This Week in Milford

January 4, 2018

Hoops Analysis This Soon? Why Bother?


Every now and then an astute TWIM commenter brings up the notion that Neal Rubin’s Milford, in which high school kids go out for, make, and play regularly on teams in multiple sports, isn’t necessarily an accurate reflection of the current state of youth sports in the US. We occasionally get a glimpse into that world – the summer 2015 arc being a prime example – but by and large it’s a phenomenon that gets overlooked in the Thorpiverse. Given that the deepest drink of success juice Gil’s had in a long time came by way of a kid whose sole focus up to that point had been a single sport, you’d think he’d be more amenable to the idea. It might even make for a more intriguing story line than we’re used to seeing. (Me, I was wondering if there’d be some ramifications from Jaquan Case walking around Milford in a hoodie in summertime, but Rubin spit that bit.)

But the Gil Thorp model of team-building probably plays well in places where they still read GRIT Gil Thorp in print. It keeps Gil in a coaching monopoly and Marty in a spiffy crate. So maybe we’ll get treated to a quintet of lunky hoopers dishing out elbows and concussions whilst setting picks for A.A.Ron Aagard (whose splintered home life will hopefully get picked up on as the arc progresses) and another wispy guy in the Max Bacon/Lini Verde mold.


  1. Cool Grit reference! Who knew it was still around, especially as a glossy 4-color magazine? I remember the newspaper version, which my farm-town grandparents had a subscription to. And who can forget “Hey Boys! Sell Grit!”

    Comment by Moon Mullins — January 4, 2018 @ 11:49 am

  2. Ooh, gun show! Good to see Gil sweating off all that spiked eggnog.

    Comment by John S. Walters — January 4, 2018 @ 12:13 pm

  3. Also, if that’s how Gil teaches his students to lift weights, then it’s no wonder he never has enough players.

    Comment by John S. Walters — January 4, 2018 @ 12:30 pm

  4. Depth? It’s a public high school in a one HS town. What’s Gil supposed to do? I don’t think Marty’s criticizing the players. He’s criticizing the parents of Milford for their terrible gene pool.

    Comment by Dylan W. — January 4, 2018 @ 12:36 pm

  5. Agree with John S. Walters. Gil is holding the dumbbell like it’s a can of beer.

    Comment by franku2016 — January 4, 2018 @ 1:02 pm

  6. No wonder Kaz is so huge. Looks like a 25lb dumbbell. He’s curling maybe 95lb. Paul Orndorf would laugh his keester off. I like the start of this arc. A Marty a day keeps the Soto’s away.

    Comment by Jive Turkey — January 4, 2018 @ 1:32 pm

  7. Funny that we were talking just a few days ago about the trend toward specialization in HS sports, and mentioning some of the risks this has brought. Gil may be out of step with the times, but in the right direction. The present trend toward 365 days a year at one sport has led to an epidemic of overwork injuries, not to mention burnout– it’s as if we learned all the wrong lessons from East Germany. The idea seems to be to improve kids’ chances of making it to the big time– which remain about the same as those of being struck by lightning– while forgetting that the original purpose of school sports was exercise and healthy sportsmanship. There’s no justification for turning public high schools into the minor leagues for some “higher” circle. So, to put it as elegantly as possible, Marty can piss off.

    Comment by vaganova — January 4, 2018 @ 3:24 pm

  8. I am certain that Gil is in fact using a mock ‘Shake Weight’ that is actually a flask.

    Comment by timbuys — January 4, 2018 @ 5:17 pm

  9. Anytime now, I’m expecting Marty to perform Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” and/or a Brandenburg Concerto or two off that Wurlitzer he’s got plopped in front of him. When he’s done ripping the Mudlarks to shreds, I’m sure he’ll be pumped and ready to hit the keyboards.
    And as long as we’re talking multi-sport athletes, could Gil or Marty clarify this one a wee bit more? Besides 5 lunkheads a la Moose from Archie & The Gang, the same quintet forming an awkward alliance with Aasinine Aardvark, I have this vision of a couple of members of the Mudlark bowling team, a badminton player, 3 tennis players, a member of the archery team, fresh off injured reserve(should be more careful with those arrow tips, I reckon) and a partridge in a pear tree ridin’ the bench while the gridiron-turned-faux-basketball players are on the court struggling to earn respect and that vision ain’t pretty. Surely we won’t endure another marathon.
    One thing’s for certain. Gil is proving why Budweiser’s the King of beers. Good for Gil.
    “Come on, Kaz, we’re done talking football and bad weight training techniques. Let’s head down to Milford Pub. It’s Miller time.”

    Comment by T. Drew Hardin — January 4, 2018 @ 9:20 pm

  10. For some time, we’ve been whining about the fact that Marty Moon has become a cipher, where he used to be a reliably annoying, self-promoting– not to mention mendacious– pain in the bazouki. Yet here, the set-up is in place for him to resume that exact role. It’s not possible, is it, that Whigrub follows our taunts and cheap shots from the nosebleed section?

    Comment by vaganova — January 5, 2018 @ 5:52 pm

  11. He should follow because we know best!

    Comment by Jive Turkey — January 5, 2018 @ 6:56 pm

  12. […] I’d speculated that Gil Thorp‘s target audience might be people who read GRIT, but now it’s clear: it’s people who are old enough to have watched Mr. Ed**. But yay […]

    Pingback by Of Bulls and Talking Horses | This Week in Milford — July 10, 2019 @ 8:01 am

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