Chubby’s Big Rebound

On December 15, 1985, the Beavers and Dragons met inside a packed gymnasium for the championship game of the conference. This was supposed to be an easy win for Coach Finstock and his Beavers, who—after starting the season with an embarrassing 71-12 setback to the Dragons—ran off 10-straight victories behind the play of Scott Howard, who (it should be mentioned) was a werewolf. Led by Howard’s 55 ppg scoring average, the Beavers averaged 55 points per game, and even drew the attention of the student newspaper.

But the title clash would be no cakewalk. The Dragons were captained by Mick, a rugged 20-something-year-old forward who—inexplicably—attended school with the Beaver players, and even changed in their locker room. As if that drama were not enough, Mick dated Pamela, who had sexual intercourse with Howard (as a wolf) during a rehearsal break for their two-person theatrical production of Gone With the Wind.

A packed gymnasium turned out for Beavers-Dragons, but come tipoff Howard was nowhere to be found. Minus the Wolf, starting forward Chubby took over at point, and his inability to dribble caused great harm. Finstock’s team trailed 22-3 late in the first period, and after Mick dropped Beavers shooting guard Brad with a clothesline to the head, Finstock called time out.

Then, it happened. Howard entered the building, wearing his familiar No. 42 jersey (an ode to his hero, former Golden State Warrior forward Dwight Davis). Only he was not the wolf. The gym went quiet. Styles, his closest friend, whispered, “Oh, man.” His father grinned subtly. Finstock approached and asked, “So where’s the wolf?”

To which Howard replied, “Not today, Coach. No wolf.”

The fans chanted, “Wolf! Wolf! Wolf!”—but Howard remained undeterred. There would be no wolf on this memorable afternoon. “I want to play,” he told his coach. “But I have to be myself.”

Yes!

With his battered and unskilled teammates gathered around, Howard—coated in a thick glaze of sweat despite having just entered the room—gave a pep talk for the ages. “I think we can beat these guys!” he said. “I think we can win this. This is the championship. Now, it doesn’t matter how we got here. We’re here. If we’re gonna win we have to pull it out ourselves. We don’t need the wolf.”

Inspired by Howard’s haunting words, nary a Beaver noted that the scoreboard read 22-3, or that the last time the two teams clashed the result was a 59-point embarrassment, or that Howard didn’t know how to properly shoot the ball, or that there were only four visible members of the team.

If you believe in yourself …

With Howard and Chubby leading the charge, the Beavers roared back. There was a snarling Chubby, walking to his left and to his right before sinking a 30-foot pushed-pop jumper in Mick’s face …

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There was the uncredited center with the curly hair, hitting a layup …

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There was Howard, walking with every dribble, unable to control the basketball yet somehow slicing to the hoop to hit one unguarded layup after another after another …

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Mick tried his best at intimidation. At one point, with Howard bringing the ball up the court, Mick looked at him and said, “How much more of this can you take?” Howard—still lazily dribbling, but unconcerned about the game at hand or the 10-second violation—grinned slyly and said, MLK-esque, “As much as you can give.”

Yes!

It was an amazing run. An historic run. Late in the game, with the score apparently tightening, Chubby took a no-look pass from Howard …

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… pivoted toward the basket  …

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… puckered …

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… and, noticing no one was within 20 feet of him, let fly a skyhook that, of course, found nothing but net.

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Howard immediately jumped on Chubbys’ back, leaving the court wide open for a Dragons’ fast break that never materialized.

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At this point it should be noted that Scott was a small-town kid who worked at his father’s hardware shop to make extra money. The Howard family lived a modest lifestyle, and Scott was likely to spend the next few years either at the hardware store or commuting to the local community college As the wolf, however, Howard would immediately soar to the top of America’s college recruiting lists, leaping past Sean Elliot of Cholla High Magnet School and Danny Ferry of DeMatha Catholic. UCLA, desperate for a point guard, was hot and heavy for Pooh Richardson of Franklin Learning Center in Pennsylvania. With Howard, a Californian, on the market, all changes. Pride, however, matters more than the future. And Scott Howard has pride.

Alas, I digress.

The game was close. The Beavers were fighting hard. And then, it happened.

Someone on the Dragons missed a shot. Chubs, ol’ No. 55, stood alone beneath the basket.

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He blocked out no one. He jumped nary an inch. The Dragons had a player, the unnamed No. 45, who looked up but—without reason—soared past Chubby and off the court …

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Chubby eyed the ball. It was coming closer …

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… and closer …

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… and closer …

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He shut his eyes and squeezed tight. This was not only a key rebound, but the first rebound of Chub’s lifetime.

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At that moment, there was no remaining doubt that Scott, Chubby and their two teammates would prevail; the the Beavers would come back from 19 to defeat Mick and his evil band of asshole Dragons.

And that, two years later, there would be a Teen Wolf Too.

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