Where have you gone?

By Hoops Haavardsrud

Some time ago I was roused from a particularly enjoyable slumber by a persistent ringing noise. The source of my irritation remained elusive as I struggled over abnormally high hurdles of grog and confusion. Mumbling barely-audible condemnations toward anyone not in earshot, the receiver thankfully found its way into my groping hand. Fortunately, primal instinct took over where genuine comprehension failed and, acting as an impressive unit, mind and body came together to form, what in retrospect, was a decidedly guttural hello.

"What are you doing, sleeping?" accused the nearly-familiar voice on the other end of the line.


"Do you know who this is?" questioned the voice, the accusatory tone rising unmistakably and impressively.


"What do you mean you don’t know who this is!" the baritone demanded, its accusation culminating in a brilliantly indicting crescendo.


"Everyone knows Brian Piket," was the default answer given by all asked.

There are two types of people in the world, those who know Brian Piket and those who know people who want to be like Brian Piket.

The few among you who fall into the second category are undoubtedly wondering why they are reading about a seemingly insignificant stranger. Be patient and rest assured in the knowledge that those in the first category are even more baffled.

"Two words to describe Brian Piket? Blunt and painful." – Paul Sundstrom, assistant women’s basketball coach and long-time Piket associate.

Piket has been known to wear many hats, but perhaps none fit as well over his shaved head as that of trash-talking rat baller. Unfortunately, Piket’s shadow of late, along with countless other old school ballers, is a rare sight on the hardwood of the Jack Simpson Gymnasium.

"Who? Oh, do you mean the redhead? He’s got a big mouth, yo. He doesn’t know when to shut up." – Benny Wong, first-year student, Jack Simpson veteran and quick pull-up.

Not long ago the three things you could count on in life were death, taxes, and solid pick-up in the afternoons. With immortality an apparently viable option and $6,456 tax exempt, door number three became the certainty of choice for many a 20-something Calgarian. Classes were chosen accordingly or miraculously became optional when confronted with the all-powerful alternative of, "one more game."

"Brash and genuine. I don’t really like the brash side, of course that seems to be most of the time, but the other side is genuine, he makes you feel special." – Jody Currie, Dinos point guard, rat baller at heart.

Hoops has its place in the cosmos and like everything else in nature moves in a cyclical pattern. However, this time the ebb of real life seems to have surpassed the flow of the playground. Piket and those like him have headed out to sea, but no new ships are pulling into port to take their place.

"He’s got good skills though, good fundamentals and he knows the game" – Benny Wong, a qualifying remark.

Organized basketball, like a debate club or the bourgeoise, has its place, but to find a more worthy argument you’ve got to look elsewhere. Ultimately, all eyes will come to rest on one of the last bastions of social purity left in the world, rat ball. Games to seven, offence calls, straight-up, king’s court, everyone is welcome. The rules are so immaculate they may well have come from God, except that religion, along with gender, race, or Grade Point Average has no place on the court.

"The only word that comes to mind is attitude, the guy has a lot of attitude." – Adrian Dhanrha, Education student, rat baller.

Aside from being brutally honest, Brian Piket is loud, obnoxious, and arrogant; essentially he’s not the first person you’d pick to meet your grandmother. However, if I was forced to wager on any one person knowing your grandmother it would be Piket. When asked about the connection, his answer would probably be that her son’s nephew-your first cousin-used to ball in the northeast and, "I know everyone in the northeast."

"This is a call to all you sleepless souls, wake up, live life, and take control of your own cycle." – Public Enemy, yet to meet Piket.

Times change, people get busy, they get jobs, they get lives, but if they stop balling, perhaps they lose sight of what they’re living for. Where else would you meet someone like BP? Where else would BP meet you?

If Piket is truly the embodiment of rat ball, maybe his absence is indicative of the lack of good ball across campus, or maybe he’s just busy. Whatever the case, to BP and the missing ballers wherever you are, this is your wake up call.

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