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 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
Sparrow
     Finding its own nest. 



Thursday, June 18, 2015

NBA CHAMPS

Although it was not the deciding factor, I'm convinced my wife donning her Warriors 46 gold and white v-neck Basketball shirt contributed to the Warriors winning the NBA Championship.

The shirt has history. Throughout the season, whenever Melanie put it on, the Warriors won. So, you see, there's precedent. To give you a better idea of  the shirt's magical powers, we experimented. Sometimes Mel would start watching a game wearing another Warrior T-shirt, a Curry one, for example, or one with my old number on it. Inevitably the Warriors would not play well. But as soon as she changed into her Warriors 46 shirt, the turn around began. The only time the shirt didn't work was at the second game at Oracle. She forgot to put the magic shirt on, and by the time she remembered the Warriors could only mount a comeback.

I'm thinking that my wife's shirt should be hung along side the Championship banner in Oracle Arena.

What a season. I started out not liking the name "Dubs", but I've changed my mind. I think the name does indeed fit. It's very 21st century, and sounds young and enthusiastic and exciting, which is what this group has been from the very beginning.

Listening to Steve Kerr after the game while he was being interviewed, I thought he was being too gentlemanly. Nice to give credit to your opponents, but come on.The Cavs, and the rest of the NBA teams that went down, WENT DOWN to a great Warrior team. HIS TEAM. I know Coach Kerr can't say that, that it would sound too egotistical, but his personality is written all over this group of young men. They would not have won with any other coach.

A big shout to the Warriors owners and management. Successful organization start at the top and their decisions and energy trickle down, all the way down to the ushers and ticket takers.

And finally, a big part of Warrior Nation were the fans, from all over the Bay Area or as it is sometimes pronounce, The Barea, Crazy and loyal and stubborn all these years of supporting with their money and their love.

Ode to the Golden State Warriors, Watching Their Quest for Victory   

One small change and the line reads: Good luck,
Timing, and the stars. This morning I'm still seeing
Curry's three float through the sky of the arena
Reminding me of a lesson in geometry:
An arc is a segment of the circumference
Of the circle - that from foot  (the flat plane of release)
Arcs in silent degrees over the moon into the hoop.

I am watching it with my arm in a sling
Having had my should replaced with titanium,
A smaller science, in my mind, than the one
Curry, and his teammate, Thompson,
Use to make mathematics fun.

As far as my titanium shoulder will allow,
I raise my arm to salute the Splash Brothers
And their teammates, three out of five,
Bogut, Barnes, and Green
And all the other players off the bench,
No small part of the equation called team.
And raise it up again through pain
To honor the others: players and coaches,
Gentry, Adams, and Kerr for his coaching
That were it not intense, looks much like Joy.

Something so old inside me called desire
Yearns to play again, to shake off years,
Travel through the television screen
And be six-six again, called undersized
Like Draymond Green snatching rebounds,
Playing beyond our skills because we will it,
Because we know that timing give us wings.

And wherever they are, the old Warriors,
Nate and Rick, Al and Jeff, I wonder, if like me,
They're watching these new Warriors, Dubs, seeing
How luck, timing, and the stars triangulate.
I'm loving it, sitting back and watching Victory
Happen with the flick of Curry's wrist.  

                             Tom Meschery









Monday, June 15, 2015

Warriors Win, Sixth Game on the Line.

It's essential in the giddy atmosphere of last night's victory over the Cavs in game 5, not to overlook the fact that the Dubs (god I hate that name. Reminds me of those gooey chocolate candies I used to eat in the movies that stuck in my teeth) have only played one full game well, the 3rd in Cleavland, which includes three and a half quarters of last night's game. The Dubs seem to be mesmerized by LeBron's slow down, plodding dribble up court, then are taken by surprise by his sudden bursts of speed. Until, that  is, they wear the King down and find their fourth quarter stride, their mojo of games past. 

There is no reason except James that the Warriors shouldn't have swept the series. I'm not joking. Look at the supporting cast James has. Tristan Thompson, a one dimensional player, albeit a damn good one, Mosgov, a solid center, but no Jabbar, not even a Dwight Howard. JR Smith is a streak player (D has to foul him hard on his first 3 point attempt, make him think; he's not a thinker.) and Shumpert is not a starter on any of the good NBA teams. I'll give it  to Delly for grit, but he does not yet have the skills of a starting point guard in this league like his fellow Gael, Patty Mills possesses.It will come, Delly with hard work.

So, it's a kind of three quarter swoon the "Dubs" go into against the Cavs, as if LeBron is hypnotizing them, "You're getting sleepy, you're forgetting to run, Close your eyes. Vote Republican." Sorry about the politics, but its kind of like that: voting against your best interests.

If the Warriors are going to win in Cleavland, they've got to control tempo from the start with energy, defensive toughness, and team rebounding. No second shots for Thompson, paleeze!

A last note. I noticed that in today's Golden State of the Mind Blog, the writer listed the Warriors and did not include Andrew Bogut. It might be a mistake if the coaching staff forgets about Bogut in this coming Cleavland game. I'm betting Cleavland's coaches are going to go back to Mosgov. They need his offense. Okay, I'm a big Ezili fan for the future, but if Bogut will compete hard, (not just commit hard fouls) he's a vet and knows a lot about the game. He's also a hell of a passer. I don't know why he's played so lousy in the Cavs series, but he could be some help, if only in short minutes against Mosgov on Tuesday night.

Here's part of a poem about track in honor of the Ducks winning both the men's and women's NCAA track Championship in Eugene, Oregon. The poet is William Meissner.

from Death of the Track Star

A magnet pulls at him again
from the finish line, the metal
of his legs is bending, churning.
He feels the choirs of wheezing,
a chestful of cinders.
This is a real running, he thinks, his heart
 beating hard in his heels.

No one can touch him, yet he touches
everyone; the crowd arches
as he breaks string after string
with his toughened throat. . .