Toby Wheeler: Eighth Grade Benchwarmer


 Toby Wheeler: Eighth Grade Benchwarmer by Thatcher Heldring

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Why do your friends suddenly change in middle school?  Toby liked the way things used to be.  He would hang out with his best friend JJ, pull crazy pranks at school, and spent hours playing street ball and basketball at the rec center.  Now that they’re in 8th grade, JJ doesn’t have time for Toby. 

JJ has a stuck-up girlfriend, Valerie, and spends all of his time playing guitar in a lame garage band.  To make matters worse, JJ never even shoots hoops with Toby anymore.   

When Toby’s basketball rival, Vinny, made fun of him and told Toby he was a weak player, Toby decided he wasn’t going to put up with being slammed by anyone.  He’d try out for the boy’s basketball team, show that punk Vinny how good a player he really is, and find a way to spend time with his friend JJ again.   

Toby’s plan didn’t exactly turn out the way he had hoped.   

Toby makes his middle school team, but he finds himself warming the bench during every game.  The coach picks on him constantly, and his teammates, even JJ, make fun of the way he plays. 

Not only that, but the coach’s daughter seems to have a crush on him.  Just what he needed – another reason for Coach not to like him. Toby is surprised to find out, however, that being a benchwarmer is not always so bad. 

Watch Toby become a fan favorite, get the hottest girl in school, and realize that the best shooter on the team is not always the star player. 

Great story for anyone who feels like he/she always comes in last place!