Jimmy Chitwood by Jason Concepcion


I shamelessly ripped this from Grantland.com, but this description of Jimmy Chitwood is epic.  Sadly, it is contained in a larger article ranking the top ten fictional basketball players of all time, and the Hickory High icon ranks only tenth.  This is simply high treason to the game of basketball.

Jimmy Chitwood. The name itself evokes the susurrus of endless fields of golden Indiana corn swaying gently in the breeze of God’s own breath, with the sun — ripe and red — setting on another bountiful Midwestern day. “Jimmy Chitwood,” whispers the stalks as evening gathers in their lengthening shadows, merging with those of the silos and barns.

All the hours here in the palm of Eden’s hand, from dawn to the deepening dim, are marked by a couplet of sounds that, hand-in-hand, beat out the metronomic and immortal pulse of the land.

Bounce. Swish. Bounce. Swish. Bounce. Swish. Bounce. Swish.

It is the Chitwood, and the Chitwood is the land.

Men, strong men, who fought in places far afield and returned to plow the land and whose pride is as undilutable as the atom, grow silent when the Chitwood passes by.

Women, strong women, who sustained the hearths and stood sentinel at every resting place from crib to coffin, beam with silent pride that among them is one who nursed this child, this man, this Chitwood.

Into this place came Norman Dale, the worst, most boring-est, play-the-right-way son-of-a-bitch garbage coach in the entire state of Indiana. “I want to see four passes before every shot,” says the worst coach ever, whose offense is so tedious that people who spend every minute of their empty lives watching corn inch ever skyward are mortally offended by its pure shittiness, and resolve to drive Norman Dale from his post and their town.

But it is the Chitwood, his hair swept back with the motor oil from a thousand broken-down tractors, who stays their hands, and whose words strike with the force of thunder above the eaves when he says, “Coach stays, I play. He goes, I go.” The men and the women of the town murmured their discontent but could do no more. The Chitwood had spoken and his words were as timeless and true as Orion’s great belt.

And how did Norman Dale, the worst fucking coach who ever walked the face of God’s earth, show his gratitude to the Chitwood, whose bounce-swish-bounce-swish carried the team, Norman Dale’s team, against all who opposed them and whose words restrained the townsfolk from chasing the coach through the night at the points of their farm implements? By trying to give the last shot of the state championship, the sacred game winner, to Buddy Long. Who the fuck is Buddy Long?

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