meta name=”robots” content=”index, follow” Meschery's Musings of Sports, Literature, and Life Meschery's Musings on Sports, Literature and Life

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.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Boogie Warrior

Shall we say that between Draymond and Boogie, the pair might set a technical fouls record to go along with the Warriors third NBA Championship in a row.

My first reaction to hearing DeMarcus Cousins had signed a 1 yr contract with the Warriors was an extended moan, that turned into a question mark, and finally into a Holy -hit. The last expletive had to do with the kind of unique talent Boogie will bring to my team. The Warriors have not had a real post since the days of Nate "The Great" Thurmond. And a post who can go out onto the perimeter and shoot threes. Mama Mia!!!!

There has never been any question that the Boogie is an Awesome physical and skilled talent. For me, it has always been about attitude on the court and in the locker room. In past blogs I've accused him of being a dark cloud downer, a whiner, a locker room lawyer, and a candidate for anger management intervention. My wife, who hates cry babies, was not nearly as nice as her husband.

That said, so I can't be accused of hypocrisy, Cuz is now a Warrior and that means I have to cut him some slake. Such slake cutting has to do with the possibility that Boogie has been changing for the better since he left the dysfunctional Kings. Remember, I said, possibility. Boogie watchers, like my wife's grandson, John-Clark, who knows his basketball, has never wavered in his support of Boogie. He points out Boogies total career stats, and his performance last year with the Pelicans, before he suffered and Achilles tendon injury. John-Clark is right. There's is not a better pure center in the league than Cuz. This may change with DeAndre Ayton, but that's for another Blog.

Keeping John-Clark's loyalty in mind, I will consider (only consider, mind you) that there could have been a shift in Cuz's court attitude that started during the 2014 Olympic Games in Brazil. The theory might go like this: Cuz played his butt off for America's Olympic Team. No denying that. His effort won him the respect and friendship of his super star peers (Draymond Green being one of those players). These guys embraced the Cuz when he was, for the most part, being viewed around the league as a knucklehead. There is a lot to say for friendship and support. It might have been the motivation to consider changing his attitude and behavior. 

I'm just saying. It could have happened this way. And, it could be something the Warriors took into account when deciding whether or not to take DeMarcus Cousins into the fold. . .

And into the waiting arms of Draymond Green if the Boogie doesn't boogie straight.

Going into this season I will remember the free basketball clinics you have provided in Sacramento and the funeral for Stephon Clark you paid for. So, welcome Boogie Cousins to my Warriors. I wish for your Achilles injury to heal, for you to regain all your skills and physical prowess. You can be part of a great tradition, even if it will probably be only for one season.

Go Warriors!

This is a poem about climbing in Scotland. Not exactly a rope-up Mount Everest type of poem, but athleticism non-tthe-less. And a good old fashioned well-rhymed poem is always pleasant to read.

Climbing in Glencoe   by Andrew Young

The sun became a small round moon
And the scared rocks grew pale and weak
As mist surged up the col, and soon
So thickly everywhere it tossed
That though I reached the peak
With height and depth both lost
It might as well have been a plain;
Yet when, groping my way again,
On to the scree I stept
It went with me, and as I swept
Down its loose rumbling course
Balanced I rode it like a circus horse. 



Wednesday, June 20, 2018

2018 NBA Draft and Etc

Let's begin with ETC first: When Jesus Christ said, "Suffer the little children. . . " he had no idea how many little children would suffer in the years following his ministry. History is witness to such monstrous suffering: Add to that list of monstrous acts against our little ones, the policy of donald trump that separates immigrant Hispanic children (four year-olds even) from their mothers and fathers. The people of the United States have lost the moral high ground. Yes, not only the White House and the Republican Party, but all of us. Every single person in America should be on the streets protesting what is going on at our southern border. Until we do and stop trump's immoral behavior, we have no right to criticize the German people for electing Adolf Hitler and the subsequent passive acceptance of his diabolic policies by the citizens of Germany.

I was a seven year old immigrant, son of Russian immigrants, who was accepted by this wonderful country of ours after the Second World War. The ship carrying my mother, sister and I docked in San Francisco in 1947. With other immigrants, we walked down the gangplank and were met by U.S. immigration officials. They did not take my sister and me away from our mother. Instead, they hugged us and gave us candy.

Americans, we all better stand up and be counted. These are children being harmed. Children, the little ones, the innocent, the least able to defend themselves, the future, whatever color that future might bring.

Now for the DRAFT. Funny how the importance of it pales by comparison with what's happening to those poor children.

ANYWAY:

Suns: Ayton is going #1 and will be a another, less prone to injury than Embid, Embid. How's that for a little rhetorical  flourish?

Sacramento has the second choice. I pray only that the  Kings don't take Michael Porter Jr., whose back injury makes such a high choice too great a risk. I worry about Marvin Bagley III, a sure winner, except that his grandfather is Joe Caldwell, one of the great knuckle-head NBA players of the sixties, who made my life miserable when he played for me with the Carolina Cougars of the ABA during the 1971/72 season. Does the acorn fall far from the grandfather tree? To me, Luca Doncic is a solid choice, a veteran of the Euro-League, and this season's Euro All Star. He's been challenged by grown men and in return challenged them. There is no reason he can't play and defend the 1, 2, and 3. He's gritty and confident and skillful.Remember, the Kings already have a 4 in Harry Giles III, who should be recovered from knee injuries and ready to show his stuff that made him the top high school player of the year two years ago.

Spurs: My prediction based on Pop's decision not to trade Kawhi Leonard to any Western Conference team is that Leonard goes to the Celtics. The Celts have draft choices for a rebuild, and Jalen Brown, and a second young player to create a deal that would work for the Spurs. Come to think of it, given the Spurs roster, this trade might actually work in their favor. There are already rumors about this trade on the internet.

Whatever team winds up with Mohammed Bamba is getting the next Dekimbe Motombo.

Jaren Jackson Jr, 18 yrs old, youngest big of the bigs, is going to become an NBA All Star dual position 5 and 4.

Trae Young will not  pan out. Donte Divincenzo is going to have a solid NBA career. Perhaps more than solid.

Kevin Huerter is a light's out 3 point shooter, and one of my surprise picks.

Warriors: I'm betting on Bob Meyers nose for sleepers.  Something like a great sommelier can pick the finest wines. 

The following is an appropriate poem about an immigrant to honor immigrants in today's sinful environment.

How I Became An American   by Tom Meschery

A few home-run kicks at kickball,
in fourth grade, and I knew that's what
I needed to do to become an American:
kick farther, run faster, jump higher.
Then, it didn't matter if I spoke with
a Russian accent and my mother wore
a babushka and my father could barely
speak English. I was no longer
an immigrant, I was an Athlete.
I'd circle the bases and be embraced
by my teammates as a citizen
of a country of many sports, although
I was years away from raising my hand
and repeating the oath of allegiance
that would bind me in ways 
to the United States of America
that I would never fully understand.





Monday, June 11, 2018

The Simple Answer for Why the Dubs are a Superior Basketball Team and Etc

Sometimes the best answer to a difficult problem is the easiest one. This morning I read Kevin Durant say this about his personal approach to basketball: "All I've ever wanted was to be one of the guys." Sub gals for guys to cover the gender issue, and voila, here's what team sports is all about - being a part of the whole. "Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main,' so wrote British poet John Donne (1572-1631) in Meditation XVII. Durant may not have read John Donne's meditation that states, "No man is an island," but his simple declaration demonstrates he has Donne's sensibility and understanding of what it take to be human. I hasten to add, an understanding that our current President does not.

Being one of the guys is also the simplest reason why the Warriors have won 3 out of the last 4 NBA titles. It's an emotional glue that binds the Warriors players, coaches, administrators and owners together.

On a more realistic level, it's why Warrior ownership should keep the Core of the Warriors together for a few more years, subtracting bench weaknesses and adding bench talent, keeping in mind that whomever they add to the team, such a player wants to be and appreciates "being part of the guys."

Etc:

I was reminded in this mornings sports page that the World Cup in Russia will feature the competition between Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo chasing their first ever World Championships, a height both superstars have never reached. While we in the United States will be watching boring old baseball, the rest of the world will have their eyes trained on Russia and the two arguably greatest soccer players of all time.

Justify should be voted 2018 Athlete of the Year.

trump vs the rocket man: two losers facing off against each other. The media must feel just slightly ridiculous calling this  a summit, to equate trump to Regan or Kennedy. Give me a break. I was never a Regan fan, but he had a modicum of gravitas. This so called summit is like Mike Tyson facing off against Dennis Rodman.

Speaking of trump's recent tirade against Canada's Prime Minister, Canadian Foreign Minister, Chrystia Freeland said her country "does not conduct its diplomacy through ad hominem attacks." May I humbly suggest to the foreign minister that in the future she use simpler language. There isn't one person in the trump administration who has the slightest idea what "ad hominem" means.

Rafael Nadal wins the French Open, another victory in a series of victories on clay. Here's a fine tennis poem from a fabulous magazine, Sport Literate:

Tennis Lesson   by David Radavich. 

The ball bounces
again and again

like a self
against its cage

tryng desperately
to get out

seeking a point
any point

but only 
now and then

over the line
out of bounds

in love

and no longer 
in love

two exchanging
their hardest

and then 
one losing.





Saturday, June 9, 2018

3 out of 4 NBA Champs



Had a hard time sleeping last night as the Warrior win played itself out through my mind until the sun rose. I woke up exhausted from my effort, grabbing those rebounds, settting screens, blocking off the boards. I told my wife, I'd led my team to the championship once again. "Where's your ring?"she asked.  "Maybe they forgot," I said.

CONGRATULATIONS DUBS.

I have a feeling I will be congratulating them for many more years.

Given the ages of the Dubs players and their dedication to physical fitness, the Warriors have at least four years of championship caliber play. I don't think anyone should be surprised if the Dubs come up up Champs again the next couple of years. That would be fine with me as I have a bunch more grandchildren I can take with me and my wife to ride with us in the parade.

Ah, the Parade. In Coach Steve Kerr's words, what joy!

The NBA grind played with JOY, what a concept!

After the game Charles Barkley and Grant Hill criticized Lebron James for his underwhelming performance. I thought they were too harsh on the King. I simply believe James was operating on fumes, nothing left in the tank. Sure, the Cavs feed off his performance, but beside Kevin Love, not a single player on the Cavs stepped up. Barkley was right, however, that Michael Jordan remains the best NBA player pound for pound. And it's possible (anyone who agrees, raise their hands) the second best is Kevin Durant.

On that note, I end today's blog with a poem I wrote for KD entitled


KD

Our seats are on the courtside floor
under the basket. Before the game,
I’m watching KD, working on his shots
with a coach. His long, lean body
moves through drills with measured
speed and grace. I’m wondering
where have I seen such grace before.
It is unusually fluid almost like liquid
as if he were proving the truth
of the words Keats had inscribed
on his tombstone: Here lies one
whose name was writ in water.
If I watch KD with my eyes closed,
will I see waves? For a moment
I smell the fresh air of oceans,
but think myself foolish,
conjuring images of childhood delights,
sitting on a beach while all around me
the wild courtside din of spectators
roar through the arena with approval
of KD’s moves. I sit with wife
and grandson watching and admiring,
not unlike the way I imagine waves
on the beach, one shot following
another and another, rising and falling
into the wide net of imagination. 




Friday, June 8, 2018

Warriros Three Zip and Etc

The first half of game three almost drove me to suicide. Time after time, the Warriors allowed the Cav bigs to get position and grab offensive rebounds. I fretted and cursed. I closed my eyes. I prayed. I opened my eyes, but nothing changed. Until the second half, when the Dubs came to their senses and began rebounding with conviction and toughness. "Hallelujah," I cried, scaring my dear wife, who was sitting next to me, fingering her worry-beads. From the beginning of the third quarter on, even though Curry and Thompson were having a dismal shooting night, I was no longer concerned. There was Kevin Durant, KD emblazoned on his chest like a Marvel Super Hero, taking up the slack. It was huge. But there were also Livingston, McGee, Bell, and Igudala. They too were heroes. I could almost hear them telling Curry and Thompson to relax; they had their backs.

What makes the Warriors the Dubs and so enjoyable to watch, is that they are a TEAM. "Team" came to the rescue and the Warriors defeated the Cavs, who have a couple of brilliant players in Lebron and Love but do not have a TEAM.

So, tonight, the Warriors must face Lebron and Love in game four. As they prepare mentally for night's game, I want to remind them, of something I learned from one of America's great coaches, Dean Smith of the University of North Carolina. Coach Smith set a value on one offensive rebound and put- back at 6 points, not two points (back then, there was no 3 point shot, so as you read forward, adjust your point totals accordingly.) Coach Smith's reasoning was the following. 1) The offensive rebounder saved a miss and turned it into a score = 2 pts, add 1 point for the possibility that the offensive rebounder was fouled on the put-back and made his one freethrow. = 3 pts. (everybody following the logic so far?). 2) The rebound and put back kept the opposing team from scoring if they had captured the defensive rebound, as is usually the case on missed shots =  2 pts, add 1 point if the shooter had been fouled in the act of shooting and made his freethrow = 3 pts. 3 + 3 = 6.

Smith set a point value on a lot of other areas of the game, such as steals, held balls, diving for loose balls, etc that are sometimes overlooked by fans, players and even some coaches.

So, Dubs, the boards are crucial on both ends of the court. No more offensive rebounds for the Cavs. And how about a few O boards for the home team?

Etc:

It stretches the boundaries of credulity that Bryan Colangelo had no idea that his wife was using burner apps to criticize 76er players, management and other of his NBA colleagues. There are no secrets in today's high tech world. One goes on the Internet at one's own peril, and one better be able to live with and embrace one's words and actions.

Here's a fabulously funny baseball poem I read in a fabulously interesting collection of sports poems entitled "This Loss Behind Us," published by Pint-size Publications.

Avion Blues   by Paul Hostovsky

We, the Blue Jays, are playing the Buzzards,
having already lost to the Orioles, cardinal,s
Eagles, Hawks, Robins, and even
the Sparrows. Bobby Browe is on the mound,
that predacious lefty sidearm pitcher with
strabismus and a penchant for wild pitches -
an evil eye, an evil windup, the devil's
delivery. I step flutteringly up to the plate -
chicken shit, caviling dove, hummingbird
hovering in the batter's box, tremulous, tiny.
My beaked cap. My pigeon toes.The rictus
 of his grin. The trajectory of his spit. And then:
the windup.The pitch. The blind swing - more like

a swat. Two finches chasing a crow over the treetops.