“He plays chess as he does everything, wholeheartedly. Although he is so limited actually, he isn’t fanatically, preclusively engrossed in it, or anything. He does other things also.”
As Samuel Bean’s updated life story unfolded for yet another generation with the July 5, 1948, version published in the Oakland Tribune, an unnamed fellow chess player, as we read yesterday, alluded to the fact that Sam had other interests besides chess.
That would not be surprising—even for someone as focused on chess as Sam was. It takes a hefty amount of discipline to exclude all but one interest from a person’s life. Besides, as the news story mentioned, Sam “reads Braille, keeps up on current events and historical novels, and goes fishing and camping whenever the opportunity presents itself.”
Sounds pretty much like most every other person I know. Well…except for the “reads Braille” part.
What really got me was the next section of the article. Apparently, among the “other things” that Sam liked to do was one surprise—at least considering we are discussing a man who was both blind and deaf.
Evidently, though he couldn’t hear one note of the music, Sam liked to dance. The Tribune explained:
One partner reported that he merely asks whether it is a waltz or fox trot, swings into it and seldom bumps into other couples. She said that she tapped the tempo on his shoulder and they got along famously.
And why not? Since Sam was already attuned to people tapping in his hand as a form of communication, tapping on a shoulder to help him keep connected with the beat wouldn’t be much different. Dancing became another practical way for Sam to exhibit his confidence in life despite the barriers he faced.
That upbeat philosophy that kept Sam going “famously” on the dance floor may have been infectious in more ways than one. In retrospect, it gets me wondering who that nameless partner on the dance floor with Sam might have been.