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Whitman Basketball Player “Really Scared” After Hearing About Supernovas in Astronomy Class

Matt Raymond

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Every basketball player knows a thing or two about “off days”––those days when, for some reason, the shots just can’t find the bottom of the net.  Some attribute their atypically poor performances to nervousness before a big game, while others are affected by injury, fatigue or personal problems off the court. The problem affecting the play of Whitman Missionary Bryan Galkey is potentially much larger and more dangerous than any of these explanations.

The senior basketball player, when asked about a serious, sharp decline in his offensive output, cited a rare stellar phenomenon involving the explosion of a star which becomes a short-lived, gamma-ray-emitting object with a maximum intrinsic luminosity nearly one billion times as great as that of the sun.

“Professor Dobson was talking about the life cycles of stars.  Then she said something about how really big stars go ‘ka-bloomy!’ and get really big and really bright for a little while. I got really scared,” Galkey said.

After reading more about the re-ignition of nuclear fusion in degenerate stars and the collapsing of the star’s core, Galkey discovered that supernovas occur in the Milky Way Galaxy roughly three times every century.  “I’ve been at Whitman for a long time now, and we haven’t had one since I’ve been here,” he reported.

The phenomenon of the supernova, believed to be the cause of the Ordovician-Silurian Extinction some 450 million years ago, has clearly hindered Galkey’s offensive play. The normally rough, tough and physical Galkey has missed his last ninety-seven shots from the field, a sharp decline from what had previously been a stellar season for him.

“Now that I’ve become an expert on supernovas, basketball just seems so trivial to me. I just don’t feel like finishing ferociously at the rim anymore. I mean, that ball could just explode any time and we’re all doomed,” he said, alluding to a curious incident in which he mistook the basketball for a white dwarf star while attempting to shoot a free throw.

Other members of the Missionary basketball team have started to wonder if Galkey is, in fact, being very reasonable in his fear of gamma ray bursts resulting from runaway thermonuclear explosion. The team’s leading scorer, Brent Iceheart, arrived at an alarming conclusion which has, justifiably, inspired mortal fear in several of his teammates.

“I just realized this, but … isn’t the sun a star, too? And … if the sun is a star, it can go ‘bang’ too, right? As a team, we need to focus on this problem and look for the oscillations in the fabric of space-time which correspond to star death,” said Iceheart, also noting that the Missionaries, like other basketball teams in the biosphere, draw their energy from the sun.

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Whitman Basketball Player “Really Scared” After Hearing About Supernovas in Astronomy Class