Go on line and check out some of the NBA's outlandish salaries. I did recently and sat in front of the screen scrolling down the list of players and salaries and shaking my head. It's awfully hard feeling sorry for the NBA owners as they prepare to ask for concessions from the players' union when teams continue to pay some of these stiffs, and I mean stiffs, salaries that don't in any way reflect their talent, not even their potential. When a guy like Mareese Speights receives (I hesitate to use the word earns) $1,773,960.00 - not Yen - a million more than JuJuan Blair and Taj Gibson, something is definitely wrong. Do you know that Kwame Brown is still getting $1,352,255 per year. That's an embarrassment. Kostas Koufas is making $1,298,642 per annum. Craig Brakins who is playing in the D League is being paid $1, 306,920. Ouch! I've never heard of Trevor Booker and he's pulling down a cool $1,204, 560. Double Ouch! And the great Solomon Jones is stealing $1,500,000. Do you know that LeBron James is not even in the top ten salaries? While Rashard Lewis and Michael Redd are paid more than LeBron. LeBron could take both of them on at the same time and beat them in a game of twenty-one.
Trust me that there are a lot more examples and more egregious ones I could have used. Maybe I shouldn't be so surprised. Draft picking dumb has been going on for a long time. The Warriors in my era, I recall, selected a few stinkers. No need to name them. They're hopefully all retired government employees by now.
I don't really begrudge the players. They have the right to earn whatever the market will bear. But I sure wonder who in the world selects these players. General managers, coaches, and scouts put their heads together, and what? Come up with some of these losers? OK, I slapped my wrist. It was unkind to call them losers. How about non-starters? There is a D League for players and coaches, I wonder if there shouldn't be a D League for general managers and scouts? Who in the hell are these guys that spend their owners money so freely? Or is it the owners who want to freely spend money?
One of my top ten sports poems is about softball.
Missoula Softball Tournament by Richard Hugo
This summer, most friends out of town
and no wind playing flash and dazzle
in the cottonwoods, music of the Clark Fork stale,
I've gone back to the old ways of defeat,
the softball field, familiar dust and thud,
pitcher winging drops and rises, and wives,
the beautiful wives in the stands, basic, used,
screeching runners home, infants unattended
in the dirt. A long triple sails into right center.
Two men on. Shouts from dugout: go, Ron, go.
Life is better run from. Distance to the fences,
both foul lines and dead center, is displayed.
I try to steal the tricky manager's signs.
Is hit-and-run the pulling of the ear?
The ump gives pitchers too much low inside.
Injustice? Fraud? Ancient problems focus
in the heat. Bad hop on routine grounder.
Close play missed by the team you want to win.
Players from the first game, high on beer,
ride players in the field. Their laughter
falls short of the wall. Under lights, the moths
are momentary stars, and wives, the beautiful wives
in the stands now take the interest they once feigned,
oh, long ago, their marriage just begun, years
of helping husbands feel important just begun,
the scrimping, the anger brought home evenings
from degrading jobs. This poem goes out to them.
Is steal-of-home the touching of the heart?
Last Pitch. A soft fly. A can of corn
the players say. Routine, like mornings,
like the week. They shake hands on the mound.
Nice grab on that shot to left. Good game. Good game.
Dust rotates in their headlight beams.
The wives, the beautiful wives are with their men.
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.