Michael Bains no longer lives in Surrey, but vividly remembers playing basketball for his school team.
By the mid-2000s, he was a star at Tamanawis High School, where Bains also saw the lure of gang life and drugs begin to derail some Wildcats teammates and other classmates.
This is the central story of Surrounded, Bains’ first novel, which he calls a coming-of-age tale of basketball, love, and a journey of self-discovery.
The set-in-Surrey delivers the keys to Jimmy, the team captain, recruited by a local drug dealer and seduced by money and hectic life. As relationships and studies begin to slip away, Jimmy must dribble and fight his way in order to find true happiness.
“It’s inspired by people I knew and grew up with,” Bains explained. “All the things I write about are things I have seen with my own eyes, but this is not about my life. I was never involved in gangs and drugs, but I had friends who were, and this is the story of the main character, his fight.
Now 30, living in Yaletown and working in banking and land development, Bains wrote Surrounded a few years ago and had published the novel last November.
He graduated from Tamanawis in 2008 and lived in Surrey until his early twenties.
“Basketball was the sport that I loved since I was a kid, and I had two older brothers who were always taller than me and pushed me around, and I always loved writing too,” Bains said.
“The book just made sense to pick up on a story I knew well, the teenage basketball star who tries to lead his team to the provincial championships but deals with friends involved in gangs and thugs and all over there. ‘attraction of joining this way of life, ”he said. added. “So this star plays basketball but also has the desire to make money, then he gets involved in the drug dealing and gang lifestyle. He loves basketball more than anything, but he s “It’s about her internal struggle between those two things. It’s a story I got to know growing up, in terms of friends involved.
Bains said people have asked if Surrounded speaks of Arun Cheema, shot dead in Delta in January 2015.
“He was a year younger than me and played for the same team in my 12th grade,” Bains recalls. “He was a top player and got into some pretty heavy stuff outside of basketball. (The book) isn’t about him, but I really got to know him growing up and I couldn’t help but think of people like that while writing the book.
Surrounded mentions Surrey high schools, parks and other places, and Bains seems proud to be from the town.
After high school, he attended Simon Fraser University, but did not play basketball on the Burnaby Mountain campus.
“I played in men’s leagues more,” Bains said. “I ruptured my Achilles tendon while playing basketball about four years ago and had played in several leagues, and I still play at the community center, but everything was closed due to COVID. I still play occasionally, but certainly not as much as when I was younger, when I played a lot. When I start to play, I get this itch.
Bains hopes to obtain Surrounded in Surrey school libraries, and has since written another novel and also a book of poetry.
“The answer (to Surrounded) was amazing, and that’s good because I think in Surrey that story hasn’t been told yet, and basketball has really taken off in Surrey in particular, ”he said. declared. “I graduated in 2008 and even since then basketball has absolutely exploded there with different camps, clubs and leagues. And at the same time, we all see the issues with gangs and shootings, drugs. “
Surrounded is available at michaelbains.ca, and related content can be found at instagram.com/hoopedtalks. The book is also available on the Surrey Libraries website (surreylibraries.ca) and reviews are posted on amazon.ca.
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