The 8th Hoosier

Every time I watch Hoosiers, which is often I can’t help counting and re-counting the players on the team throughout.  I swear it baffles me every single time.  An extra player appears without any sort of explanation or backstory.  They go from a painfully thin bench to almost somewhat normal by the time of the state championship.  No I’m not talking about Jimmy joining the team, that’s obviously well documented.  Hickory grows by two, not just by one.  Speaking of Jimmy, can we just take a moment and appreciate the single greatest line in sports movie history?

Jimmy Chitwood – Legend

I can only hope that someday I’ll have that level of confidence and certainty at my job.  You know, the boss tries to give a new client to a co-worker, the whole room goes silent and the boss looks around and says “what’s wrong with you guys”?  I turn to her with that thousand mile stare and say simply…”I’ll audit that”.  Chills.

Coach Dale first comes to practice to meet the team and decides to count the players to see what kind of hand he was dealt.  It’s seven, only seven…gonna be a lonely bench.  Here is how they line up left to right:

  1. Merle Webb
  2. Wise ass guy who gets kicked out
  3. Whit Butcher
  4. Strap Purl
  5. Ollie McLellan
  6. Rade Butcher
  7. Everett Flatch

It doesn’t take long for this number to get whittled down some more.  Wise ass guy gets kicked out for talking and then talking back.  Whit goes with him because he ain’t no gizzard.  And damn, gonna be tough playing with only five or really four and a half with little Ollie.  Thankfully, Whit’s father straightens his ass out and he returns to apologize…annnnd we are back to six for the first game against Oolitic.  “This is your team”.

Can you believe he benched Rade and went with only four players after Merle fouled out?

Dennis Hopper Loves It

On to Cedar Knob and their cracker box gym.  There’s two on the bench at this game which makes seven overall.  Where did the extra player come from?  Did the wise ass come back or is this somebody new?  There is a new face there that sort of looks like the wise ass kid, but this one hardly talks at all.  Watching it again today I understand his name is Buddy.

With all the benching of players and getting kicked out of games, the town foolishly decides to vote on removing Coach Dale.  Cue up the key moment of the movie with Jimmy Chitwood coming on to rescue the team, the town and Coach Dale himself.  “One more thing…I play, coach stays.  He goes, I go”.

Now we are at the full complement of eight players which they will have through the end of the tournament and movie:

  1. Merle Webb – concentrate on what you’re doing and just put it in the hole
  2. Whit Butcher – gizzard
  3. Rade Butcher – he can’t help his mouth
  4. Strap Purl – God needs him on the floor
  5. Ollie McLellan – half a player
  6. Everett Flatch – Dennis Hopper’s kid
  7. Jimmy Chitwood – King Jimmy
  8. Buddy Walker – the 8th hoosier (and it was Dentyne)

They are off to the races now and after what Jimmy did what could possibly get Coach Dale out of there?


So is Buddy really the wise ass from the opening practice?  If so, why was he allowed to come back…did he apologize to Coach like Whit did and we just missed it?  In any case, I thought he was down at Terhune.  Possibly Buddy is a late walk on player?  I’ve been looking for answers for years, just so I can watch the film without that distraction.

I never look at the extra features on DVDs and electronic versions of movies.  I generally like to get right to the film.  I did today though.  On the Hoosier’s special features there are deleted scenes, one of which is titled “Buddy Asks to Come Back”.  Well shit.  Yeah I’m a dumbass for not checking this before, but shouldn’t this scene have made the cut?  Kind of an important plot point, no?  Cut because the studio insisted the movie be under two hours?!?  Well anyway…mystery solved.

Get the Blue-ray with special features and see for yourself by clicking on the Amazon link I have in the Now Playing section of my home page:  Everything that guy just said is bulls&*%!

I promise you it’s a game changer (Jimmy still makes it).




One thought on “The 8th Hoosier

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  1. There’s a deleted scene where Buddy returns and apologizes, so he’s the same actor/person. I swear Whit doesn’t have any lines after apologizing though

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