Sport: Walking on Air

At the end of the narrow dirt runway, the pencil-thin Negro poises disjointedly, like a puppet whose strings are loose. Then he prances forward, flapping his skinny arms and kicking his knees almost to his chest. Suddenly, his left foot slams savagely into the take-off board. His eyes bug, his face contorts, and his legs pedal furiously as he springs into trajectory. His left hand claws upward through the air as though searching for something.

Only twelve months ago, Ralph Boston was virtually unknown in the world of sport—except to the college teams that came up against him at Tennessee State University,...

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