Let me tell you a story you may not believe.
(It's all true, I promise! No, really! Don't leave!)
It's about my friend Bally, who's orange and round,
And the wonderful dream world he magically found.
WICHITA, Kan. -- If you're a super-longtime readers, or if you've just happened by in the past 365 days (since this happened
), you might remember our final Bally contest last March. The challenge was to write an outline for a cartoon, and I'd ink and color the winning entry. Out of over 30 entries, there was a clear and distinct winner -- a Brooklyn schoolteacher named Beth Cosgrave, who won Bally No. 29, the final prize before we converted to a pay-per-Bally (PPB)
system to support the site.
Beth sent in a detailed description of what a mid-major-loving basketball might dream about the night before the NCAA Tournament. What thoughts would occupy a basketball's mind at that moment? He might take a balloon ride over a wide survey of upsets past and upsets future, and he also might stick his tongue out at Jay Bilas.
Her entry, written mostly in lowercase and occasionally in rhyme, contained a lot of other ideas too. At one point, I wrote back with something like, "There's enough here to fill a comic book!"
Though the TMM followers on Twitter
know this already, I'm happy to officially announce here on the site that over the course of the past two months, Beth and I have been working on Bally's first-ever children's book! Last week when I was in New York City
for a Hofstra game, she showed me her finalized text: 22 wonderful verses in A-A-B-B format based on the storyline we've put together. (If you're a Bally Club member, you can read the entire thing!
) So what's the book about, anyway?
You know that special Thursday in March when the big college hoops tournament starts? That's little Bally Basketball's favorite day in the whole world! But on Wednesday night before the games start, he can't sleep... he's too excited! When he finally dozes off by counting brackets instead of sheep, he enters a wonderful dream world. Flying over the trees with the help of a magical red balloon, Bally visits tiny Sixteenville, where the town is throwing a parade for its underdog basketball team. He later comes across First City, where big scary basketball robots roam the streets and big megaphones blast the message that "Big Things are Best!" Bally's journey even includes a trip to outer space! Where will it end? Will he get home in time for the big tournament?
We are now taking preorders for Bally's Dream
at ballysdream.com (pro tip: mouse over the text to find links to super-secret raw storyboards from the book!). It's 24 pages, in full color, and will be available in spectacular casewrap hardcover ($25 postpaid) or standard paperback binding ($15 postpaid).
Books will ship on March 9, just in time for the real actual Wednesday night before that big Thursday; early orders will help offset our production costs. Because we are a.) doing this directly through a digital printer and b.) this isn't profit-driven, the project will be a success whether we sell 10 or 10,000. But the more books you buy now, the better the volume discount we get from the printer. And we've pledged 10 percent of our net profits from Bally's Dream to Peru Children's Charity, the official cause of TMM.
As an extra deal-sweetener, each preordered book will earn one virtual raffle ticket to win Bally No. 99, the final regular-sized Bally ever made. Just think -- you could be reading your Bally book with Bally by your side. Talk about the total boing-sperience!
The Bally's Dream project isn't just Beth and I; we've compiled a real all-star team to put the book together in time for the Big Dance. Our editor is Damon Mosley, who co-wrote a great kids' book last year called I've Got To Have Those Shoes. Our art director is longtime design collaborator Roni Lagin, who designed Sports Bubble Blues, the secret Bally Club games, and the Season 6 logo. Also, the dreamscape backgrounds will be provided by some of the finest illustrators in Philadelphia. I guess what I'm trying to say is that this book is going to be totally awesome.
So go get one! And thanks again to all our readers, followers and supporters. Bally wouldn't exist at all if it wasn't for your love. We appreciate that you allow us the opportunity to continue these crazy creative experiments.