That kid, Pranit Smith, is betting on sports things because if you do it right you win money. He may be urgently short on money — he at one point says he gets the coffees he does because of a “low budget”. But that hasn’t been explicit. He’s betting online using his older brother’s identity. He also gives a curiously long explanation for how his brother has the name ‘Bob’. I believe that’s so we the readers understand Bob is a real person and Pranit’s misdemeanor is just using that driver’s license (or whatever the proof of age was) instead of counterfeiting one. It’s about setting the level of his transgression.
This should catch you up on Neal Rubin and Rod Whigham’s Gil Thorp for mid-February 2022. If you’re reading this after about May 2022, or if news about the strip breaks, there’s probably a more useful essay here. Thanks for reading.
15 November 2021 – 5 February 2022.
Last time you’ll recall, consciousness enthusiast Boyd Spiller had been hypnotizing the problems out of everyone. Worked great until the overloaded Kianna Bello sprains her foot after one of Spiller’s hypno-rest sessions. Tevin Claxton, whose choking under pressure seemed relieved by Spiller’s help, had enough.
He climbed on the lunchroom table to announce he’d been seeing a sports psychiatrist who was helping him. Spiller’s YouTube-lesson hypnosis was harmless nonsense until it wasn’t. But thanks for trying to help.
So that’s got Bello not talking to Claxton. And Coach Thorp required to give a pep talk about how the team was good because they worked hard and together. They lose the next football game, though, and one of the players gets wounded. The ever-reticent Chance Macy decides it’s his turn to say something. He announces where he’s going to college so he can play football without anyone seeing (it’s Canada). And that everybody has to learn to say when expectations on them are unreasonable.
For example there’s Bello, burdened by how everyone expected she could take on more responsibilities. Or Claxton, who got razzed a lot for a couple bad plays the previous year. Macy calls for everyone to go easier on each other, and ourselves, and “snot-pound Valley Tech”. It reads like a goofy replacement for something an actual high schooler might say. But everyone in the strip agrees they have no idea what that means. Macy just said something weird and got away with it. Since they beat Valley Tech, that’s all working out well. Unfortunately Goshen beating Oakwood means that Milford will finish the season in second place. At least they close the season on a win.
And that closes the football-season story. The 13th of December started the basketball-season story. Girls basketball player, and swiftly-named team captain, Hollis Talley is going to the US Air Force Academy. And, on the boys team, Pranit Smith is doing great in his fantasy-football picks. He’s a mediocre player, but in a tight game Coach Thorp spots where passing the ball to Smith can let him get a three-pointer that wins the match. It sets him on a string of great performances. Since this is early in the season, this has to set some terrible comeuppance in motion.
Using his elder brother’s name, Smith opens an actual betting for-cash account. And, worse, it starts out great. Some other kids start giving money to him to put down bets. So everybody else waits for the incredible obvious disaster even people in adjacent comic strips sees coming. Even
Coach Gil Thorp Assistant Coach Kaz, who only gets to overhear the players’ nonsense, notices he’s paying attention to his phone rather than the game he’s playing.
Meanwhile on the girls team, the season’s starting pretty rough. Talley feels she should be doing something captain-y to turn things around. But she doesn’t know what. Ask people to do extra practices? Coach Mimi Thorp is also frustrated but hasn’t got an answer. Talley is able to coax some of it out of Cressa Baxter: her knee hurts, but she’s not willing to spend her last season benched. The doctor’s supposed to drain it in a few days so that problem may fix itself.
And one last bit. Gordon Achebe, who I think was on the football team, joined the basketball team. I don’t know the significance of this. (I don’t seem to have mentioned him before, around here.) That it was established suggests he might be being set up for something.
Milford Sports Watch!
Who’s Milford playing? What schools get mentioned in the strip? There’ve been a lot the past couple months, as the strip showed a lot of games being played and a lot of talking about conference rivals. Here’s, to the best of my knowledge, the full list. Also mentioned, as schools that seniors were graduating to, were McGill University and the Air Force Academy.
- Madison. (20-24 November 2021)
- New Thayer. (25-26 November)
- Valley Tech. (4-10 December)
- Goshen and Oakwood. (9 November)
- All Saints. (24 December – 3 January 2022)
- Redford. (4 January)
- St Rita. (6 January)
- Chittenago. (7 January)
- New Thayer. (12 January)
- Jefferson, Goshen. (20 January)
- Valley Tech. (27-28 January)
- New Thayer. (4 February)
- Jefferson. (5 February)
Whatever happened to Judge Parker? I share what I know from readingFrancesco Marciuliano and Mike Manley’s Judge Parker, if all goes well.