Today's Sunday sporting green mentioned in an article entitled "A Year of Lost Heroes"... the passing of Franklin Mieuli. The writer says, "It's safe to say we won't see the likes of Franklin Mieuli again." If only this were not true. Wouldn't it be great if sports had hundreds of Franklins? Wouldn't it be fun? Characters instead of business men. Bottoms up instead of bottom line. Handshake deals instead of deals requiring legions of lawyers. Violin concertos and champagne instead of flying pizzas and rolled T-shirts shot from canons. Sherlock Holmes garb instead of Armani suits. I know, I know. I'm being sentimental and naive. There were lawyers back then and those handshake deals were not all they were cracked up to be. But wasn't it something when Franklin set out the first two rows of the Civic Center with tables, served champagne to his season ticket holders and serenaded them with string quartets? You don't remember those evenings? Ah, well. You'll have to settle for memories of flying pepperoni.
Franklin managed to keep professional basketball in the Bay Area, shoe-stringing it along until the game came of age and attendance skyrocketed. For his struggle and for bringing us an NBA Championship, why haven't the Golden State Warriors honored the man? Why isn't Franklin's name retired along with his players' high above the arena, inscribed between Chamberlain and Barry.
I've tried a number of times to write a poem about Franklin, but never quite pulled it off. But here is a poem I wrote about Eddie Gottlieb, owner of the Philadelphia Warriors who sold the team to Franklin and his group in 1962. Eddie was almost as colorful as Franklin and easily as much of a character. I figure Eddie, Franklin, and Wilt are together somewhere checking out today's NBA. I'd love to be privy to that conversation, but I think I'll hold off a while before joining them.
Eddie Gottlieb by Tom Meschery
The first words he said to me were
"You'll want to buy lots of things.
Whatever you do don't, I repeat,
don't buy anything retail. Buy
holesill, y'hear, holesill."
I heard all right. All the way
on the long drive to my first
training camp through the fall
countryside, leaves turning red
and gold. I listened to the man
behind the wheel, amazed
at what I didn't know
about the game, how little
it would cost me - and how much.
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.