Today’s post is the first of a few from my new book, Trouble in Discovery: Remington Rises Up. This is book #2 in my Remington Roberts Series of fictional stories following a young man named Remington Roberts through his high school basketball career and on into his future in college.
The first book in the series, called Ultimate Team Player, came out last Christmas. In that first book, we meet Remington, his teammates, his coaches, and his friend Jenny. Remington is in his junior year of high school. He is the ultimate team player. Everyone wants to play with Remington because he is A) all about selflessness and team, and B) a great player, one of the best in his state.
I wrote this series to provide lessons for middle school and high school athletes and coaches (and parents to some extent) about what it entails to be a true athlete, and to be the best one can be for oneself and for one’s team. I also wrote it for coaches to give them ideas on how to handle certain situations and to see some of the pitfalls that they need to be aware of if they make decisions for the wrong reasons.
There are numerous lessons on character, selflessness, work ethic, communication, perseverance, adaptability, and more. At the end of each chapter, I have an “Ideas to Consider” section with a few questions for the reader to ponder. Some of them are about what goes on in the story. Some of them are directed at the reader to ask, “What would you do in that situation?”
Trouble in Discovery picks up where Ultimate Team Player left off — at the end of Remington’s junior season. It quickly moves to how the team is preparing for the next year, and then if follows them through Remington’s senior year and the team’s quest for a state championship.
A new character enters the story early on. Connor McDonald, a 6’6″ skilled post player from Oakland, California, moves into Discovery, Montana. He is the missing piece of the puzzle for the Sacajawea High School Wolves. The Wolves already have state championship caliber talent on the team. They just lack a strong inside presence. Connor provides that presence.
However, Connor is used to doing things a little differently than they do things in Discovery, and he’s not all that excited about adapting to his new team’s ways. Can Remington, his teammates, and his coaches bring him along and help him help them achieve their dream of winning a state championship?
You’ll need to pick up the book to find out. It will be released at the end of June or beginning of July. Details on its release and how you can get it will be forthcoming in the next couple of weeks.
Until then, I’m going to offer up some of the chapters of the book for you here, so you can get a taste of what the story is like.
If you haven’t already read Ultimate Team Player, you can do so on the SlamDunk Success site’s Shop page or on Amazon, so you can see how Remington’s junior year laid the foundation for the new book. While you don’t have to have read the first book to understand and enjoy the second book, it will certainly help.
I have dropped the price on the eBook version of Ultimate Team Player at Amazon to just $.99, so there is no reason not to get it and start meeting Remington and the rest of team. (If it is not $.99 when you check it out, check back every so often. It sometimes takes a day or two for Amazon to make that change on their site.)
Also, if you would like to learn about where Remington came from and how he became the player he now is, you can get my free eBook of the Prequel to the series called, Discovery Calls: Remington Relocates. Just scroll over to the right hand side of this page and enter your name and email address under the picture of the book, and you will be able to download it.
The end of the prior year’s season was a whirlwind for the Sacajawea High Boys’ Basketball team. While they had achieved many of their goals, they now had a new goal. Like any other team, they wanted to win a state championship back. The last time that happened in Discovery was in the 1990s, and these boys wanted to be the ones to bring back the next one. The returning players made a commitment to each other that they were going to work as hard as they possibly could all off-season and come home with the ultimate hardware the next year.
On the ride home from their final game, a few of them — Remington Roberts, Nick Bertucci, Tim Nelson, and Brian Jackson — walked up to the front of the bus where the coaches were sitting and sat down. They all leaned into the aisle and told their coach, Del Brooks, they wanted to win the state championship next year. While they were a fun-loving group of boys, Del had also seen them be serious before. As they sat there talking to him, he saw and heard a determination about them that he had not seen in such an intense way before.
They spoke of how they wanted to get in the gym as much as possible beginning in another week. Kids often say that kind of thing at the end of the season, but you rarely find them anywhere near the gym for months – at least not to work. But Del saw something different in them as they sat there talking. He sensed that this group was going to be different. The best player, Remington Roberts, was a true leader. He had a way about him that made people like him. He had a mature sense of humor about him that allowed him to be at ease with adults, but he could laugh and joke with his friends as well. When it came to basketball, though, while he enjoyed the fun he had playing, there was an air about him that said, “This is business, man. Don’t be screwing around out here when we are working.”
Del loved that about Remington. His teammates did, too. While they didn’t have the same level of ability, intensity, and passion about the game that he had, they fed off of his. The harder he worked, the harder they worked. The more he encouraged them and lifted their spirits, the more they encouraged each other. He was the ultimate team player, always picking them up and trying to make them better. Because they liked him, liked playing with him, and liked how he treated them, they didn’t want to let him down. So when Remington said, “We are getting in the gym all spring, summer, and fall,” they were all in.
One of the problems with Remington’s idea was that a lot of his teammates played spring and fall sports. Remington himself also played soccer. He knew it was good for his basketball. He played school soccer in the fall and club soccer in the spring. Of course, the competition and the coaching he received in both soccer seasons helped him be a better athlete. The soccer teams played a tough schedule, so they were pushed hard by their opponents and by their coaches. This made him better able to handle the competitive elements and pressure that came to him during the basketball season. The footwork and conditioning aspects of soccer also had a huge impact on his development as a basketball player through the years. The more he got all of the benefits from playing soccer, the better athlete he became. The better athlete he became, the better basketball player he became.
Nick Bertucci and Tim Nelson played football and ran track. They were very good football players on a not-so-very good team. They were going to be counted on to lead the football team by putting in their share of work in the off-season. They also ran track, and while they did not have the same passion for it, their track coaches were going to want them to focus on the various events they competed in throughout the spring.
The rest of the key returning players had played other sports through the years, but they were only playing basketball now. They, too, said they were all-in for spring, summer, and fall basketball workouts. While they didn’t fully comprehend the hard work that Remington had in mind, the success they just experienced during the season made them want to work harder than they had ever worked before.
As Del heard the boys speak and saw their excitement at the possibilities, he got excited, too. While he had coached players who were into improving themselves and making the team the best it could be, he had not had anyone ever outline to him what they wanted to do in the off-season to prepare themselves for next year. And he certainly had never had kids do that on the bus ride home on the last day of the season!
But this group was different. While Del had only been coaching for a few years, this group was unlike anything he had ever seen. Even in his years as a player, playing for his own dad, he hadn’t seen this. He himself had it, but it was like pulling teeth to get his teammates to want to work in the off-season. There was always some excuse why his buddies couldn’t make it to the gym or the playground or the weight room. While Del was there pretty much all the time, he saw different teammates on different days in different weeks, but he never saw the same ones consistently.
In Remington, he saw a lot of who he was when he was their age. In fact, Del thought that Remington might be even more dedicated than Del was when he was in high school. But he also saw in the other boys a level of excitement and interest that he had not seen before. Yet Del also knew that it was the spring, right after the season. “We’ll see how long this level of interest and intensity lasts,” he thought. “Anyone can talk a good game on the last day of the season. But will they walk their talk? We’ll see in a few weeks who is actually showing up and putting in the work.”
Ideas to Consider
- What did the boys do on the bus ride home from the last game that Coach Brooks hadn’t seen before? What was the plan that Remington and his teammates had in mind for the off-season? What are some potential obstacles to that plan?