In their fear of losing a valuable commodity, have NBA owners, general managers, coaches, and player- agents created a bunch of malingerers? I'm not talking about players with serious injuries. God knows the speed and strength in the NBA these days has increased so dramatically that serious injuries often can't be avoided, and coaches have to factor injuries into their game plans. However, I can't help noticing as I read my sport pages that there are lots of injuries that seem pretty darn vague. Here are some examples: Jamal Crawford, back spasms, ditto Andre Bargnani and Sonny Weems. Rodney Stucky, sore toe, ditto, George Hill. Brandan Wright, lower back pain. Jermaine O'Neil, ailing knees. Joey Graham, strained quad. Tracy McGrady, sore groin. Dan Gadzuric, strained groin. Josh McRobers, lower back strain. Jose Calderon, strained foot. Amir Johnson, sore back. Anthony Morrow, strained hamstring. Nenad Kristic, lower back strain. Jason Williams, sore foot. Peja Stojakovic, swollen knee. John Wall, bone bruise. Not to mention the numerous sprained ankles.
Now, I know sprained ankles can be serious. I've seen enough of them when I played. Back then, the question most players asked themselves was did the sprain need rest and rehab or could they tape it up and go out and play? Is this question relevant today? I guess I'm concerned with words such as "strain" "sore" "ailing" "spasm" "swollen" "bruise" These are suspicious words lacking any conviction or sense of urgency. And I hate to be suspicious because I'm afraid of sounding like one of those retired players who is always talking about how much tougher his generation of athletes was. Still, I've been reading about these mysterious injuries for some time. Last season I remember reading that Tyson Chandler missed a game against the
Boston Celtics because of a "stiff neck," and Travis Outlaw, then of the Blazers, missed a game against the Clippers because of a "bruised tail bone." A stiff neck, a sore quad, a bruise - for goodness sake! Don't coaches have enough of a problem having to figure out their line-ups and rotations without having to consider every booboo?. Sorry guys, your injuries don't sound that significant to me. You might want to consider the remedy my old high school coach prescribed for most of his players' injuries: "spit on it".
OK, I hear the groaning now. But here's a little aside: Scientists have now proven that saliva contains a healing agent called hestatin, which may or may not have any effect on stiff necks or sore hammies. But what the hell, it might help a sore toe. I present this possible curative with a slightly straight face.
The key to a successful team in the NBA these days, unfortunately, has as much to do with a team remaining injury free as it does with the team's game plan. And I'm not talking about injuries to star players. A team can be negatively impacted by missing reserves - a back-up center, for example. What happens during a game when a starting center fouls out, and the reserve center is out with a sore buttock? For lack of important back-ups at every position, a game can be lost.
In the army soldiers caught AWOL suffer severe consequences. It looks to me as if some NBA players are absent from games without leave.
This kind of malingering reminds me of children who make-up stomach aches so their parents will allow them to stay home from school. Mommy I don't feel well. Don't worry, darling, you stay in bed.
What can I say to malingering players except, Night, night, fellows. I hope you're well enough to play tomorrow.
Here's a poem about a bull rider, but it says everything about being a professional athlete. Last night I watched Brett Favre finally succumb to injury. Finally, but not without giving every ounce of his courage and spirit. And for what? A game he really didn't have to play, a game that meant nothing to the Vikings. I wonder how many bruises and sores muscles Favre sustained over his career, that he ignored, and spit on, so he could lead his teammates onto the field to play the game he loves?
The Bullrider's Advice by David Allen Evans
What I'm saying is
you can't take this thing light
and there's no saddle to sit in
you can do it one of two ways
as far as I'm concerned
if you want to do it
you can get on just for the ride
take hold of the rope like it was
any old rope and pray for a quick 8 seconds
and no spinning
or you can wrap your fist into his back
so deep he knows you plan to stay awhile
dig in with your whole soul
until the sonofabbitch is sick of you
and lets up
what I'm saying is
it's up to you
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.