Study Guide for Bleachers by John Grisham - BookNotes|
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BLEACHERS BY JOHN Grisham - FREE STUDY GUIDE/SUMMARY
Also on the scoreboard are the tributes to all the Messina heroes - seven numbers retired, including Neely’s number 19 and Roman Armstead’s number 81, the only Messina player to ever play in the NFL. Beyond the scoreboard is the field house, a facility that any college would envy. No expense had ever been spared for Rake’s teams and now there is something there that Neely had never seen before: a monument with a brick base and a bronze bust of Rake himself. Under the bust are the all the statistics that any Messina citizen could rattle off from memory - 34 years as coach, 418 wins, 62 losses, 13 state titles and an undefeated streak of 84 straight wins. To Neely, it’s not a monument, but an alter, and he can almost see the Spartan fans bowing before it every Friday night. The last building Neely notices from his perspective is the steeple of the Methodist church behind which sits the house that the town had given Rake on his 50th birthday. Inside, he is sure, are Miss Lila and her three daughters waiting for Rake to take his last breath. He doesn’t think any former players will be there.
The next car into the Spartan Stadium parking lot holds Paul Curry who had caught 47 of Neely’s 63 touchdown passes. They had been close friends and co-captains, the famous duo of Crenshaw to Curry. Now, he works in the Messina bank his grandfather built, married to a local girl. Their wedding had been Neely’s last trip to Messina. Paul tells Neely that Rake is not yet dead and then gossips a little about the present team and their coach. Neely asks him if he ever comes into the stadium when it’s empty and walks around remembering all those good years. Paul tells him that he did for awhile, but now he’s given it up. However, since Neely hasn’t been back for 15 years, Paul believes he’s still dreaming about being the All-American quarterback. Neely responds that he wishes he had never seen a football to which Paul answers that he never had a choice, because Rake had them in uniforms when they were in 6th grade. They had played on Thursday nights and drew more fans than most high schools. Even then, they had memorized all forty plays Rakes had in his book. Neely still knows them all. Now Paul observes that those were the years when they were the heroes who could do no wrong. They were kings of their own little world for three or four seasons and then poof! it was gone. Neely admits that when he was in college he would drive by the school, but he had never wanted to see Rake, and about one month before they fired Rake, he had bought a six pack and climbed up in the stands to re-play all the games in his mind. It had been wonderful until he re-lived the last game, and then, it hurt all over again. Paul says that over time he forgot about being a hero and became just a fan.
Another car pulls in and it holds Orley Short, the slowest linebacker in history according to Neely. He was a logger from the county and one of the players Rake loved the most, because they were so big and powerful from logging. Another man arrives in the stadium, and Neely can’t place him, a frustration, because he feels he should know them all, all of Rake’s players, a small fraternity whose membership is now forever closed. Paul then mentions how Neely is still Messina’s All-American. He has only to walk into Renfrow’s Café and see the huge photo still hanging above the cash register to know it’s true. He is still the subject of the town’s eternal debate: who is the better quarterback, Neely Crenshaw or Wally Webb. However, Neely can’t enjoy all the memories the way Paul can, because Rake is still back there, an ever-present part of them all.
Paul receives a phone call while they reminisce from Silo Mooney, who indicates he’s on his way to see them both. Neely observes that he hasn’t seen Silo since they graduated, but Paul reminds him that Silo never graduated, because he had a little trouble with the police over four controlled substances. Now he is in the midst of a very “colorful” career. He was dishonorably discharged from the Army, worked on off-shore rigs, and peddled drugs until he was shot at. He sold shoes, cemetery lots, used cars, and mobile homes. Now he has Old Man Joslin’s junkyard, which he swindled away from him, fixed up a warehouse on it, and turned it into a legitimate body shop. Of course, behind it is a chop shop, which fences stolen parts. Paul expects the FBI to walk in any time with a subpoena, so he’s made all the bank records ready when Silo is busted! Paul also warns Neely to be careful what he says about Rake, because Silo loves the man. Rake had loved him, too, because Silo had owned the middle of every field he played on. His nickname comes from his build - six feet tall and as wide as he is tall. He averaged three personal fouls in every game he played, and no one had ever been cursed by Coach Rake with as much frequency and enthusiasm as Silo Mooney.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on Bleachers".
. 09 May 2017