Profiles In Sports


Profiles In Sports

Donald Ramp…..Jim Belushi

Announcer: Chess. The thinking man’s sport. For over half a century, dozens of world grand masters have come out of America’s high school chess clubs. Most of the credit for that belons to the unsung hero of chess – the high school chess coach.

[ show Chess Coach Donald Ramp yelling at his players during a match ]

Donald Ramp: Pawn to Rook 4! Pawn to Rook 4! Nooooooo!! Get up, get up, get up!! [ starts kicking chairs around ]

Announcer: Donald Ramp, of Rodville Center High, dedicated to turning raw kids into chess champions.

Donald Ramp: You call that castling?! Come on! Why don’t you just give him the king?! Give it to him!

Donald Ramp V/O: A lot of people think that chess games are won on brilliant moves. They’re not. The match is really won or lost long before the pieces are set up.

Donald Ramp: Next Saturday: Wheaton High. Big match, tough school. They’re using a Sicilian defense. How do we counter? Simple. [ draws chess board on the chalk board, filling in the individual squares ]

Donald Ramp V/O: The fundamental thing about chess? Knowing the rules.

[ show Donald reviewing strategy with a student ]

Donald Ramp: When you go over there, move the knight..

Student: [ confused ] The knight?

Donald Ramp: Yeah.. the horsey thing, the horsey thing! Come on!

[ cut to another interaction ]

Donald Ramp: Move it, movie it, movie it! Move the bishop!

[ cut to Donald reviewing film footage of an earlier chess match ]

Donald Ramp V/O: Sure. I am hard on the guys. But I’m just as hard on myself. Most nights, I’m in the office ’til midnight, watching game films.

Announcer: But Ramp’s lust for victory can lead to controversry, like the furor surrounding his overseas recruiting trips.

[ SUPER: “Andrei Zhubarov, Chess Team Captain Class of ’85” ]

Andrei Zhubarov: I love to play for Coach Ramp. He was like a father to me, he bring me to this school in my shuffleboard years.

[ cut to another tense chess match ]

Donald Ramp: You call that a jump?! His [ bleep ] bishop wasn’t anywhere near the [ bleep ] queen!

Announcer: Ironically, it was during the filming of this profile that Coach Ramp expeirenced the most regrettable incident of his career.

[ Coach Ramp knocks down one of the opposing player’s chess pieces, a riot ensues. Members of the opposing team jump him, screaming, “Hey, you can’t do that!” etc. ]

Donald Ramp V/O: Some people say I lost control that day. But when you’re down two pawns, you gotta do something.

Announcer: For inciting the brawl, the American High School Chess Confederation branded Coach Ramp with a lifetime suspension.

Donald Ramp V/O: I’m really not sure what I’ll do. For now, I’m looking forward to spending more time with my family.

Daughter: Pass the salt, Daddy?

[ Coach Ramp lifts the salt shaker, then moves it about the checkerboard table around other shakers, simulating chess moves ]

Donald Ramp V/O: The only thing I miss are the matches, the excitement, the adrenaline.. The rest of it, I can live without. Still.. I guess the game never really leaves you..

[ fade ]

SNL Transcripts

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Author: Don Roy King

Don Roy King has directed fourteen seasons of Saturday Night Live. That work has earned him ten Emmys and fourteen nominations. Additionally, he has been nominated for fifteen DGA Awards and won in 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

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