Yesterday my wife Melanie and I attended the re-dedication of the outdoor basketball courts in Golden Gate Park's panhandle to the memory of Nate, The Great, Thurmond, teammate and good friend. Nate's wife, Marci, was there with friends and family. Jim Barnett represented the Warriors, as usual doing a fabulous job speaking about Nate the Great. His ex Honor Willy Brown spoke about Nate, friend and client. Willy doesn't talk, he orates, which is fitting since Nate deserves an oration. The courts have been resurfaced and new glass backboard standards added. They are ready to go in keeping with a long pick-up game tradition of San Francisco hoopsters that dates back to when I was growing up in the Richmond District and playing ball at dozens of outdoor and indoor courts throughout The City. It was the hardcore way of learning the game, unlike today's sanitized AAU productions. I talked to a couple of forty year old guys who told me they've been coming to the panhandle courts every Saturday for the last twenty years. Let's fill all the outdoor courts in The City with youngster shooting hops. Jim Barnett suggested that money should be found to place a statue of the Great Nate at this panhandle site, in the shadow of the eucalyptus and evergreen trees. That too would be fitting.
In this morning's paper I saw where Lost Wages approved the money to fund a new football stadium that they hope will convince the Raiders to move to their faux metropolis. Oakland can't afford a new stadium, really; it has too many essential community fixes to pay for before it can think of funding a stadium for their truly goofy fans who think every game is Halloween-time. Oh, how I'll miss those marvelous scary costumes if the team moves. However, of all cities to pick up the Halloween theme and run with it, it's Vegas. So, after this vote, as I suspect, the Raiders will become the Las Vegas Raiders. If it's not Oakland, then Vegas seems to most closely fit the Raiders persona. I wonder, however, why the good citizen of Las Vegas are not questioning why one of the richest men in the world, Sheldon Addison, needs public funding for this project? Come on, Sheldon, are you that cheap? Considering the growth of NFL franchises, this is a totally no risk investment. Give the citizens of Southern Nevada a break.
Staying with football. Does any Niner fan really think Blaine Gabbart has the kind of superstar skills and, more importantly, instincts, to lead the 49ers to a championship? In my opinion, at best, Gabbert will provide the 49ers with a Alex Smith type leader. That's not a bad thing, but it's not a great thing.
Does that mean I like Kap at the QB over Gabbert? No, I don't. I do, however, believe that Kap has the "intangibles" that Gabbert doesn't possess. To demonstrate it, Kap will have to be traded to another team. Too much negative Trent Balke stuff has gone down for Kap to recover his mojo as a member of the 49ers. And for Kap's sake, I hope the trade comes soon.
Here's a pretty lovely old poem about football by George Abbe
Dropping back with the ball ripe in my palm,
grained and firm as the flesh of a living charm,
I taper and coil myself down, raise arm to fake
running a little, seeing my targets emerge
like quail above a wheat field's golden lake.
In boyhood I saw my mothee knit my warmth
with needles that were straight. I learned to feel
the passage of the bullet through the bore,
its vein of flight between my heart and deer
whose terror took the pulse of my hot will.
I learned how wild geese slice arcs from hanging pear
of autumn noon; how the thought of love cleaves home,
and fists, with fury's ray, can lay a weakness bare,
and instinct's eye can mine fish under foam.
So as I run and weigh, measure and test,
the light kindles on helmets, the angry leaps;
but secretly, coolly, as though stretching a hand to his chest,
I lay the ball in the arms of my planing end,
at true as metal, as deftly as surgeon's wrist.
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.