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Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014

A Fort Scott legend speaks

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Gordon Lightfoot starts a popular song by saying, "The legend lives on." Legends live on in sports for many years and from generation to generation. People still talk about Babe Ruth pointing to a spot where he was going to hit a homerun. All of us have heard the George Gipp story which Knute Rockne so successfully used when he urged the fighting Irish to win one for the "Gipper".

On the hardwoods, the bricks, the lakes, or the softball diamonds, our own Victor Anderson has become one of those legends. To the people standing under the basketball goals, he has become known as "The Big Train." He was so named for his inability to change direction, and the fact that once he starts a drive, there is almost no stopping him without getting hurt. Legend also has it that on the hardwoods daylight has never penetrated between Victor's shoes and the floor although some might dispute this. In a particularly close contest one early morning, Joe Beckham became quite excited as he claimed he saw light when Victor attempted to jump. It is hard to find anyone else who has seen this happen.

Vic may have hit his prime and sealed his immortality with his performance in the Good Ol' Days bed race. Vic failed to show for the Monday morning basketball game after the Good Ol' Days weekend, and rumors were rampant about what might have happened to the big man. One wag said that having Victor on the bed race team was something akin to entering a Clydesdale in the Kentucky Derby. Others told of gripping moments watching the other runners push the bed madly while Victor hung on for dear life. Eyewitness reports told that Victor's knuckles were white with strain as he hung onto the bed and the rest of the guys pulled him around the four block course.

Wednesday morning Fort Scott's answer to Rodney Dangerfield appeared on the basketball court ready to resume action. After taking the heat for about five minutes and listening to the smart remarks, Victor silenced the crowd with one statement, "Where were the rest of you?" The hush was audible. Spoken like a true legend.

Editors note: This article appeared in the Fort Scott Tribune 25 years ago.

Dick Hedges
Fort Scott Community College