“I don’t want Aaron to think this is about one mistake…but yeah, this is about one mistake.” In laying out his coaching plan (!!!) to Kelly, Gil draws the fine distinction between not starting and benching (not playing at all). Let’s not give him too much credit just yet, as Gil goes on to show that he’s not above that long-cherished chestnut of coaching, “shame the player into performance.”
Apropos of nothing: Wasn’t Kelly sitting across from Gil yesterday, and now appears to be sitting at his right elbow today? Maybe Gil, Kaz, Mimi and Kelly have some swinging thing going on. I don’t want to expend too much mental energy on that idea but it could help explain why we’ve seen nothing of Mimi and the Lady Mudlarks this winter.
Finally, that tenacious gumshoe Mike Granger gets us ready for Monday’s clue, which will doubtless have something to do with whatever Mother Aagard (or the as yet unseen or unheard of Father Aagard) did for a living when Aaron & co. were in the sixth grade. Clearly it had to be something lucrative and/or risky, and the Aagards’ fall from financial grace (and/or possible loss of their patriarch) will turn out to be another factor in Aaron’s inconsistent play. Will the junior detectives clue Gil in before it’s too late and Aaron rides the pine permanently?
That is stone cold, narration box. Our man quadruple A is just one member of the team who had an off night. Pretty sure the rest of the team has to take responsibility for their contributions to the outcome.
What oh what can possibly be written on AaAa’s t-shirt? I’m sure our commenters can come up with a few ideas.
Hey, what the heck happened in panel three? I thought Ken and Mike were our dynamic drug busting duo. I would really like to see the reference photo for the guy on the right’s hand. That meathook makes Chuck Bednarik look like a hand model.
I’m returning from a week away and just caught up on all the action. Ken and Mike, boy detectives, went to the Kwik E Mart and Mrs. Aagard is dragging ass, or something like that, right?
So, it is Madison time* and Aagard is on the court for the final seconds. Coach Thorp wants the ball in Aaron’s hands. Why? Your guess is as good as mine. This must be part of Gil’s inquiry into the Aagard conundrum. The buzzer sounds. Another loss for the record book. Does Gil need to talk to Aaron again? He’s gonna be tuckered out before winter is over.
*Sure, it’s over, but how could I resist? This one has no helpful narrator to tell you what to do, but you all know the moves by now, right?
As Ned would say, “It’s Madison Time!”
Have you ever seen a basketball court where the free throw lane is three times as wide as the tipoff circle? No, that can’t be the three-point line since the lines for the lane are coming straight down from it with no top of the key in between. The basket doesn’t exactly line up, either. Follow that up with the weirdly foreshortened right arm of the Madison hooper and Aaron Aagard’s exploding forelock and the visuals are a bit much to take today.
Why am I expounding on this minutiae? Because it will come as no surprise on Monday when Quadruple A (channeling his inner El Hechizado in P3), missing his mommy, bricks the easy inside shot and sends Milford falling from the ranks of the undefeated. After that, we’ll spend the rest of next week trying to find out What’s Eating Aaron Aagard.
After four excruciating days of exposition that Aaron Aagard’s girlfriend (and not his drug of choice) is named Molly, and after Gil has thrown Ken “Encyclopedia” Brown and Mike “I Don’t Have a Catchy Sleuthy Nickname” Granger off Aaron’s scent, and after Gil has had an extended expositional chat in the risers with Aaron, we’re now being led down the path of assuming that Aaron’s inconsistent on-court performance has something to do with his mom.
So now it’s our turn to engage in rampant speculation. Is Mother Aagard under house arrest for some criminal activity of her own? Doubtful; that son-of-a-judge Ken Brown would’ve already known about it. Agoraphobic? Possibly, but Aaron’s “…why you don’t come to more games” implies that she comes to some games. (Not as many as Milford’s infamous Sign Man; if we could read that Woodstock scribble of his, maybe that would give us a clue.) Bad hair day? Also possible; check out those roots on Mom. Break out the Preference by L’Oréal, girlfriend!
We do know that Mother Aagard has to work late sometimes, so that’s a plausible excuse. As some TWIMers have speculated, it could be that she suffers from some sort of drug-related problem; with all the talk of drugs in this arc leading us nowhere thus far, they have to be somebody’s Chekov’s gun. I’m sure Aaron will explain all as soon as Gil banishes him to the bench tomorrow. Talk amongst yourselves.
Musical inspiration for today’s post title:
Did I do this right? I’m kinda rusty at this blog posting.
Panel two sure is carrying a lot of narrative weight, isn’t it?
Anyway, Molly isn’t a drug she’s a girl and AAAA’s mom is clearly another Rustbelt opioid addict.
The risers on those bleachers look rather comfortable if impractical.
It’s nice to see Lampy from A3G picking up work.
Putting quadruple-A in for a Pantheon of Hair nomination now that it’s clearly the case that its posture is proportional to his perceived performance.
I tried, and failed, to line up all of the high fives with the arms in panel three. Nevermind that, however, because what is the deal with AAAA’s left arm? I think this is the first time I’ve used the ‘big arms’ tag but there it is.
If you thought you’d wake up this morning to get the lowdown on Molly, your hopes have been dashed. Here are three panels of Aaron Aagard-centric basketball action. Bobby Mitchell gets involved from long range, but you’ll have to use your imagination to picture his three point form. (If it helps, Bobby was part of Milford’s impressively sized front court. Fill in all the other blanks for yourselves.)
That’s about all we’ve got folks. In studying this strip for inspiration, it occurred to me that I have never witnessed a single minute of actual, live high school basketball. I know you faithful readers and commenters have all kinds of deep prep sports knowledge from personal experience on the court and in fandom. Many of you may even live in regions where high school hoops puts asses in the seats. That never seemed to be the case in Florida, where I grew up and still live. I couldn’t even tell you if the teams fielded while I was in high school were any good or what kind of records they posted. Occasionally, someone would mention our state championship team from the early 70s featuring future NBA all-star Otis Birdsong. A decade or so later, Jack Deedrick was still coaching Blue Devils on the hardwood, but I only remember him shouting directions to us out in the Drivers’ Ed practice lot. “Wheel it, WHEEL IT!” He does have a new (newer, anyway than the stinky, humid barn I remember from boring assemblies and pep rallies) gym named after him.