Reader: Welcome back Meschery. You haven't blogged since last February. What's up with that?
Meschery: It got to be too much. I was right in the middle of writing three novels called The Courtside Collection about sports, teenagers, disabilities, improbable dreams, gender issues, jocks, villains and heroes. Get the picture. That's a lot of stuff to pack into books and required all of my energy.
Reader: So, are you finished with these novels?
Meschery: Yes. Now I can get back to blogging, but I'm not going to do it the way I did in the past.
Reader: How are you changing?
Meschery: I'm only going to blog once a week. That way I can devote my time to writing poetry.
Reader: Good, I loved the sports poems at the end of your blogs. Very unusual. Are you still writing poems about sports?
Meschery: I sure am. In fact, I have a new collection of poems coming out this November called SWEAT: New and Selected Poems About Sports. I think you'll like it. You can order it from Black Rock Press, University of Nevada, Reno, Reno, NV 89557-0224.
Reader: Terrific. I'm putting in my order. Can you give us a preview?
Meschery: You bet. At the end of today's blog.
Reader: Thanks. Now, I'll let you alone, so you can get back to blogging.
I was a little nervous this morning knowing I was going to start blogging again. So, I reread some of my past blogs. In hindsight, I made some pretty decent predictions. And enough mistakes to be slightly embarrassed. Oh, well, got to go out on a limb when trying to predict sports. Sometimes you cut off the branch you're sitting on. For example, I was really hot for the Timberwolves last NBA season. Injury to Love cost them, and Rubio never played back up to his past brilliance. Kirilenko is gone to play for the Russian team in Brooklyn. Some symmetry there, don't you think? The Nets are looking good for this season, but will all the ex Celtic stars mesh with the rest of the squad? There's only one ball to be shared. Deron Willliams is going to have to be smarter delivering assists than I think he is. Is there a back-up point guard on the team that can deliver if Williams goes down? And I'm not on the Jason Kidd bandwagon either.
Okay, here I go. Predictions for the 2013/14 NBA season.
In the East: (God, do I hate to say this), Miami followed by Indiana but not by much. Pacers could defeat the Heat. Their two additions Scola and CJ Watson are solid pluses and the return of Granger is huge. Chicago comes next. Unless they can find a 3 point shooter, they will have problems. The Nets. as many good players as they have, they are vulnerable if they lose Lopez to injury, plus I'm not sold on Kidd as a coach.
Indiana vs Heat for the East.
In the West: Sorry, San Antonio. I'm picking the Thunder. Westbrook is back and it looks like his knee is fine. More importantly, I believe the Thunder has finally found their center in New Zelander, Stevie Adams. Give him half the season to figure the game out. The Clippers? As good a coach as Doc is I don't think he'll be able to figure out how to balance all that athleticism. To many runners and leapers and no half court game. How about my Warriors? If their top 7 players remain healthy they could upset teams and wind up in the Western Division finals. If they get to the finals, who knows? Big Mo could take them to the top.
San Antonio vx Oklahoma in the Finals in the West.
I'm going to save commentary about the Warriors, my old team, for a blog all their own. One point, however. I bet the fans these days are delighted with Mr. Lacob's trade of two years ago that brought Andrew Bogut to the Bay Area. Boos turn to applause. Smarts wins out.
Clippers vs Miami for the NBA Championship.
Of course these predictions could change with injuries. There's just no way to get around injuries in pro sports these days. Faster, stronger, more athletic players, if they're playing full out, can't avoid being injured.
Okay, everybody know this, so what's my point? Perhaps it's time to evaluate drugs that help repair muscle even if they do fall into the banded substance categories. Let's bring the medical profession into the conversation about which drugs should be banned and which are useful.
What about the Kings? Since I'm living in Sacramento I should say something. Wither thou go'est Cousins, goeth the Kings. Am I confident the young man will be able to turn a new leaf? I've witnessed some improvement. He's trying his best to keep his emotions in check, I'll grant him that. I don't, however, see that he has improved as a player. I don't see a single new move. It's all same-o-some-o offensively: outside jumper or bull his way, a la Shaq, into the paint. He's too athletic not to score, but will he be enough of a threat that teams will double and triple-team him? I don't think so. All in all, without considering Cousins, the King personnel is composed of a lot of bench type players, good reseerves, but reserves they are, not starters for any good team. The Kinds came up in the draft with two great rookies in Mclemore and McCullums. I'm betting these two will be the Kings 1 & 2 of the future. Greivas is an OK pick up. Again, a bench player on any good team. I'm not sure about the Landry deal. Big bucks for a non-starter. With the Warriors Landry was most effective coming off the bench. I don't see him as a starter. If I were the Kings I'd trade Salmons, Fredette, Patterson, Outlaw. If the Kings have to play with reserves, at least they should find some reserves who will play hard-nosed defense.
Here's the poem I promised from my new collection. It's about Hall of Fame point guard and coach Lenny Wilkens, my Seattle teammate and friend, and one of the best players in the history of the game.
Slight of Hand
For Lenny Wilkens
It doesn't matter how often our coach
tells us to over-play Wilkens to his left hand,
he goes there anyway, with that slippery move
that looks to me as if he's skating. Somehow
he slips through the jam of players rushing
into the paint to impede his progress.
To no avail. It's a pass to Zelmo or a slick
floater. Exploiting our vanity for having been
born right handed, he flaunts his left.
If only it were once or twice a game, but time
after time he shows us how the trick is done,
opening the black hat to reveal the trap door
from which he pulls the white rabbit and then
closing it before we can learn his secret.
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.