uh, I was read to, but what I remember most was the stories that were told to me, especially by my grandfather.
RL: What kind of stories were told to you?
JM: Around the, the turn of the century, around 1900, my grandfather, Earl Wellington Wiley, was going to school at Dartmouth College in the east, and one of the ways that he paid his way through college was that he would play basketball. In fact, he was a part of the beginning of what we know now as college basketball. Uh, he would help some of the businessmen at the local YMCA at lunchtime when they would come over to exercise, uh, he would teach them how to play basketball. This is back when they had a peach basket nailed to the wall for their basket, and they cut a hole in the bottom and that was their basketball. Uh, as he developed his skill, he, uh, ended up playing basketball under an assumed name, uh, semi-professional, and he made money, and he was able to put himself through Dartmouth College, uh, on, uh, the money, partly the money he made playing basketball. And, uh, he got pretty good at it, and he always enjoyed the sport and the running around. One of the stories he told, though, was later in life when he was on a radio interview, and he was, uh, concerned that the referees were not letting the, uh, team get rough enough. He said, "When we used to play basketball, uh, we used to get in there and really mix it up and you could bump each other and, and, uh, uh, get, get a little bit physical." And he said, uh, he said, "I really hate to see it now that, uh, the referees call so many fouls and they don't let the boys play basketball." So he would tell how he used to get in there with the businessmen, and they would, it was a little like a combination of football and basketball, but they enjoyed roughing it up. But he would go on and on about, uh, how he had a part in the early part of basketball. And he enjoyed watching it today, but he really wished the referees would, uh, let the boys get in there and rough it up a little more and make the game more interesting. That was, uh, on of his favorite stories that I remember him telling when I was a boy.
RL: Thank you.