Openers: Zip Connors, waiting in the suicide corner, slipped the hip into his defense man so casually that even the ref didn't notice it; then turned and streaked toward the basket as Lefty Craig's pass looped high and hard over the opposing guard's head. He wheeled swiftly to loop the leather over the rim for the final two-pointer of a lop-sided score as the whistle signaled the end of the game.
A host of vices roared hollowed approval as the red-and-blue-jerseyed players jogged off the court. Behnd him a voice snarled into Zip's ear.
"You got away with it tonight, Connors. But wait till the next time we meet!"
Zip grinned lazily.
"Yeah -- wait." he drawled. "You'll have grown gray whiskers, sorehead."
The angry guard muttered something and disappeared as the two teams headed for their separate dressing rooms. In the steamy warmth of their own showers, the Buffs were jubilant.
"This makes us tops in the league," crowed smiling Jim Brady, "and it puts you individual top-scorer, kid. But you deserve it. You played a bang-up game."
-- "Hoop Hokum" by Nelson S. Bond (from Ace Sports Monthly, January 1938)
Yeah, Zip doesn't play fair. During his two years in the City League with the Middleburgh Buffs, coach Red Harper has taught him that winning is everything and that there is nothing wrong with injuring an opponent, espcially if you can get away with it. But now Zip is headed off to play college ball for State U., which has different rules and some sort of crazy idea about "sportsmanship." Harper tells Zip not to fall for that "hokum." Just pretend to agree with it but make your own rules if it allows you to win. Zip really believes that his future is in basketball and that winning is everything. He is surprised to learn that none of his teammates feel the same way. Zip takes out a couple of players during a scrimmage in a way that his coach cannot be sure if it was deliberate.
Then he meets Lee Janssen, the beautiful daughter of Swede Janssen, the sports editor of the Middleburgh Enterprise. During Zip's two years with the Buffs, Swede had criticized Zip's tough, win however you can, vicious style of playing. Zip is afraid that Lee's father will turn her against him, but both Zip and Lee feel a strong attaction to each other. Zip menwhile is beginning to understand the benefits of teamwork and is bonding with his teammates. He tries to hold off on his dirty tricks until he might really need them and soon discovers the joy of playing fair. He is enjoying being a true sportsman, realizing that he can do just as well on the court without resorting to foul play. Then, during a crucial game, an opponent gets to close as Zip is spinning around and Zip accidently injures him and the opponent is taken out of the game. Zip's reputation goes against him and he is cut from the team. He sulks, refuses to see Lee, and finally packs up his basketball gear and heads back to the Middleburgh Buffs, which is now about to go pro. If Zip plays in the pro game, he loses any chance of ever playng college ball again.
Knowing that Lee still loves Zip, her father investigates and discovers that the foul was strictly an accident. Zip's college coach realizes that he made a mistake in kicking Zip off the team, and Swede Janssen and Zip's roomate rush to try to stop Zip from playing the Buffs game.
In an age where there was a pulp fiction magazine for just about any type of interset, sports pulps were extremely popular. Many of the stories published were simple morallity tales such a "Hoops Hokum." In the 30s and 40s Nelson S. Bond (1908-2006), much better known later for his science fiction and fantasy stories, was a regular contributor to these magazines, having stories in at least two dozen of these magazines : Ace Sports, Ace Sports Monthly, All-American Football Magazine, Baseball Stories, Best Sports, Blue Ribbon Sports, Bulls-Eye Sports, Champion Sports Magazine, Complete Sports, Dime Sport, Fight Stories, Five Sports Classics Magazine, Football Action, Football Stories, Popular Sports, Real Sports, Sports Action, Sports Fiction, Sports Winners, Ten Story Sports, Thrilling Football, Thrilling Football Stories, Thrilling Sports, and 12 Sports Aces. The general fiction pulps also included sports stories in their mix, but I haven't bothered to check how many carried sports stories by Bond.
With the advent of television, pulps in general lost favor and the sports pulps were no exception. Mystery, science fiction, and fantasy pulps morphed into today's fiction magazines while pulps specializing in sports, romance, sea stories, air adventures, G-men, pirates, war stories, historical romances, oriental tales, northern adventures, jungle tales, zeppelins, and Lord know what else have fallen into the dust heap of tattered and faded pages. The tales from the sports magazines are rarely reprinted and one has to go back to the original magazines (now pretty rare) or to online scans of those magazines to get a feel for their contents. (I read this story from a scan at Luminist Achives, for example.)
"Hoop Hokum" is the only sports story by Nelson S. Bond I have read. I think it may be typical of the genre, but I can't truly say so. I am a big fan of Bond's science fiction work, though. He has written several acknowledged classic stories and his tales about the Lobblies, Lancelot Biggs, Horse-Sense Hank, Squaredeal Sam McGhee, Pat Pending, and Meg the Priestess are all worth checking out. Bond started in public relations, soon becoming public relations field director for the province of Nova Scotia. His first fiction sales were for sports stories, but he soon expanded to science fiction. He also wrote for radio and television. In 1998 he was named a Nebula Author Emiratus for his lifetime work.
I hope to find and read more of Nelson Bond, sports pulpster, in the future.
- Hilda Lawrence, The House. Suspense novel. "When lovely young Isabel Ford returned to the parental mansion she had never known, her father made an odd request. He made her promise to live in the house for at least a year if anything happened to him. She agreed. But when, a few days later, he drove his car over a cliff, she found herself alone in a house haunted by mysterious terrors and stalked by her father's brooding mastiff. And suddenly she realized that the house was never going to let her go -- for she had committed herself to a promise of death..." [Okay. How does one "return" to a place one has "never known"? This is either a prety neat trick or lazy blurb writing. Guess which one I'm betting on.] This first appeared as part of the two-story collection Duet of Death (1949) as "The Bleeding House." (The other story in the book was Death Has Four Hands, which may have been a retitling, or expansion, of Lawrence's "Composition for Four Hands," a novella from Good Housekeeping, May 1947. Death Has Four Hands and Th,e Bleeding House were both released as a separate titles in 1950, and The Bleeding House was retitled as The House in 1971 as part of the Avon Classic Crime Collection)
- "Edwina Noone" (Michael Avallone), Dark Cypress. Gothic paperback. "It was a prominent teaching position that brought pretty young Stella Owens to magnificent Hawk House. But her charge, Todd Hwk, was a strange and frightened child, obsessed with guilt for his brother Oliver's death. Todd's handsome, tormented father, Arthur Hawk had banished all trace of Oliver from his home -- but someone in the household was dedicated to keeping the boy's memory alive. Swept up by emotions she could not control, Stella fought desperately to solve the mystery behind Oliver's death -- only to find herself an unwanted intruder, prey to the evil that haunted Hawk House..." Avallone was a prolific writer, best known for his Ed Noon private detective series (hence this pseudonym). His writing was fast...and unusual. He committed many crimes aginst literature and his wacky prose may have only been equalled by Harry Stephen Keeler. Avo had many fans and his books can be both entertaining and painful (in the most complimentary way.)
- Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo, The Abominable Man. Mystery novel, translated from the Swedish Ven verdervardige mannen fran sapple by Thomas Teal, the seventh in the Martin Beck series. "A city in terror! A lone madmannis on the loose...A demented and deadly rifleman driven to revenge against an entire police force...and rogue cop Martin Beck takes the first drastic step to shocking disaster!" A classic.
- Florida Man Keith Adams, 37, of Largo, was nailed for smuggling drugs into the Pinellas County jail. It really wasn't his fault. Adams was arrested in a traffic stop when the pipe he was sitting on tested positive for cocaine residue. Adams happened to have a prosthetic leg and, when asked by police whether he was hiding contraband in the leg, he denied it. But, gee, fellas, he forget he had drugs hidden in his leg, so the two extra charges he is now facing really wasn't fair.
- What is it with Florida Man and samarai swords? In the latest development, Florida Man Gary Dwain St. Aubyn Campbell, 59, of Sanford ws arrested on two counts of attempted first-degree homicide for stabbing his parents with the sword and one count of aggravated battery with a dealy weapon for stabbing his sister. Campbell told officers that "physical abuse as a child and constant questioning and nagging as an adult" had led to the attack. Family time in Florida can be pretty intense.
- Florida Man Gilbert Fernandez, 36, of Cooper City, had to travel all the way to Grand Island, Nebraska to get nailed for carrying over 400 pounds of marijuana in his van. Also found in the van was $9000 in cash and 14 ATM machines. Most people pack clothes and a toothbrush for a trip, but most people aren't from Florida.
- Florida Man Ignacio Luis Lamadrid Gomez was arrested after a high speed chase when he was spotted going 100 mph in a 45 mph zone. Gomez had a good excuse, though. He told police he was trying to drive back to Cuba.
- Florida Man Jared Paul Stanga picked the wrong victim whe he tried to abduct 11-year-old Florida Girl Alyssa Bonal by knifepoint in Pensacola last week. Alyssa knew the importance of evidence because her favorite television show is Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Alyssa managed to get as much of the blue slime she had been playing with on Stanga before she managed to escape. Stanga still had blue stains on his arms when police arrested him. SVU star Mariska Hargitay surprised Alyssa after the girl appeared on the Today show, texting Alyssa and praising the girl for her bravery and ability to think clearly; Hargitay told Alyssa that she was now the girl's number one fan.
- Florida Puritanical St. John's County School District is offering refunds for this year's Bartam Trail High School yearbook after altering photos of 80 female students, supposedly for reasons of modesty. The refund is due to the negative reaction of parents of the altered photos. The photos were evidently altered to cover a minimal amount of cleavage shown on the original photos. The school district said it will repay the $100 cost for the yearbook for those who return the yearbook. The district said the original photos violated their dress code policy. One parent said, "I think it sends the message that our girls should be ashamed of their growing bodies, and I think that's a horrible message to send out to these young girls that are going through these changes." My take after viewing before and after images is that the school board is seriously repressed.
- Florida Free Spirit Rachael Lynn Stefancich, 24, was "nearly fully unclothed" when she was arrested in Pasco County in a stolen car after leading police on a chase that reached speeds of 110 mph. Meth was involved. Stefancich was charged with grand theft auto, reckless driving, fleeing and eluding, possession of methamphetamine, and driving with a suspended license. Why is it when you think "nearly naked" felon, you automatically think Florida?
- 94-year-old gets Medal of honor seventy years later, making him one of the most decorated soldiers in US military history https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/ralph-puckett-gets-medal-of-honor/
- Scientists develop a personalized anti-cancer vaccine that works in mice https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/researchers-immunize-mice-against-aggressive-cancer/
- Sheldon the dog flunked out of service animal training but becomes an ace in sniffing out arson https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/sheldon-the-dog-flunked-out-of-service-animal-training-but-he-became-an-ace-at-sniffing-out-arson/
- Hero cop single handedly lifts overturned car to save woman https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/video-captures-jon-holt-single-handedly-lift-overturned-car/
- Did you know that flowers can "hear" buzzing bees -- and it makes their nectar sweeter? https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/flowers-can-hear-bees-and-it-makes-their-nectar-sweeter/
- University cancels $700,000 in debt for graduates hit by the pandemic https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/delaware-state-university-cancels-outstanding-debt-covid-19-cases/
- Veternarian saves the eye of a tiger in a never before done operation on a big cat https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/a-tiger-in-england-receives-corneal-eye-surgery-for-the-first-time-in-history/