Raw footage for the documentary "Veeck: A Man For Any Season." In this video, Veeck is interviewed in Assembly Hall at the Illinois high school basketball championship tournament in Champaign, IL.
00:00Copy video clip URL Black.
00:11Copy video clip URL Continuation of interview in Champaign. Veeck tells of how much he enjoys going there with his wife, Mary Frances, every year. He speaks about how remarkable it is that families come back every year, many of whom were former players and cheerleaders.
02:00Copy video clip URL He calls himself “uninhibited,” meaning that he has no problem talking with anyone about anything, which helps break the ice and connect with people. He notes that most people want to talk to others but are afraid to be rebuffed or rejected, so they don’t speak up. He calls this sad and says that he tries to break down that barrier.
03:26Copy video clip URL Veeck compares the tournament to how it used to be, noting that attendance has been dropping. He claims that one reason for this is that Champaign has hosted the tournament for too long, and goes on to propose that the tournament should move around the state. He also feels that the boys and girls should play their tournaments at the same time and place. He points out that Assembly Hall doesn’t lend itself to the energy of the event as did the old Huff Gym.
07:12Copy video clip URL Veeck goes on to say that “this is too important a show to let it disintegrate” and that the tournament needs a shot in the arm. Veeck contrasts this drop in attendance with the reality that basketball is increasing in popularity. He challenges the belief that the increase of basketball’s popularity in the black community has decreased its popularity in the white community.
10:06Copy video clip URL Interviewer asks why Veeck says, “I’m surviving” when people ask him how he’s doing, despite the fact that he’s an inspiration to many. He denies that he’s an inspiration, but says that people see “if that bum can do it, anyone can!” He talks about aging, the appreciation of living each day, and the sense of accomplishment in living. He calls life more precious as it becomes more limited. “We don’t have as long vistas and so each day should be savored more and enjoyed more and it should be squeezed to get the milk of pleasure out of it. And so people think maybe that I do that and they’re right, I do! Every morning when I get up I figure ‘Oh I beat ’em one more.’ It gives you a great sense of achievement, of victory!”
12:30Copy video clip URL “I’m frightened to death of one thing: that something will happen in the future and I won’t get to see it.” He talks with enthusiasm about the many wonderful inventions and improvements he’s seen in his lifetime from airplanes, to television, to the computer. He says that he’s so curious about what will be next and wants to be around to see it.
15:00Copy video clip URL He calls everyone a survivor, pointing out that “We all gasp for that last gasp of breath.” He dreams of the future discoveries and possibilities of life, saying, “Maybe we’ll be as smart as a starfish,” pointing out how a starfish can regenerate a limb if one is lost. With a sense of wonder, he predicts that maybe we’ll eventually understand how homing pigeons get home or how geese know where to fly and how they communicate to one another.
17:35Copy video clip URL End of tape.