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What my musings are all about...

Blogging might well be the 21st century's form of journaling. As a writing teacher, I have always advised my students to keep a daily journal as a way of organizing their thoughts for future writing projects, a discipline I have unfortunately never consistently practiced myself. By blogging, I might finally be able to follow my own good advice.

The difference between journaling and blogging is that the blogger opens his or her writing to the public, something journal- writers are usually reluctant to do. I am not so reticent.

The trick for me will be to avoid cluttering the internet with more blather, something none of us need more of. If I stick to subjects I know: sports and literature, I believe I can avoid that pitfall. I can't promise that I'll not stray from time to time to comment on ancillary subjects, but I will make every attempt to be interesting and perhaps even insightful.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

More of This and That

Recently I read a post on the Golden State of the Mind Blog about Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezili. I agree completely that these two players are essential parts of the Warriors' future. I've been a consistent and vocal admirer of Barnes. I've been in touch with him often to encourage him, to keep working on his game. And he has. Festus is also a much improved player. In my mind he soon becomes the Warriors starting center. Perhaps not this year, but maybe the next. He is more mobile and shoots better than Andrew  Bogut, who has lost most of his early offensive game and completely lost his free-throw shooting skill, which was never great to begin with. But that's not to say that Andrew might not work his butt off during this off season and correct these deficiencies. As a consummate pro, I'd expect no less from him. But we'll see. If he doesn't, then he becomes back up to Festus Ezili. and that wouldn't be the worst way to extend his career and, maybe, continue to make a solid contribution to the Warriors. Not for the same money, of course.

Huge kudos to All-Pro line-backer for the Steelers, James Harrison. He is returning participation trophies given to his 6 & 8 year old sons. Harrison says, "You want a trophy in the Harrison household, you'd better 'EARN' it." I'm convinced that self-esteem building by handing out trophies and medals for simply participating devalues achieved performance. There is an equivalent problem in education. The last few years of my teaching career, I realized that my students were beginning to expect A's when they really earned B's, B's when they earned C's. This was particularly true of the  advanced classes, where anything below an A was considered failure. What does a trophy mean? What does an A mean? What does a gold medal mean? Gold medals are being handed out to kids like candy no matter how they performed. Believe me, the kids k now the difference between coming in last and coming in first. A small certificate would suffice as a self-esteem builder, or perhaps some candy. So right on, James Harrison for taking a stand for a return to the true meaning of excellence.

HUH? The 49ers get rid of grumpy Jim Harbough, a hard nosed coach, and hire Mr. Folksy Jim Tomsala, a so-called "players' coach." I could barely hold back my groans as I read some of his recent comments in the sports page this morning. Can he really be that silly? If I had to chose between these two extremes, I'd always go with the hard-nosed coach. The buddy, buddy kind of coach never works, not when he has to be the disciplinarian. But why on earth must the pendulum always swing from one extreme to the other?

Loved Jason Day's performance at the PGA Championship, never flinching as Jordan Spieth kept the pressure on him. Time to throw some shrimp on the barbie, Jason, and down some beahs.

From my upcoming collection Sky Hooks, here's a Haiku about golf.


On the 18th green
    Five foot putt for the win
Fly buzzing his ear

Thursday, August 13, 2015


Back to blogging with a new idea. In the future, I'm going to include a section in my blog called, "Huh?" I could call it "I don't get it." but "Huh?" to me sums up my gut reaction to certain beyond stupid stuff that happens in sports.

SUCH AS:  In today's sporting news, I read that the IOC  has refused to conduct viral tests of the waters at the Olympic waterways ahead of the start of the Olympics even though the Brazilian government' own medical labs found the waterways filled with all manner of disease causing viruses and bacteria and our Junior Olympic crew team and other country's teams recently suffered many types of stomach disorders. HUH?

What is going on with NFL Commissh Roger Goodell?  Why is he wasting his time on Deflategate when, according to news sources, 206 NFL players were arrested - some repeatedly- during one 260 day period for domestic violence, gun violations, drugs, DUI's and other infractions HUH?

My last blog had Jason Thompson still playing with the Kings. Since then, he's been traded to the 76er's and re-traded to the Golden State Warriors. I had to give this acquisition by my Dubs a lot of thought, and finally decided that Bob Meyers, the Warrior GM, might have pulled off a gem of a move. The Warriors needed a back up for Draymond Green, preferably a defender and a rebounder. Jason at 6'11" can do both well, albeit he has to grow as a consistent rebounder and defender. Consistency has always been his problem - one good game followed by three disappearances. In addition, the kid needs to stop complaining on every call against him, a stupid character trait that the excellent Warriors' coaching staff ought to rid him of pronto. In terms of the rest of his game, if Jason Thompson can ever consistently knock down his 15 foot jumper and consistently shoot his freethrows, the Warriors may have wound up with a strong rotation player. It's every game, not every three games, Jason. You got It? Good, Now go out and make the Warriors proud?

From my upcoming chapbook of poetry entitled Sky Hooks written in the style of the Asian masters, here's a poem written about a soccer match I witnessed in Algeria while I was there coaching basketball.

Football in Algiers 1965  by Tom Meschery

Backwards scissors-kick
     Day before the revolution  
Crowd on its feet cheering

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

What's the deal with the Kings?

Is my second beloved city, Sacramento, (I'm a Warrior and Bay Area lifer) about to go through another year of dismal basketball? Considering what's going on these days in the King's front office, the question has to be asked. And answered.

I'm wondering now, why did Ranadive hire George Karl in the first place? He went against the wishes of his GM at that time, Pete D'Alessandro. Pete knew that George, a tough minded, no nonsense coach, would have a hard time pampering DeMarcus Cousins. Karl, when coaching the Nuggets, despised Carmelo and couldn't stomach Javale McGee.

So, now, will the owner give Karl the freedom to coach or is Sacramento going to have to suffer the firing and hiring of yet another coach? Calipari? Not a chance, he's already nixed that possibility. His mother didn't raise a foolish child. Malone? Sorry, the Nuggets snagged him.The irony, of course, is that Vivak Ranadive had the right coach from the start.

Is it possible the team is poised to trade DeMarcus? Cousin's is upset that Coach Karl might have shopped him. Years and years ago in a league far away I learned that if Wilt Chamberlain could be traded, any player in the NBA could. Get over yourself, Cuz. Lose a little weight, get ready to run and play some hoops. And George, you might want to adjust the run and gun a bit to accommodate Cousin's inside game, especially with the addition of the long and lean defender Cauly Stein playing along Cousins and filling the lane on the break. Stein runs like a deer. He also, along with Cousins, gives you a defensive wall teams are going to have a tough time penetrating. Rudy at the three again, where he belongs. Not bad. Jason Thompson off the bench. I can live with that.

You have a point guard in Darren Colleson, remember. Not superb, but adequate for the time being. Ty Lawson would be an upgrade, and Colleson could be back up, where he's really been successful. I can live with that. But Please, please, no Rondo. Not another headcase, star-struck-on-himself type of player. One is enough.

So there it is: a little give and take, a little of this and a little of that, and voila, Ranadive, you got yourself a team. Maybe? If your ego doesn't get in the way. And if Divac has any smarts. So far the jury is out on both subjects.

If this can't happen, the only alternative is to trade Cousins. Willy Cauley-Stein at the five? A gamble, but possible. He could turn into a Tyson Chandler type center, and Tyson helped to win a championship with the Mavs. What could you get in return for Cousins, who appears to be, in my mind, a perennial headache, and not worth the amount of aspirins needed to put up with him? Kings, you'll never know 'till you test the waters. This blogger is hoping that you're doing it as I type this blog. I am aware of Cousin's talent, but I've never been a fan of his as an all around player and team mate. There's just too much "I" in his personality.

Now that the NBA is over, baseball season has arrived.  Here's a wonderful little poem about the National ex-pasttime.

The Extra-Inning Ballgame   by Halvard Johnson

Wanting things to go on forever,
yet craving the apocalypse.
Reading the last few pages at one word a minute.
Wanting to teeter forever at the brink of the abyss,
and loving every minute of it.

The solid single lased over second.
A shortstop's arm, just long enough to catch it. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

2015 Draft

I'm afraid that if the Kings draft Immanuel Mudiay, a 6'5" PG, they'll be drafting another Tyreke Evans, an athletic attack guy who can score but can't shoot.

If the Warriors have demonstrated anything other teams need to pay attention to, it's that all players must be able to consistently put the ball in the hole from distance. Still, the Kings can't go salivating after another so-called downtown 3 point-spread-the-floor-shooter again. They've already drafted Ben  Maclemore and Nick Staukus.

So, why the interest in Mudiay?  What the Kings need is paint protection. Jason Thompson will never get better offensively. Sorry, Jason. And as far as defense and boards, he's the kind of player I call "pretend tough." Willie Cauley-Stein will provide length and toughness in the paint. And, it's not inconceivable that Coach Karl could play Stein in the more traditional center position and let DeMarcus Cousin's play power forward.  Stein can run, which DeMarcus could stand to do a little more of. And why not Mario Hezonga, a 6'8' wing who can shoot and is a superb athlete?

IF I were picking for the Kings, I certainly wouldn't overlook Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky. Pundits have him somewhere around the 11/12th pick. Big K could turn out to be one heck of a power forward. He's got skill moves to the basket, has a solid middle distance shot, and can shoot threes. Haven't scouts noticed?

Some say the Warriors will pick Chris McCullough from Syracuse. A finesse guy, but can't they use a banger on the boards? They're losing David Lee, and Tristan Thompson isn't planning on retiring as far as I know. 

I wouldn't be surprised if the Timberwolves go for Okafor instead of Towns. Okafor is probably the most NBA ready to contribute from day one of players in this draft. But they will still probably take Towns, who's got greater scoring potential, leaving Okafor for LA. The Timberwolves ought to be able to get a decent player for Nicola Pekovic, maybe have to eat some of the big man's huge contract to do it.

Rumors also suggest that the Knicks will select 7'.0 "sweet shooting" Kristaps Porzingis. Along with Andrea Bargnani, that will leave them with two "sweet shooting" European shooters. I hope Porzingis can defend and board better than Bargnani, who couldn't guard my grandmother, and she's been dead for a long time.

D'Angelo Russell better be able to live up to his swagger. "The best player in this draft," he calls himself. He may be going to the Philly 76ers, a bone yard for point guards.

I was watching the NBA combine and loved what I saw of Pat Connaugton of Notre Dame., a 6'5" shooting guard with great athletic skills. I like "chip on the shoulder type of guys" in late rounds, and he's definitely out to prove he can play in the NBA.

I believe any team that selects Sam Dekker will be getting a winner. Some Blogs say Miami. Good for the Heat. I'm thinking another Shane Battier.

What's the deal when a kid is down graded because he stayed in school and graduated? For example: "Rakeem Christmas would likely be a lot higher on the board if he wasn't 23 years old." Oh, say it isn't so? That old? Can it be possible the NBA is under the misguided impression that you have to be a one and doner to have the capacity to improve? At 23, is Christma really set in his ways? Give me a break.

Unlike last year, this is going to be a strong draft. Many of its choices will become the future stars of the NBA.

Thinking of a poem for this blog, I thought of the Women's soccer team defeating the team from Columbia, but couldn't find a good soccer poem. I will at some point. But it's also baseball season, so here's a poem about a girl playing baseball.

Pasttime   by Emilo De Grazia

A girl, nine years of wonder
Still on her face,
Stands directly on the bag at third
Running amazed fingers along the wrinkles
Of my old leather mitt.
It is the bottom of the ninth,
And everywhere in the world
The bases are loaded.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Victory Parade and NBA Draft

I rode in the Golden State Warrriors Victory parade on Friday in a BMW convertible. Right behind me were the Warriors owners. Joe Lacob and Peter Guber. As we waited for the parade to start I was able to talk to Joe Lacob.This is what I told him: "Joe, when I first started teaching high school after I retired as a basketball player and coach and other negligible professions, our high school had great kids and superb teachers. But the school never achieved the ultimate high performing status until we got a superior principal. There are times when the trickle-down-effect actually works. Joe, you and Peter represent that superior principal. The entire culture of the Warriors changed the day you men bought the team."
The honors for the funniest speech at the ceremony went to Coach Steve Kerr who, tongue in cheek, took credit for everything that his players accomplished, teaching Curry to shoot, and Klay how to play defense, and Draymond to rebound and on and on, the crowd and his players loving it. Having Curry as head coach bodes well for the Warriors for a long time. Kudos also to Ron Adams and Alvin Gentry, two brilliant assistant coaches. Congrats to Gentry for getting the Pelicans' job. I only wish we weren't losing him.Honor for the best dancer goes to Justin Holiday.Most emotional honors to to Draymond Green.

I'll be sorry to see David Lee go, which is what all the indication seem to be. He was the first acquisition in the transformation process of the Warriors. I suspect wherever he goes, he'll always think of himself as a Warrior. But maybe not. This had to have been a terribly hard year for him, ring or no ring. Let's hope he ends his career on a high note.

As strange as it sounds, I sort of felt as if I won an NBA Championship along with these young Dubs. This entire season has made all of us old Warriors proud, for their spirit, for their tenacity, skill, and toughness. 

I'm starting a chapbook of short/short sports poems. Haiku-like but not really. Here's one for Curry.

STEPH     by Tom Meschery

The deep three
     Taught by the father
     Finding its own nest.