Here's the deal. Everybody knows the rules of haggling. If you don't know, go to any bazaar in Morocco. The shop owner starts high, you counter low, and you come together in the middle. Sold!
Now that you've got the cash issues out of the way, move on to the big stumbling block: hard and soft caps. Are you trying to tell me its an either/or proposition, that there is no middle ground? I don't believe it, and neither do all the fans out here in NBA land who, I'm afraid, are beginning to feel that professional sports is a big pain in the ass, not to mention the pocket book.
My biggest fear is that the NBA players will let their collective egos get in the way of a rational solution. Let's face it, the players are absolutely RIGHT when they say that they are not responsible for the financial mistakes of the owners. Everybody agreed to the last CBA, etc, etc, yada, yada yada. Now the owners are crying poormouth, but did anyone notice the selling price of the last couple of teams? Guys, as hard as those numbers are to stomach, it doesn't matter how stupid some of the NBA owners have been, how much they have overspent, how greedy they have been not to revenue share. The bottom line is that, unlike the NFL owners, NBA franchises are hurting financially big-time.
It is up to you players to come to the rescue of a league that is out of control. Give the league its hard cap, and higher percentage of gross revenues. In return your union can make the following demands: owners must revenue share, (that will keep the smaller franchises alive and competitive), owners must create an independent accounting system which the union is free to inspect. Finally, owners upon selling a franchise will pay a % of the enormous profits said owners receive at point of sale back to the union to be used for, say, retired players' medical benefits, etc. You can figure out the etc's. (These profits are astronomical. OK, I realize any owner who reads this will be clutching his heart and running to his cardiologist, but I'm dead serious).
Players, union leaders, if you are not willing to take the high road, then I'm afraid Sir Charles is right. There may not be a season next year, and that will be a shame. Who will suffer the most? The Players. The owners will go to their respective country clubs, light up cigars, and go on with their privileged lives. They may be joined at the club by LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasul, and others who already have their $$$ safely socked away in investments. But what about the rest of you? OK, I guess you'll survive as well. It's not as if you've been underpaid these last few years, like all the high school teachers I know. Finally sports writers will lose stories and blogers will stop paying attention. Over the land will fall a faint mist of regret. But nobody will be opening his or her umbrella.
As for the fans, they too will survive, but they may decide to buy season tickets to their local college games and, who knows, may find that those games are a lot of fun to watch. If there is a lockout, that's what I'll be doing. My wife and I will be sitting in the stands rooting for our St. Mary's Gaels. They play an awesome brand of basketball.
While the NFL is locking out its players, and the NBA is doing the same, Wimbledon has been going on. Maria Sherapova lost, which is tantamount to saying Venus goddess of love fell from grace. And Bob and Mike Bryan won the men's doubles for the second time. The Sporting Green didn't give them a lot of ink, even though they are Stanford grads. What's up with that? Oh, I guess they're too worried about the NBA lockout to notice. And documenting Michael Crabtree's silly twitters.
Here's a poem about Tennis
On the Tennis Court at Night by Galway Kinnell
We step out on the green rectangle
in moonlight: the lines low,
which for many have been the only lines
of justice. We remember
the thousand trajectories the air has erased
of that close-contested last set -
blur of volleys, soft arcs of drop shots,
huge ingrown lops of lobs with topspin
which went running away, crosscourts recrossing
down to each sweet (and in exact proportion, bitter)
in Talbert and Olds' The Game of Doubles in Tennis.
The breeze has carried them off but we still hear
the mutters, the doulefaulter's groans,
cries of "Deuce!" or "Love two!",
squeak of tennis shoes, grunt of overreaching,
all dozen extant tennis quips - "Just out!"
or, "About right for you?" or, "Want to change partners?"
and baaah of sheep translated very occasionally
into thonk of well-hit ball, among the pure
right angles and unhesitating lines
of this arena where every man grows old
pursuing that repertoire of perfect shots,
darkness already in his strokes,
even in death cramps waving an arm back and forth
to the disgust of the night nurse,
and smiling; and ta few hours later found dead -
the smile still in place but the ice bag
she left on the brow now inexplicably
Scotch taped to the right elbow - causing
all those bright trophies to slip permanently,
though not in fact much farther, out of reach,
all except the thick-bottomed young man
about to double fault in soft metal on the windowsill:
"Runner-Up Men's Class B Consolation Doubles
St. Johnsbury Kiwanis Tennis Tournament 1069"...
Clouds come over the moon;
all the lines go out. November last year
in Lyndonville: it is getting dark,
snow starts falling , Zander Rubin wobble-twist
his worst serve out of the black woods behind him,
Stan Albro lobs into a gust of snow,
Dom Bredes smashes at where the ball theoretically
could be coming down, the snow blows down
and swirls about our legs, darkness flows
across a disappearing patch of green-painted asphalt
in the north country, where four men,
half-volleying, poaching, missing, grunting,
begging mercy of their bones, hold their ground,
as winter comes on, all the winters to come.
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.