THE TEAM FROM NOWHERE
In 1944, a team no one expected to win a game — The University of Utah — surprised the world and taught a war-torn country how to believe in itself and see past the color of skin. The story of that team is told through the eyes of its players.
Blitz Kids is the story of how sports can overcome prejudice. It's also the story of how anyone can become a hero.
Release date: February 1, 2012
Authors: Josh Ferrin & Tres Ferrin
Publisher: Gibbs Smith
Available for preorder on Amazon.com.
IT MUST HAVE BEEN MAGIC
Whatever possessed them had transformed these unknown kids from a faraway place into something greater than themselves. It was as if by some ancient alchemy gold had been extracted from the salty Utah earth. They were a ragtag team of 18-year-old kids wearing borrowed shoes and loaner jockstraps — giants in boys’ frames, elevated beyond their humble beginnings to the status of kings who ruled Madison Square Garden as if it were their royal court. That magic was tangible to those who witnessed it, and was a catalyst in the lives of the players, changing the course of their fates forever.
With three seconds left on the clock and the score tied at 40, Utah’s Herb Wilkinson knew time was running out. He could tell by the frantic look in the eyes of the Dartmouth defenders. For most of the game the Indians had maintained their elegant form, but now they were unhinged—almost tripping over themselves to get at the ball.
Bob Lewis had two men on him and was swinging his elbows from side to side to clear some space. He rose up wildly and saw Herb alone at the top of the key. With a flick of his wrists, the ball went sailing across the court and landed perfectly in Herb’s hands.
Herb somehow found an opening in the smothering Dartmouth defense. Even though he was a step beyond the top of the key, he fixed his stance and raised his eyes toward the rim. The thought of the buzzer bore into Herb’s mind, and he was sure it would end the spell that had carried them across the country to this unlikely place. Herb’s gut reaction was to dish the ball to one of his teammates, but as he lifted the ball above his head and scanned the court he saw only a mass of defenders. Two defenders turned toward him and he looked above their heads at the distant basket. It was his only choice. Herb’s competitive instincts took over as he lofted the ball with a one-handed set shot.
The screaming fans in sold-out Madison Square Garden fell silent as they witnessed the soft leather ball take flight and bounce gently on the iron rim.