In my rookie season with the, then, Philadelphia Warriors, in the Boston Garden, I threw a punch at Tommy Gun Heinsohn because he hit me with an elbow. I missed him. Ready to throw another punch, I felt my arms being pinned behind me. Guess who? Jungle Jim Loscutoff, fellow Russian and San Franciscan had me securely in his grip, just in time for Heinsohn to land a right cross. The skin above my eye opened like a dropped tomato. Thanks 'Loscy.'
I remember Jim as the quintessential NBA enforcer, but not without basketball skills. He was an effective man on the boards at both ends of the court. He set picks that hurt, opening guys like Frank Ramsey and Sam Jones for jumpers. He was a pro's pro. Gave no quarter, took no quarter. He was older than me, but we grew up playing on the same playgrounds in San Francisco. His family was part of the generation of Russian immigrants that came to the U.S. in the late 1800's. I was part of the White Russians who immigrated to the States after World War II. I'd like to think that I was more than an enforcer for the Warriors, but it does seem that on occasion that became my role. So, Jim, from a fellow enforcer, I wish you a safe trip into the universe. My own trip is not too distant, and I'll be looking for you. I owe you one.
The following little poem I wrote that's in my collection: Sweat: New and Selected Poems About Sports fits this blog. The persona in the poem could very well be Jim Loscutoff.
In The Moment
The whistle blows
and I'm caught
between curbing my anger
or hitting the player
who just fouled me.
Oh, what the hell, I say.
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.