When I was a 3rd grader, my teacher at Grant Elementary School in San Francisco, Mrs. Rosen, lined all of her students at the chalk board (yes, real black chalk boards) and had us do addition and subtraction problems that she called out to us in her gruff voice to write on the board. She would time us, then walk down the line observing our figures. If a student got a problem wrong, she'd take her hand, gently place it on the back of his or her head and slam said tiny head hard into the chalkboard. Ouch! That's me, yelling as I inevitably did my sums wrong. From those days on, I have never been good at math or any subject related to mathematics.
Which leads me to the subject of analytics in basketball. It's math. Okay, so it's statistics. That's just math in disguise. I've done some research, and I guess I get it. Useful, but only in the right hands. By that I mean in the hands of people who have the sport in their blood and can "see" "feel" a player's skill and enthusiasm for the game. If it were up to me, evaluating a player, I would only take into account how that player performs in the fourth quarter of tight games, in playoff/championship games (high school, college, or pro). I've seen too many players in the NBA who play well in the first three quarters and disappear in the crucial fourth.
And, I would definitely pay as much attention to my instincts as to the analytics. For example, I don't need stats to tell me that Carmelo Anthony, no matter what he does, will never be a winner. And I don't need stats to know young Kawhi Leanard of the Spurs, not nearly as gifted as Carmelo, will always be a winner.
Stick Aldon Smith in jail for a year, so he can sober up and meditate on how close he is to losing his chance to live the decent life of an athlete. It's high time high schools, colleges and the pros start practicing Tough Love.
While the NBA playoffs are exciting, let's not forget there's a good chance the State of California might soon have a Triple Crown winner, in California Chrome.
Here's a little poem about horses: A traditional Navajo song.
My horse has a hoof like a striped agate
His fetlock is like a fine eagle plume.
His legs are like quick lightning
My horse has a tail like a trailing black cloud.
The Holy Wind moves through his hair
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.