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.

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.








Sunday, June 3, 2018

Speculation and etc

As we approach the second game of the NBA Finals, there is a bunch of speculation going on, the principal one being how will the Cavs be able to recover from their mistake riddled last second fourth quarter performance that allowed the game to go into overtime and eventual defeat by the Dubs.

Speculation is the job of the media and Monday morning quarterbacks (or in the case of basketball, Monday Morning Point Guards). The job of the participants, coaches and players, is to stick to reality, which is a zen like attention to the real and present. The real and present danger for the Warriors is a determined Lebron James, a focused Kevin Love, a dead-eye catch-and-shoot expert in Kyle Korver, and a streaky, but lethal JR Smith. (Make no mistake about it, Smith is capable of knocking down three or four deep 3's in a row, just as he is instinctively capable of making 3 miscues in a row.) The real and present danger for the Warriors is not to repeat their WEENIE effort on the boards, that led to them being soundly out-rebounded.  It's not rocket science. You block off and go get the ball. It's all one motion, one act of pure hardnosed determination.

Can't wait for the start of the game.

If you're an NBA die-hard fan, if you missed a recent NBA Gametime show featuring legendary GM's NBA administrators, Wayne Embry and Rod Thorn, Team exec/owner Jerry Colangelo, player agent Arn Tellem and Hall of Fame Detroit Piston Bad Boy point guard, Isiah Thomas, make sure you don't miss it when it is rebroadcast. Unvarnished NBA history. I loved it when Rod (my old team mate with the Sonics and poker player extraordinaire) explained how we used to travel in the good old days: bus, train, and in coach on airplanes. My knees still ache. Can you imagine how the 7 footers suffered? Lot's of subjects covered: race relations, naming the Chicago team, the Bulls, early player unionization, etc. Lots of etc and minutiae.  Wayne, my man, you're looking good for an 80 year old. Jerry, you've come a long way from hustling beers for Johnny Kerr.

Recently I was sent a chapbook of sports poetry entitled This Loss Behind Us: A Triple Play of Poetry by Jack Bedell, Paul Hostovsky and MK Punky. It's a must read. Here is a poem out of that collection about baseball. It is baseball season, isn't it?

The Guy in the Seat Next to You

The challenge for a poet at the ball game
is a triplicate predicament:
he must not swoon over the greenness of the grass.
He must not view every little lovely detail as a metaphor waiting to be transcribed for posterity.
He must not recite rambling stories with no discernible point
except to subtly imply it was all somehow better back when he was a boy
when baseball was a mystery, not a business.
Do not sit next to this man
gleefully noting the aural pastiche of cracks and whizzes and pops
a Partch percussion symphony
trimmed in wood and cowhide.
He will talk your ear off if you let him. 

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Back from European Vacation

Just in time to watch the upcoming Warriors vs Cavs first game of the 2018 NBA Championship. We found out about the Warriors comeback win in the final game 7 while boarding our Air France flight from Paris to SFO. My wife, Melanie, and I, wearing our Warrior T's and caps, were schlepping our carry-ons down the aisle when a guy already seated in front of us gave us a thumps up and told us of the win. It made our tedious 11 hour trip home tolerable.

I must reveal that while on our month long vacation that included Italy, Spain, France and Scotland, I suffered terrible Dubs withdrawal-anxiety. Even with all the"aps" available, it was not easy getting scores, let alone any commentary. Ron Adams, the Warriors esteemed defensive assistant coach cum guru did his best by providing me with local newspaper article updates. It was not the same as watching the games live. Was I bereft? No, when you're looking at the David at the Academia in Florence, or passing through the galleries of the Louvre in Paris basketball becomes a little underwhelming.

But I'm back, the arts behind me, excited, and ready to support my team onward and upward to the NBA finals. They will have to play at a high level. How about putting together four quarters similar to their now storied 3rd quarters. Essential, since Lebron will not be taken out of his game the way the Warriors took James Hardin out of his game. And the Dubs would be smart not to underestimate the new young players the Cavs have. But I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir as Coach Kerr has already warned his team. So, Go Dubs. I can't wait for the parade.

I do want to mention one thing as the first game draws near. The talking TV heads, including NBA Game Time talking heads who should know better, need to remind their audience that as great as the Dubs are and Lebron eight straight trips to the finals, these exploits pall by comparison to the playoff records set by the Boston Celtics: 13 straight finals appearances and 8 championships in a row. The Bill Russell teams were mighty and awesome and should never, and I repeat, never be relegated to some historical closet where old coats are kept because they were once fashionable but not modern enough to be worn. If I could stand time still for five years in which the Boston Celtic player (I'm thinking the '61/'62 team) were provided the physical training of today's players, there is not one team in modern history that would defeat them in a 7 game series. Not one. Unprovable as it is, I stand by my belief. Try to imagine Bill Russell buffed up, John Havelick after five years of modern physical fitness training. Satch Sanders with weight training would shut down most players on today's teams he guarded. Maybe not Jordan, but maybe he could. He was that good. Ah, I wax nostalgic. Perhaps age is finally catching up to me.

So I end with gratitude that while we were away from our country, truump didn't savage our dear land any more than he already has. I was hoping to return in time for his indictment. But as a friend of mine once said, "Hope springs external."