meta name=”robots” content=”index, follow” Meschery's Musings of Sports, Literature, and Life Meschery's Musings on Sports, Literature and Life: 2015-12-20

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, December 23, 2015

This & That

Isn't it high time the Kings realize who their center is? If they don't, the answer to the question is an extremely talented basketball center/forward (stretch if you prefer as he can hit 3's) who will be just good enough to be considered great, but not emotionally capable of greatness. Case in point. After the the recent game against the Washington Wizards, he could not admit that he was thoroughly outplayed on both ends of the court by Marcin Gortat, the Wiz's Polish center. No Polish jokes please, this guy is a true pro. He outran, out hustled, out shot, out rebounded and out smarted Cousins at every turn. Cousin's response to the media was to excuse his lack of effort on the coach's the defensive scheme. He was just following orders? Give me a break. 

From the very beginning of his career, DeMarcus Cousins has whined, or angered, or complained, or rationalized the fact that it is his responsibility, given his talent, to lead his team (he loves to refer to the Kings as "his" team.) by example. Example is, in fact, the only way to lead a team. One more time with feeling: By example. Not by talk. Talk is as useless as titties on a papa pig. As long as the Kings are not playing my Warriors, I am a loyal King's fan, and I am tired of watching Cousin lumber down the court. He is the last man back on offense and the last man back on defense most of the time. I can't imagine this lack of hustle has not been noticed by the coaching staff and administration, since it is clearly evident by any fan who's not visually handicapped. I've been a part of professional basketball as a player for ten years, and as a coach, both head and assistant, and for many years as a devoted enthusiast of the game, and I know a con-job when I see it during the game and hear it after the game, or read it in the sport pages. I do not doubt DeMarcus Cousins' talent. Countless times, I've turned to my wife after watching some fabulous move Cousins' made that led to a score, and remarked on his skills. So, it breaks my heart when I see those skills at the mercy of a weak temperament. I don't know how Cousins can change. It may be tragically that he will remain throughout a long career averaging 20 pts and 9 boards a game while never getting close to a championship.

In this morning's Bee, a article by my favorite sports writer Ailene Voisin about Omri Casspi. Right on, young man. Don't think the coaches around the league haven't noticed your improvement. Talk about hustle both ends of the court. Israel should be proud.

Good news. Steve Kerr looks like he is close to returning to the Warrior bench. If anyone doubts this will be a smooth transition back to leadership, don't be concerned. This team understands the meaning of the word team from top to bottom.

Enough about basketball. How about a lovely sonnet about archery, a sport not often in the sport pages.

Archery Instructor

My boys walk down the range intent to find
Lost arrows well beyond the target flown.
Tomfoolery forgot, they scuff around
The underbrush, each searching on his own.
To them it's treasure hunting of a kind.

But since it's I who am responsible
For all the archery equipment used.
I wait here hoping they will find them all.
The boys move dimly in the woods. Bemused,
I slowly let the scene be blurred unreal

And dream that I might well be Cupid here
Whose orders were, 'Bring back my misfired darts!'
Except on second thought I feel more sure
That what I'd mean is, 'halves of broken hearts.'

A very  foolish fond old man, said Lear.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

R.I.P. Jungle Jim

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.