Thomas J.Dygard book The Rebounder is about a basketball team in High school determined to be victorious in the high school championship. Doug Fulton is the coach of the basketball team in Hamilton High School and takes note of all transfer students joining the school each New Year with the hope that he will get students who will lead his team to win the championship. Fulton notices a new student who is a stranger to him, and through Mary's help, he comes to know that the new student's name is Chris Patton. Chris is a six to seven feet tall, has broad shoulders and walks just like an athlete. Anyone who sees Chris is convinced that he is an athlete including Coach Humphrey. "Yes, the boy is an athlete, all right" (Dygard, pg 7). Coach Fulton is entirely convinced that Chris is a basketball player although Chris claims that he is not a basketball player.
Fulton wonders why the boy who has all the characteristics of a player claims that he is not a player. He decides to take the students to file although it is against the rules to find more about Chris. Coach Fulton learns from Chris former High school that he was involved in a tragedy where he injured one of his playmates and almost blinded the boy. Though it was not Chris fault, the boy underwent surgery and got better, and Chris has been transferred to a new school, he still carriers the fears of his past and this made him quit playing basketball. He is not how he used to be and fears that he might injure someone else if he plays. Coach Fulton assures Chris former High school coach that he will help Chris overcome his fear.
During the tryouts, Fulton watches all students arrive in the hope of seeing Chris, but he does not show up. He has a strong belief that Chris is the only player they needed to lead the team to win the championship since Duddy the current leader did not seem that aggressive and Fulton wants to improve the Panthers team to do better. Everyone expected Chris to show up at the tryouts, but when he did not come, the coach never gives any explanation to them as to why he does not. With the help of Mickey Ward, the student manager and Chris best friend, Chris decides to join the basketball team and plays very well, and Hamilton led by half time with 45-27. His father, as well as coach Doug, was happy to see him playing. "Its progress" (Dygard, pg 37).
Although Chris had become the center of the Panthers team, he decides to quit basketball after a Barrington player bumps his head and gets injured. This accident makes it worse for Chris as he says that he no longer want to play basketball "I said I don't want to play anymore"(Dygard,pg.109). Coach Fulton is left wondering what Chris meant by saying that, he wonders if Chris meant he that he would play that night or he indicated that he has stopped playing forever. Chris tells Mickey that he will quit the game and regrets having come back to play basketball. Bobby calls Chris, a quitter because of the decision he makes, and Duddy retakes his center position. Coach Fulton is sad that Chris is quitting but says that he can make the decision he wants to.
The book ends with a high note as Chris friend Mickey suggests that Chris meets with Jimmy Hartwell and talk about the accident and he will make the decision whether to go back to playing basketball or not. Chris overcomes his fears of the past and decides to join the basketball team again and tells his coach that he is ready to play again. "I got it worked out"(Dygard pg.170).
Dygard, Thomas J.The Rebounder. Puffin Books, 1994.
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