I mentioned this book a few months ago after reading a piece of teen fiction called The Hoopster. It was shortly after reading that book that I ordered this one from Abe Books (it’s out of print). This book has a lot of nostalgic value because it’s the first book of fiction I remember reading.
I said that it’s the first book I remember reading, not necessarily the first book I read. They could be the same, of course, I just don’t trust my memory. But suffice it to say, this book certainly had a big impact on my lifelong interest in reading. I’ve thought about it a lot during the last three decades of reading. And strangely, the name of one of the main characters, Studs Magruder, has been stuck in my skull forever. That’s about the only major detail I recalled from the book.
I didn’t remember any other characters, I didn’t remember much of the plot, and I didn’t remember any of the scenery. I just remembered that it was about an outsider hired to coach an industrial league basketball team. And upon finishing this second reading, NONE of it came flooding back.
I thought I would say, “Yeah, I remember that.” But I didn’t, which I’m taking as a sign of old age, and that’s okay.
The item I did remember, Studs Magruder, has been inaccurately recalled by me for the last three decades. I knew he was a villain, but I thought he was just a troublemaker on the same team. That was someone else, Studs was on an opposing team. He was the best player in the league on the best team – a dirty player who eventually gets his comeuppance on the last few pages.
And what an abrupt ending! It did not feel like a short story after I returned it to the Wilson Vance library (which I do remember, so it had to be 4th, 5th, or 6th grade that I read it). All in all, a great walk down memory name.