My apology to my readers. I've not been blogging. My time has been taken up with a writing project I've put off for a long time. I'm writing my memoir and autobiography. It is both because the memoir part, the 2015/16 Golden State Warrior season, frames the autobiography. I'm following each of the Warrior games, commenting on the players, coaches, and their performances, while at the same time allowing my memory to flash back to the times I played. Such flashback come easy, as the every city in the league brings back a memory or two or three. If it's not a city, it's a coach or assistant coach or something that comes up within the flow of the game that triggers the past. Anyway, that's why I haven't been blogging. I'm hoping a publisher will be interested. So far I haven't approached an agent, but am close to sending out an edited portion soon.
Okay, on with the Blog: First story I read in the sports page this morning was about Kahadeem Lattin, the grandson of David Latten, a first round 1967 draft choice of the Golden State Warriors who was part of the storied West Texas University team of all black players that defeated an all white University of Kentucky team - a first in the history of basketball. This defeat broke all kinds of racial barriers, opened up the doors of colleges to black athletes like nothing that had happened before. Universities began falling all over themselves after that win to recruit African-American basketball players. One must remember the coach of the Texas Western team, Don Haskins who had no problem, unlike the fabled Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp, coaching black players. I'm reminded of my first head coaching job for the Carolina Cougars of the ABA in 1972, just retired from playing, moving down to the south. In my first game, I started five blacks. The next morning I woke up to find my house toilet papered with nigger lover spray-painted on my lawn. I remember playing against Lattin, a good role player, who gave the game his all. I can only imagine how proud grandpa is.of grandson.
Last night I took my 13 yr old granddaughter Ruth, a basketball player, to the Boston/Warrior game. An exciting game but a surprising losing effort by the Dubs. Their defensive energy was not there, while the Celtics played lock-down D. I would have sworn the last 3 ball Curry shot was going in but, alas, it fell short. Doesn't every shot Curry takes look like it's going to swish? Granddaughter and grandfather were disappointed, still we drove away from the arena proud of our Warriors.
This morning's Bee has an article by Andy Furillo in which he discusses whether the Kings should let their coach, George Karl go. He says they should not, that the team will look foolish letting a future Hall of Fame coach go after only one season. Yes, he's right, the team will look foolish, but maybe that shouldn't be the consideration. First and foremost in my opinion, the Kings need to straighten out their basketball operation before any firing and hiring can happen. What I want to know is who's the GM? Is it Vlade Divac? If it is, why is there all this talk about Divac's need to hire a GM? If Divac is not the GM, who the heck is he? And if he hires a GM, what role will he play in the Kings future basketball operation. The Golden State Warriors chain of command is precision clear. Strong ownership, 1) Lacob and Guber with help from a wise consultant, Jerry West 2) COO of business Rick Welts, 3) Co-equal General Manager of basketball ops, Bob Meyers 4) Head Coach, Steve Kerr.
Into which slot does Divac fall? He's either consultant or GM or both, I supposed, but that sounds clumsy to me. Let's get all this hierarchy straight, Kings after which you can decide to retain Karl or not.
I worry about Karl's energy. As a cancer survivor myself, I can say unequivocally that after going through doctors, hospital stays, chemo, and other procedures, you never get back the energy you previously had, and never close. I also worry that the specific cancer Karl went through, throat cancer, limits his ability to communicate effectively with his players. Grant Eppler, my wife's son, who is a motivational speaker and salesman for food giant Tyson reminded me that the tone and timber of one's voice has a lot to do with one's effectiveness. Karl not only has to speak over the noise of the crowd, he says, but over the white noise going on in the players' minds. I think this is an extremely smart observation. Can Karl do this? Can Karl speak over the white noise in the mind of his moody and childish center, Demarcus Cousin? That's a question that needs to be answered by a General Manager. Furillo says the Kings should trade Cousins. That is another decision that must be made by a GM. The Kings have got some work to do.
Marginal Note: In the Furillo article, George says of Sacramento that it's a "small town learning to be a city." Sorry, George, it is a city. In fact it's the capital of a state that were it a county would have a higher GNP than almost all of the countries in the European Union. It has an opera and ballet company, a state university, three major community colleges, a flourishing arts community (check out some of the fine poetry readings at the Sacramento Poetry Center.), a museum of fine arts, tons of art galleries, some splendid restaurants, a minor league soccer and baseball team and a NBA basketball franchise, called the Kings. It is not LA or Houston or The Big Apple (large metropolises) nor should The River City ever aspire to become like them. It is, however, a CITY with reasonable proportions, my adopted city with almost as many trees as Paris. It could be your city, George, if the Kings retain your services.
Baseball season is about to start. The Giants will be playing the A's today. Go A's, soon you might be the only pro team left in the East Bay
Pitching Coups by Ron Wellburn
The arc of the pitching arm
unwinds a circle of dreams
and corkscrews out behind a kick
to release a flying head,
in whose face coming towards
the men with bats
is a leer and a laugh.
The stitches of the sphere blur
into war paint and head's estatic yell echoes
throughout this canyon of battle.
It flies as straight as an arrow or
whirls like a tomahawk;
sometimes it just jumps off a ledge
the way lovers are said to do
in secret ravines all over the country.
It always comes ready to count coup
and tease and intimidate.
The pitching arm belongs to coyote
and so does the flying head.
The arm belongs to Chief Bender
from yesterday, then Allie Reynolds,
and the next time to Cal McLish,
and now to John Henry Johnson and
Fernando, the Valenzuela.
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.