Rebound Caper by Thomas J. Dygard was originally published in 1983 and most recently re-published in 1992.
Gary Whipple is the clown of the boys’ basketball team. He dribbles on his knees, salutes teammates, and generally takes the game much less seriously than his coach and the other players. But then an incident results in Gary being suspended from the basketball team.
In response, Gary checks the rules regarding school teams and learns that there are no formal restrictions keeping him from playing on the girls’ team for the remainder of the regular season. While there is a rule preventing it during the year-end tournament, Gary is not concerned about that far-off event.
So, Gary speaks to the coach of the girls’ team, and she’s willing to give him a try. Gary’s new teammates adapt fairly quickly, but Gary’s presence on the team leads to unintended consequences. The first girls’ team they play against completes the game under protest. The second game includes another boy: a star player from the other school’s boys’ team. The coach of the opposing team in the third game gives in to madness and starts the entire starting lineup of the school’s boys’ team.
As time goes on, Gary realizes that he is causing even more problems for the girls’ team. They are legitimately good enough to win the year-end tournament, but Gary realizes that he’s keeping some players from getting the playing time they’ll need to prepare. Furthermore, as a result of their success playing against boys, the team’s star player decides to try out for the boys’ team.
In the end, Gary is caught in the mess he’s made and has to find a way out that won’t hurt anyone else.
Rebound Caper holds up fairly well and doesn’t have too many plot points that would seem entirely out of place today. However, it has not been reprinted in nearly 30 years and is unavailable through our library system.
But if Rebound Caper sounds interesting to you, I’d like to recommend a (somewhat) similar sports story owned by GPPL (and available for curbside pickup as long as we’re able to continue offering the service):
Athlete vs. Mathlete by W.C. Mack
Owen is a great basketball player, his brother Russell is a great student, and their lives don’t overlap very often at school. Things change when the basketball coach demands that Russell try out for the team due to his height.
Russell becomes a star player, but at the cost of his relationship with Owen and Russell’s Masters of the Mind team. Can he find a way to fix things with his brother and teammates?
Athlete vs. Mathlete and its sequels, Double Dribble and Time-Out, are shelved upstairs, in the juvenile sports section of the Children’s Department.