I Did All That Years Ago

Bryn Mastiffson, formerly of the Rocky Mountain Royals, remembers his past.

Art by D. Chestnut

Bryn is one of a very few players who was a captain in his FBA rookie year; he was the first captain of the Rocky Mountain House Royals in its inaugeral FBA season way back in 1979. In fact, Bryn had been on the team since 1974, getting a name for himself with his quirky, flashy style of play, and soon being nicknamed The Slapstick Showboater. He was the captain of the team when the FBA incorporated it as an existing semi-pro team (which was how he joined the small ranks of rookie captains).

However, joining the FBA was a shock for the Royals--the transition from semi-professional to professional took the entire team by surprise. Brock Thiessen, himself a former player for the Hamilton Mariners (he played from 1920-1950), did his best to get the team up to speed, and Bryn had to leave the band The Craggs And The Mastiffson, which he'd been a part of since 1968 (the Craggs being his elder half-brother and half-sister).

Their first game was a disaster: The Montana Howlers demolished them, by 56 points. They lost their second game rather badly as well.

They had one of the longest losing streaks in FBA history before pulling off a surprise win against the Howlers, who came in expecting another cakewalk, and went out with a four-point loss.

Bryn Mastiffson, realizing his team was in trouble, began his former habit of fancy play, explaining to his coach and teammates, if he couldn't give the fans a win, he was going to give them a show—but he would only act like the Slapstick Showboater if the team was seriously behind.

It helped, as fans came to see what silliness Mastiffson would pull next.

Bryn's fortunes took a disastrous turn in his sophomore season. In the third game of the 1980-1981 season, the Slapstick Showboater made a fancy shot that was roughly blocked and, as he would say to T. Matt Latrans later, We went up, we came down, I landed wrong and... that was the end of my career.

The truth was more complicated than that: Bryn's knee injury did spell the end of the season for him. But he had a conversation with his friend Darnell Lowen in which Bryn admitted a dread of all the training he would have to do to get back onto the court. Darnell responded that Bryn had just proved he did not have a baller's heart—that instead, Bryn was an entertainer. He encouraged Bryn to make a career choice, and Bryn chose to return to entertainment.

He has never regretted it. He returned to The Craggs and the Mastiffson and earning money repairing pianos. He also became a basketball humourist and gave Angus MacColl his personal blessing to use the nickname The Slapstick Showboater.

Here, Bryn remembers a time 3 decades and 100 pounds ago, doing (and being) all that years ago.

Art, Royals Uniform, and Royals Logo by D. Chestnut (See her submission)

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