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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.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Boogie Trade Dissers Missing the Point

DeMarcus Cousins for Buddy Held plus a first round and second round draft pick? Doesn't look like value for value, does it? Rookie Buddy Held, a good shooting guard with the potential to be a great shooting guard vs the best low post center in the league, a two year All-Star, and an Olympic medal winner. So far this morning I've not read one sports blogger who isn't dissing this trade.

Not this blogger. I welcome the trade as the first step toward sanity and a chance (although a daunting one) to actually start building a cohesive and competitive team.

In New Orleans, Cousins may grow into an adult and that, of course, would be awesome for the Pelicans. However, I would not put money on it. In Sacramento, Cousins had zero chance of growing up. Ownership and management had already treated him with such kid gloves, his ego and emotional instability was out of control.

So, seeing this as a great trade for the Pelicans is missing the point vis-a-vis the Kings. Cousins, in his present state of being, was poisoning the court and the locker-room with his childish antics, his referee baiting, his dominating ego, and his gloomy disposition.

Granted, without The Boogie (a nickname he never lived up to with his lumbering up and down the court), there is not a whole hell of a lot of talent left on the Kings. I have high hopes for Willy Cauly Stein and reasonable expectation for Malachi Richardson's development into a solid NBA player.  Add Held at the two, and Collison at the one. After that, it's all up for grabs and will depend on the two first round draft picks, the talent of Bogdan Bogdonovic, if he is indeed a premier NBA caliber player. Rudy Gay might bring them another low first round or high second round draft choice. The big Greek rookie is a crap shoot, but he's more athletic than I thought in the past and he is 7'2" Labisierre, at this point looks awfully soft. As for the other vets on the Kings, they're up for grabs: to keep or not to keep for bench strength.

Let's not forget that without having to pay Cousins, the Kings have some bucks to go after free agents.

Let's not forget that as this team rebuilds, it does so with the best coach it has had since the team foolishly let Rick Adelman go.

So, let's see how things shake out before deciding if this trade was a loser for the Kings. Losing Cousins might be the start of the Kings wining.

I'm thinking that watching street lights going is more exciting than watching the NBA All Star Game. So, I've come up with a few suggestion for the future that will make the All-Star Game more exciting and more interesting: 1) Create a 4 point shooting line. 2) Create two 4x4, 5 point shooting blocks positioned where the half-court line meets the sideline. 3) Allow players to shoot free-throws from the top of the key for double points. 

Snow is falling on the Sierra. The ponds are frozen. Here's a fine winter poem.

The Skaters   by John Williams

Graceful and sure with youth, the skaters glide
Upon the frozen pond. Unending rings
Expand upon the ice, contract, divide,
Till motion seems the shape that movement brings,

And shape is constant in the moving blade.
Ignorant of the beauty they invent,
Confirmed in their hard strength, the youths evade
Their frail suspension in an element,

This frozen pond that glisters in the cold.
Through all the warming air they turn and spin,
And do not feel that they grow old
Above the fragile ice they scrape and thin.

Monday, February 13, 2017

This and Taht in Sports Monday 2/13/2017

After getting dinged with his 17th technical foul, DeMarcus Cousins stated, "It's obvious I can't be myself. Me playing how I play is what makes me the player that I am Obviously it's not acceptable, so I'm trying to find a way to, you know, do what these guys are asking me to do. . . "

So, how would the officials like for you to play, DeMarcus? How about not questioning them on every call. How about not waving your arms in disgust and embarrassing them. How about not smacking an opponent in the face (okay, last night's face slap was inadvertent, but the refs called it anyway).

Bottom line: how about not leading the league in technical fouls very year.
This is NOT about the officials. It is about you and your inability to control your emotions. You have an anger management problem. You will always have one, if you don't do something mature about it now when you're young. Otherwise, that anger will surface in other areas of your life. Ask any psychologist.

Finally, Grow Up.

Talk about anger management, I read that the N.Y. Knicks pulled off a PR coup. After the bad press of the Oakley/Dolan feud, the team allowed Latrelle Sprewell back into MSG from which he'd been banned for bad-mouthing the owner back in 2003. Sat right next to Dolan, smiling and waving to fans. This is the same one-time Warrior Sprewell who choked his Warrior coach. Got the "red-carpet" treatment. Kudos to the PR guys who thought that baby up.

At least Cousins hasn't choked a referee, But I'd worry if I were them.

One of the greatest moments in basketball history will be played out tonight when the Connecticut Lady Huskies go for their one hundredth straight victory. Did you get that sportswriters, ONE HUNDRED WINS WITHOUT A LOSS. Such scant attention is being paid to this seemingly impossible feat that one would believe 100 straight wins happens every day. This is HUGE. This is like Wilt's 100 point game. Can it possibly be that the Lady Huskies are getting the public relations snub because they are women? Could that be true in 2017? Yeah, I guess, since we elected a President who felt it was okay to grope women.

I can hear all the conservatives moaning, come on, Meschery, you can't blame Trump for everything. Oh, yes I can. When the President of our country treats women the way he has, ("I grope women because I can get away with it because I'm a star," B.S) you bet I can. A pronouncement of this kind has fall-out. And one of the fall-outs is it validates and perpetuates misogyny. 

As a country and as sports fans, we better get our butts in gear. Women's sports need to be covered better. Why not begin with this historic moment in sport's history. How about the front page of the sport's section tomorrow, win or lose, a full column?

Talk about Spring Training. Baseball season's approaching. Here's a baseball poem for all you diminishing baseball fans.

Baseball    by Linda Pastan

When you tried to tell me
baseball was a metaphor

for life: the long, dusty travail
around the bases, for instance,

to try to go home again;
the Sacrifice for which you win

approval but not applause;
the way the light closed down

in the last days of the season - 
I didn't believe you.

It's just a way of passing
the time, I said.

And you said; that's it.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Loyalty in Sports? Really?

Where do sports fans get the idea about loyalty? There has never been, let me repeat, never been loyalty in sports. Not between owners and players, owners and their host cities, players and their owners, players and their teammates, and players and the cities they play for.

Owners have always moved their teams for the sake of the bottom line. (the facts are there on the Internet) Players, once they got their legal rights, jumped from one team to another at the siren call of more bucks. Back in 1972 when I was coaching the Carolina Cougars in the ABA, the Seattle Sonics signed away my star center, Jim McDaniels in mid season. The Sonics felt no disloyalty stealing from me, one of their ex-players who'd broken his butt for them, and McDaniels felt no remorse leaving behind his teammates, trying to make a playoff run. Personal example. There are hundreds more.

So here we are, 2016, watching OKC fans go ballistic over  Kenin Durant leaving a team he played his heart out for, for eight seasons, and I mean his heart out for. I've witnessed very few players that played with such passion, intelligence, and grit as KD. during his tenure with the Thunder. One might ask Thunder fans, quoting Shakespeare, "Have you no eyes to see?" KD. is a big-time-pro! And those soft ice cream signs, where did they come from? Those were made by OKC management and approved by management and ownership. Can there be any doubt of that? KD made the owner, a lot of money. How did he express his loyalty? Like a bush-leaguer.

Speaking of loyalty (and ethical behavior) I wonder if the owner of the Thunder felt any remorse, moving the Sonics from Seattle (which he said he'd never do when he bought the team) to Oklahoma City, his home town? No way.

All that should matter to fans and ownership is what an athlete does for his city, his team, and his ownership on the court in whatever time span it happens. Based on what he did for the Thunder, the fans, administration, and ownership should have given KD a standing ovation.

So, KD, welcome to the Bay Area where fans have class. You play your heart out for the Warriors, and I guarantee the fans will give you a standing ovation no matter how long you play for us, one year or ten years.

On another subject:

Let's hear it for Steph Curry who sees Donald Trump for what he is an, Ass, not an asset. It is time for liberals to stop being so nice. We need to be on the Conservatives like Draymond Green is on his opponents.

Another poem honoring a black athlete in Black History Month.

On Hurricane Jackson   by Alan Dugan

Now his nose's bridge is broken, one eye
will not focus and the other is astray;
trainers whisper in his mouth while one ear
listens to itself, clenched like a fist;
generally shadow-boxing in a smoky room,
his mind hides like the aching boys
who lost a contest in the Pan-Hellenic games
and had to take the back roads home
but someone else, his perfect youth,
laureled in newsprint and dollar bill,
triumphs forever on the great white way
to the statistical Sparta of the Champs. 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Good News for the Kings

Last night's Kings' victory over the Celtics got me thinking. There's way to build a team out of the roster they have now. The key is to look at the solution in reverse, i.e.: start with your reserve players and work up to your starters. At the moment and for most of the season, as I've expressed before, except for Cousins, and Rudy Gay, all the other players on the team would be reserves on any other team in the NBA. That makes the King's reserve team arguably as good as or better than any reserves in the NBA if they were asked to play only against reserves.

But last night I saw one of these reserves: Willy Cauley Stein demonstrate his potential to be an effective starting center in the NBA: a shot blocker, and rim protector, a runner, dunker (a la DeAndre Jordan), and a scorer (if he develops that 16 foot jump shot). If I'm right, then the Kings can trade their only sure-fire tradeable assets: DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay. They probably won't get a lot for Gay now that he has to come back from a torn Achilles tendon injury. (Perhaps a low first round draft pick or a high second) But they should be able to get at least two strong players at any of the starting positions, (one should be a bone-fide point guard) for Cousins. Free agency and a willing pocketbook should account for the other starters. Get your pen out Ranadive.

There'd have to be some trimming of reserves, of course, but I don't see that as a problem. Ben Maclemore, for example, needs to be on another team if he has any chance of living up to his potential.  And a couple of last year's draft choice need the D League or Euro-League for a couple of years.

Let's be clear, a strong bench is essential to a winning team. The Warriors have proved that. Their guys off the bench are held  in high esteem by coaches and starters, who are demonstrably delighted with their successes on the court. Seeing most of the Kings'present team as reserves is not a put- down, but a put-up.

As of now, the Kings have got that half (the reserves half ) of the team right. It's time to get to work bringing starters to Sacramento.

In other news  How about some love for Steph Curry in this morning's paper, calling The Trump an ass, a synonym for rump.

As it's Black History Month:

To Satch (or American Gothic)  by Samuel Allen

Sometimes I feel like I will never stop
Just go on forever
Till one fine mornin
I'm gonna reach up and grab me a handfulla stars
Swing out my long lean leg
And whip three hot strikes burnin down the heavens
And look over at God and say
How about that!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Somwthing to Think About Warrior Fans

Courtesy of my good friend and Oxford scholar, Dell Martin verbatim from an email this mornings. Defiantly something for you Warrior fans out there to consider and ponder.

"Last season everyone was on about the W's possibly winning 70, but this year  no one seems hardly to notice that they might be the third team ever to get there (the second team, if you count last year). I actually did the math."

The [Warriors] are presently at .860 for the first 50 games. . . 43/7. If they finish the season at .860, they would win 70.5 games. If you look at the last 30 games, they are 26/4. . . that is .86666. If they finish at that pace,they will be at 71 wins for the season. I just don't get it why everyone is sort of yawning about it. . . and then last night they beat the Clippers without Livingston, ZaZa and Green. Well, they could take a bad stumble any time, but that was true last season too."

I am submitting Dell's name to the league to be considered for an Analytics Award. The math looks pretty good to me, but I flunked multiplication tables.

Have to congratulate Coach Tara Vanderveer on her 1,000th victory. Forget gender, she IS Stanford University Basketball.

Note: In last night's last second loss to the Suns, How the hell did the best shooter, arguably the best player on the Suns, Devin Booker, get the ball isolated one on one with 8 ticks left????? You gotta be kidding me.

Finally, lot's of love to Anderson Varejao, released by the Warriors, but much appreciated by the team. The Brazilian power forward had a solid and admirable 14 year career in the NBA, 12 with the Cleveland Cavs who should retire his number. Per 36 mpg with the Cavs he double/doubled. A true pro. God Speed. 

It's mid-winter and the sport of Curling is coming to us live, huge from Duluth, Minnesota. Watched it last night, and felt compelled to post my Curling poem, although I posted a couple of years ago in winter. What the heck, in any poem I feature my wife, I like.

Curling   by Tom Meschery

Let's hear it for Curling, a sport in which
two brooms, like blockers in the NFL
(I'm thinking Packers, Greenbay in the snow)
lead the running back, a guy named Stone
(not exceptionally fast, but relentless)
down the icy field; masked fans in parkas,
sipping from flasks. They're watching curling
on local ice, while I'm enjoying building
this extended metaphor, thinking that Milton,
had he a sense of humor, which there's no
evidence he possessed, might have appreciated.

My wife also enjoys curling. "What's not to like
about a sport played with brooms?" she asks.
"The ice needs cleaning, and the players
are only doing what any good wife would do."
She's talking to me wile dusting,
which comes before vacuuming, a rule
in her sport that must never be broken.