meta name=”robots” content=”index, follow” Meschery's Musings of Sports, Literature, and Life Meschery's Musings on Sports, Literature and Life: 2012-04-08

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, April 11, 2012

The Sacramento Kings' Crisis

Now that my beloved Warriors are in the hands of financially stable, energetic, and committed owners, Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, I turn my attention to the desperate condition of the Sacramento Kings, the team that represents the city in which I live. Financially stable, energetic, and committed are not adjectives that can be used to describe the Kings' owners, the Maloof brothers. I can think of more appropriate adjectives. Slimy comes to mind. And devious. How  about manipulative?

Harsh? I don't believe so. Here's why. It seems clear to me and increasingly clear to the Sacramento public, as it must to all the parties concerned regarding the recently crafted agreement to build a new arena, that the Maloofs never intended to honor their handshake deal with the City of Sacramento, the NBA, and AIG.

Why, then, did the Maloof brothers return to Sacramento and declare there were no deal breakers? The terms were all spelled out in black and white. Do they have a reading problem? Why did they stand in the center court of Power Balance arena with their hands raised, tears in their eyes, and proclaim victory? Do they have an honesty problem? Why on that same Power Balance court did they hug Mayor Kevin Johnson knowing full well that they had no intention of paying $3.6 million dollars in predevelopment costs, (and other costs) that their handshake deal called for?

The answer is simple. They are belly-crawling around for a better deal, and in the Maloof swamp its okay to mislead as long as it benefits the Maloof family. I can not prove it, nor can anyone else, but I am convinced the brothers planned this manipulation from the get-go. They are gambling (They are gamblers, are they not?) that with so much time, energy, and reputation committed to the arena project, the NBA, the City, and AIG will cave in to their demands. I suspect that the Maloofs feel they are in control. Worse comes to worse, they can sell the team, and from what I've read there seems to be a number of takers, especially now that Sacramento and the NBA are committed to a new arena.

(New arena = new ownership interest = higher profits from sale of team for the Maloofs; No new arena = no new ownership interest = financial trouble for the Maloofs. GET IT?)

Even if they don't sell the team - and I'm convinced this is what their plan is - if their bluff works they will wind up with their team in a better financial position and a new arena at a lower cost to them. And they can continue to sit courtside and play big time NBA owners.

We're talking manipulation at the highest level. We're talking about David Stern of the NBA and Mayor Kevin Johnson like laundry being hung out to dry.

My only hope is that David Stern turns his well-documented fury on the Maloofs, in which case the City of Sacramento might have a chance of retaining their beloved Kings and building a new arena in which to watch them. And Kevin Johnson might be more than a one term mayor.

Although I'm not a great baseball fan, I am a fan of baseball poems. Here's one oldie but goodie:

Hits and Runs    by Carl Sandburg

I remember the Chillicothe ballplayers grappling the Rock
         Island ball players in a sixteen-inning game ended by

And the shoulders of the Chillicothe players were a red smoke
         against the sundown and the shoulders of the Rock
         island players were a yellow smoke against the sun-

And the umpire's voice was hoarse calling balls and strikes
         and outs, and the umpire's throat fought in the
         dust for a song.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Master's Weekend

I watched amazed as Louis Oosthuizen's 4 iron shot from the fairway on the second hole traveled 253 yards, hit the front of the green, rolled to the back and dropped into the cup for a double eagle.

I've never been a golfer, and only recently in my old age took up the game, with reservations and trepidation. It's embarrassing after years of dissing golf as a non-sport to admit it's not only a sport, it's one of the most demanding and thoroughly frustrating sporting endeavors. To all my golfing friends I ridiculed, I apologize.

Okay, enough with the mea culpas and back to Oosthuizen's shot. It rolled and it rolled. The ball had eyes is an old basketball saying attributed to great shooters - Ray Allan, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, for example, when they're hot. The same can be said for this fantastic history making shot. It had eyes. And speaking of eyes, how in the world did Bubba Watson hit out of the pine needles onto the green during the sudden death playoff? It's a total mystery, like when a poem comes to you all at once and surprises the hell out of you. The spontaneous and miraculous is what makes sports and art so compelling.

Here's a poem about golf

Hitting Golfballs off the Bluff  by Jeffrey Harrison

They come back now, those nights my friend and I
hit golfballs off the bluff behind his house.
We were sixteen and had our learner's permits
but no grilfreinds, unlike the football jocks
we couldn't stand but secretly envied.
Neither of us actually played golf,
but late one night we took his father's clubs
and started what became a ritual.
A Freudian would have a field day with it:
the clubs, the balls, the deep ravine below
with train tracks and a river running through it.
But for us it was pure exhilaration:
the sure feel of a good connection, zing
of the white ball disappearing into blackness,
then silence as we waited for the thud
against the ground below, splash in the river,
or bang against the roof of a freight car.
That drawn-out moment when we only listened,
holding our laughter back, seemed never-ending
and one time was: no sound came back at all,
as if we'd sent the golfball into orbit
like a new planet - one we might still see
moving across the sky on any night,
pocked like the moon, but smaller, shining green
with envy now, now deep red with desire.