meta name=”robots” content=”index, follow” Meschery's Musings of Sports, Literature, and Life Meschery's Musings on Sports, Literature and Life: 2017

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.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Ball Dad

Okay, I know parenting shifts from one generation to another: stricter to more lenient, moderate to indulgent, or in the case of Spain, over-indulgent - parents trying to make up for the rigid over parenting mandatory during the Franco era.

So, how does one describe the parenting of LaVar Ball, testosterone dad of Laker's Lonzo Ball and DiAngelo Ball? Ball, the parent, is going to take his son, DiAngelo out of UCLA because the university decided to suspend the young varsity basketball player and his two team mates for two months because they shoplifted while on a basketball trip to China. The boys did not shoplift a couple of porno mags, they went after some very expensive eye wear. A two month suspension doesn't sound too great a consequence for them to suffer; they are only freshman and have three more years as basketball players at UCLA.

Therein, however, is the rub. Uber Dad probably is thinking that his Uber son is a One and Done, so the kid will lose some visibility this season.

It is not about education, let's be clear about that. UCLA did not withdraw the athletes' scholarships. The young men can attend classes, and receive (say it isn't so) some knowledge. Toward a (say it isn't so) a degree in four (say it isn't so) years.

LaVar Ball, I caution you, stop with the Uber-Dad business. It is not psychologically beneficial to your sons. They should not have their lives at their age micromanaged. DiAngelo must come to grips with the fact that there are consequences for bad behavior. Your behavior is going to come back some time in the future and bite you in the buttocks, and I suspect it will be your progeny that will be doing the biting. Sorry to say that, but life bears this out.

A quick note to vote in favor of an eight-team College Football Playoff as described by writer, Chuck Culpepper of the Washington Post this morning. It's syndicated so, the teams should be in a number of papers. The teams themselves will vary season by season, it's the format that matters, and the NCAA should get off their collective duffs and put this in place. It's a total win/win scenario all around.

Perhaps one of the more meaningful poems about sports I've ever read is the following:

The Jump Shooter   by Dennis Trudell

The way the ball
hung there
against the blue or purple

one night last week
across town
at the playground where

I had gone to spare
my wife
from the mood I'd swallowed

and saw in the dusk
a stranger
shooting baskets a few

years older maybe
thirty-five
and overweight a little

beer belly saw him
shooting there
and joined him didn't

ask or anything simply
went over 
picked off a rebound

and hooked it back up
while he
smiled I nodded and for 

ten minutes or so we
took turn
staking shots and the thin

is neither of us said
a word
and this fellow who's 

too heavy now and slow
to play 
for any team still had

the old touch seldom
ever missed
kept moving further out

and finally his t-shirt
a gray
and fuzzy blur I stood

under the rim could 
almost hear
a high school cheer

begin and fill a gym
while wooden
bleacher rocked he made

three in a row from
twenty feet
moved back two steps

faked out a patch 
of darkness
arched another one and 

the way the ball 
hung there 
against the blue or purple

then suddenly filled
the net
made me wave goodbye

breathe deeply and begin
to whistle
as I waled back home. 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Cal Bears vs Saint Mary's Gaels and This and That

Bill McClintock, a University of California Bear, one of the fiercest power forwards I ever played against, and that includes a bunch of my NBA opponents, and I, with our wives, are going to attend the Gael/Bears basketball game tonight on the Cal campus. Dinner first, which will as a matter of tradition, include a few beers for me and Bill.

McClintock was the starting forward on the great Cal team coached by Legendary Pete Newell that went to the Final Four in 1969 and won the '68/69 NCAA Championship by defeating Jerry West's West Virginia team. They got to the Final Four by defeating my Gael team in what would now be called the Elite 8 and was then called the Western Regional Finals.The following two seasons Bill and I battled against each other, giving and taking elbows. Bill was not only a physically tough player, he was a cerebral player. The combination of smarts and toughness is rare, and I only found such a combo in a few of the power forwards in the NBA. My teams never had much success against the Bears, but perhaps tonight's Gael squad will give us old Gaels something to cheer about. Bill and I are planning on wearing our college caps. I think our Gael logo is more artistic than the Bears one. That's a win for us. Now the Gaels need to win on the court.

As for McClintock and Meschery beer completion, Bill is on the first team and I'm on the second team. I'll grant him his superiority, with the caveat that he has an edge since being raised in Wisconsin. Never knew anyone from Milwaukee who couldn't handle his suds.

If there are basketball fans who've never seen that great Cal team, do yourselves a favor and find some footage. They were superb.

THIS AND THAT

I'm a little concerned at the hoopla given NBA players who achieve double/doubles. Think about it. A double/double could be 10 pts and 10 rebounds. In the case of a power forward 10 pts and 10 rebounds is no big deal, or shouldn't be. The points are the problem. 10 or 11 or 12 are not worth making a fuss over? And ten boards for a power forward and a center are not worthy of much excitement. If you're a power forward or center worth your salt, you should be getting 10 pts and 10 boards most nights. Now, if a shooting guard gets 10 boards, that is something. Ten steals, ten assists, those are worthy stats. But ten points , well, I don't think I'd call Sports Illustrated over it. I'm just saying, be a little skeptical of double/doubles. Now Triple/doubles, that's something.

I loved reading about the Warriors game against the Magic and was indeed proud of their 46 team assists. Good for you Dubs. Keep it up, but don't forget, fellows, that your defense has historically been what puts you at the head of the class.

In the Life Section of this Blog: HooWah! Mueller snared another traitor to the United States, so-called General Mike Flynn, and it looks good that he'll indict Jared Kushner, Trump son-in-law, (are we suffering any nepotism vibes lately?) who should have his security clearance yanked, pronto.

Who's next to fall? Let's get these embarrassments out of the White House. Just speculating, but if Trump goes down, it's will be Pence at bat. He's our VP who, during his run for Congress in 1990, used political donations to pay for his home mortgage, personal credit cards, golf fees, groceries and wife's car payments. Honest guy?? But, if Pence goes down as well, along with his Prez, it will be Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House of Reps to step up to the plate. As a liberal, I worry about anybody who is a disciple of Ayn Rand. But I can live with it. However, one little thing out of his history does bother me a lot. In his senior year in high school, he was elected by classmates as BIGGEST BROWN NOSER of the class. I'll leave it up to you, dear readers, to decide how to interpret that.

And, if anybody out there in Middle Class financial land believes this Republican Tax Plan is going to help you, I've got the Golden Gate Bridge to sell you.

Here's another short poems I wrote about sports in the writing style of one of America's great poets.

After Emily Dickinson   by Tom Meschery

I ran and ran until I caught
myself and passed me on the right
T'was on the way to triumph
At the finish line I crossed into the night.


  






Thursday, November 23, 2017

Rookie in the White House

Reading D Trumps rants about Lonzo Ball's dad and other rants about NFL football players, and pathetic needs to be acknowledged for every little things he does or says. Jeez! Fellows, does he remind you of an insecure free agent rookie at his first training camp. Just saying.

Speaking of Lonzo. I love the kids passing instincts. Gets the ball into teammates hands at exactly the right time for them to shoot in rhythm.

Sac Bee sports page got it right with this headline: Warriors Turn Every Game into a Big Deal. Opponents have been coming out in the first quarter with fire in their eyes. Warriors startled by the intensity. Better get used to it, Dubs. You've got a targets on the backs of your jerseys. Got to deal with it. It might take some ass-kicking ie: last night's romp by OKC, etc. for the light bulb to click on.

Still, how often will Warriors face three guys accruing 90% of total points. Steady Paul George, but not Carmelo, and not Westbrook.

Glad to see CJ Beathard will start for 49ers. My gut tells me he's a winner. Galapagos could be, but no telling about foreign islands. Bad pun, my wife says.

Looking back over a lifetime on this Thanksgiving Day, 2017, I am and always will be, as an immigrant and naturalized citizen of this great country, eternally grateful for sports, and for particularly for basketball that provided me with a pathway to identity. Let's hoop, not war; let's hoop, not casts slurs; let's hoop and cooperate; let's hoop and be generous of spirit; let's win a championship for the human race.

 Okay, so I'm a little sentimental this morning. I can't help but post this old quatrain, a lesson that I, perhaps, never learned well enough, hating losing the way I did.

Who Misses or Who Wins    by William Makepeace Thackeray

Who misses or who wins the prize
Go lose or conquer as you can;
But if you fall, or if you rise,
Be each, pray God, a gentleman.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Let's Get One Thing Straight

Whoever thought up the oft-said and dishonest, "It's not who I am," must be the winner of repetitive, sorry-ass, apologies for abusers, racists, and gropers in America, Donald Trump being the leading example in the later category.

This morning Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, used this statement to explain he is not a racist for a racist comment he made in 2013. Please note, not 1965, or 1980, but as recently as the first four years of Barrak Obama's presidency. By now, shouldn't you know better, or maybe not.

Let's get one thing straight, if you abuse anybody, you're an abuser; if you make racist comments or jokes, you are a racist; if you grab a women's genitals you are a sexual predator. It is who you are, not who you're not.

Here's Jone's statement made on video for a man who asked Jones if he'd tape a message for his fiancee. "Hey, Jennifer, congratulations on the wedding. Now, you know he's with a black girl tonight, don't you?" Joking, yes. But the color slipped out of your core prejudice, Jerry. In your mind, whether you knew it or not, the girl's skin color made your stupid notion of infidelity a greater sin, which was the point and beside the point of your message. Ha, ha. No one is laughing, except other racists.

So as not to end on a foul subject, here's a lovely poem about love and competition in the guise of a game we've all played.

Playing the Game      by Barbara Goldowsky 

You stick out your fist: stone
breaks my two fingers playing scissors.

You offer your hand, open.
I shred the palm: it's paper.
I am sill scissors.

Have you no heart? you ask.
But I am stone.

Your hand is still paper,
you wrap me up:
closer than blades,
harder than hearts.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Stats and etc

Don't you just love sports statistics? Take for example: Boston is working on a 13 game win streak for any team that started 0 -2. Geez. Has anybody figured out what the record is for consecutive wins following an 0-3 start, or an 0-4 start? I don't have access to the league office to find out or the patience to sift through online crap, but is it at all possible that the Sacramento Kings hold one of those records. I'm reasonably sure they lost a bunch of games in a row at the start of the season(s). I'm just saying. I don't mean to be snarky, but stats and analytics drive me nuts. It's all about technology. Recently, I heard some smart person created a room in which people with tech issues could pay a fee, go into, and using a bat provided to them, beat the hell out of technology. Sign me up.

Is there a won and done high school somewhere? There must be, funded by the Coach Calapari Foundation. Last night's game agains Kansas Calapari started five freshmen. Gonzaga beat up on Howard last night, but Howard is an intellectual school, and the Zags, well not so much.

Garapolo, or as my wife, the foodie calls him, Gorgonzola, wins the award for most handsome QB in the NFL, but I'm thinking the 49ers need to give CJ Beathard a serious look. QB is alll about the O-Line. When the Hawkeye standout got protection he stayed up and stood out.

I hate Tom Brady's Trump politics, but he is the best quarterback in the NFL and could wind up ranking in the top five, ever. I keep in mind, Picasso was a great painter, but a real jerk.

I see where the Raiders broke ground for their new stadium in Las Vegas. I've finally reconciled the move, and figure, if it had to be, Vegas is the only place the Silver and Black could have gone. Vegas Raiders has a certain ring to it, and Vegas being what it is, there'll be plenty of Oakland folks willing to fly down and keep the legacy alive. How about the team providing day-of-game charter planes? Charge a small fee, serve booze. My wife says to sign her up. She'd go just to see the costumes and the people, forget the booze. But don't forget the blackjack tables.

Here we go again, as Ronald Reagan used to say: Donald Trump admiring the Philippines' Dictator President Rodrigo Duterte, who's got one of the worst human rights records on our planet, and recently implied that it's ok to snuff reporters. Vladimir KGB Putin, now this madman? The only silver lining I see in this ominously dark trump cloud is that once he and all his cronies are behind bars, perhaps the Middle Class in America will finally get it that the Republican Party has never been, is not, and never will be, on their side.

Sherman Alexie, a Native American, is one of his homeland's great writers. I particularly love his short stories and poems. Here's one about basketball.. I hope the Ball family kids read this poem.

Penance   by Sherman Alexie

I remember sun-days when the man I
call my father made

me shoot free throws, one
for every day of my life
so far. I remember
the sin of imperfect

spin, the ball falling in-
to that moment between
a father and forgive-

ness. between the hands reach-
ing up and everything
they can possibly hold.



Sunday, November 12, 2017

Shoplifting in China

I read in this morning's sports page that the three UCLA basketball players arrested for shoplifting will remain behind in Hangzhou while the rest of the team returns to America to start their season.
"That serves them right, the idiots," my wife says. I say, "Isn't shoplifting some kind of rite of passage for boys?" "Yeah, but most do it when they're twelve, not eighteen and in college," my wife says, adding, "they stole Louis Vuitton sunglasses, not Playboy Magazines."

One of the young men is DiAngelo Ball, the brother of Lonzo Ball, the NBA Lakers' first round draft choice heralded to be the next Magic Johnson (never happen) and son of the kookiest sports dad since the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams. What motivates fathers (and mothers) to  insert themselves so strongly and negatively into the lives of their children? The easy answer is ego and a desire for fame that they, otherwise, believed they deserved in their own lives. The hard answer runs something like this: mental illness.

In the summer before my son Matthew, who was on his eighth grade basketball team, entered high school, he came to me and said,"Dad, in high school, the band and the basketball team practises at the same time, would you be terribly disappointed?" Matt went on to play music and for a while after college had a Hip Hop band named OPM that toured Europe and for six weeks was Top of the Pops in England. Although he no longer has the band, Matt still writes and publishes songs. I wonder if the Ball kids ever had a chance to make their own choices. And what does that do to their personalities, that their lives were determined for them?

Meschery's Trump Watch: Since Donald Trump's inauguration on January 20, 2017 at 9 AM, it is 295 days, 23 hrs, 49 min,and 33 sec and counting. On today's Internet, there was a quote by the North Korean dictator calling Trump an old man. Trump replied by Twitter (of course)."I wouldn't call him short and fat." For 25 years I was a high school teacher, and I recognize two adolescents bad mouthing each other in the hall as their classmates egg them on. Aren't we lucky to have a president who at 71 acts like a sixteen year old?

As our adolescent president threatens nuclear war, here is one of the greatest anti-war poems I've ever read.

Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio    by James Wright

In the Shreve High football stadium,
I think of Polacks nursing long beers in Tiltonsville,
And gray faces of Negroes in the blast furnace at Benwood,
And the ruptured night watchman of Wheeling Steel,
Dreaming of heroes.

All the proud fathers are ashamed to go home.
Their women cluck like stared pullets,
Dying for love.

Therefore,
Their sons grow suicidally beautiful
At the beginning of October,
And gallop terribly against each other's bodies.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Jimmy

With the acquisition of Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo from the New England Patriots, the 49ers are clearly the winner of the Melanie Meschery Handsome Quarterback Award. The 49ers want him to be a star, Melanie wants him to pose for a portrait. I suggested Patris' morning life drawing sessions. That would work too, she replied. Melanie wanted Harrison Barnes of earlier Warrior success to pose as well. Let's hope Garoppolo is at least as good a quarterback as Harrison was a Warrior.

I need to draw attention to one of the better lines of sports writing. Here's a a paragraph from an article written by Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post about the Houston Astros, winners of this year's World Series: "Now, we have the "Houston Strongest" Series featuring two games that stand among the 10 best World Series games ever played, plus a jubilant, exuberant young champion that will bring power, energy, advanced critical thinking and athleticism to the sport for years."

ADVANCED CRITICAL THINKING? Was there any doubt this retired English teacher didn't raise his arms above his head  and whoop for joy? Now, if only the President and his clique would subscribe to the same kind of thinking.

My Warriors are off to an uneven start. Last night, at first it looked to be one of  those games that was going to fall diplomatically into the "uneven" category. Uneven, as more reasonably defined as total crap. But after the first dismal quarter, the Dubs rallied and defeated the Spurs soundly. How did they do it? The Warriors are deep off the bench. They are stronger at every position then they were last year when they won the championship, thus they can substitute with greater effectiveness than other teams. Eventually a team with seven strong players will succumb to a team with 12 strong players. It's a law of physics. Or Meschery's law, whichever you prefer.

Speaking of law. I wonder how long it will be before the law catches up to our lawless president. His collaboration with Vladimir Putin, an ex KGB hit-man is by any other name against the law. On the front page of our morning Sacramento Bee, there's a photograph of the Rump kissing the proposed new tax plan that will make wealthy people in our country more wealthy and the middle class poorer.
It is the same kissing pose were the tax plan Putin's buttocks.

Here's a baseball poem in honor of the the great World Series we witnessed.

To Satch   by Sam Allen

Sometimes I feel like I will never stop
Just go on forever
Till one fine monrnin
I'm gonna reach up and grab me a handfulla stars
Swing out my long lean leg
And zip three hot stikes bunrin down the heavens
And look over at God and say
How about that!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Al Attles Fashion Statement

Huge applause for Golden State Warriors' Coach Steve Kerr's imitation of Coach Al Attles Championship garb pm the night the team was honoring him A floral shirt collar over the top of the jacket collar was all the rage in the Seventies. Thank God, he didn't wear bells.

As well as the Wizards were playing in the first half of last night's game, shooting at over 50%, I never felt the Warriors were going to lose. If you've been in the game as long as I have, you can tell if a team is rattled, and the Warriors always seemed to me reasonably composed, albeit sometimes frustrated with their own performance.

Talking about composure, Bradly Beale lost his. Then Draymond Green lost his and his jersey, which Beale had ripped in half. Not sure what that was all about? Uniform envy? Given the league's stand against violence on the court, I suppose Draymond had to be ejected, but surely the NBA's eagle-eyed observers in New Jersey had to have seen that Beale started the ruckus with a hammerlock on Draymond's head, not to mention defiling Dray's uniform. My fine suggestion: Beale=$25,000; Green $999,00, Referees: $5,000 each for not seeing where the D & B trash-talk was leading.

Jim Barnett, the Warriors color commentator, quipped that if Al Attles, the great Warrior guard and HOF coach had been attacked by Beale, the Wizard guard would have been SWIFTLY dispatched by a few of Al's well known and lightening quick punches. Let it be known, Al Attles was pound for pound the second toughest player in the league back in the day. The first was Wilt Chamberlain, both terammates of mine. I never had to worry if I got in a fight, which I often did, that my back was not covered. Truth be told, their presence probably provided me with fool's courage.

In today's Life portion of my blog, how about this to ponder: Why is it that all these vile predators of females are creepy dudes? Like Harvey Weinstein, Bill O'Reilly, our creepy looking president, and this California Assembly creature, Bocanegra accused of groping in this morning's newspaper? I use the word creepy rather than ugly, which they are, but there have been saints who were ugly, and I don't want to give ugly a bad name. Back to the creepy dudes. Without their power or money, they couldn't find a date in a Sultan's harem.

With my upcoming birthday, I've been perusing old jock poems and found this. I may have posted this one on a previous birthday blog, but most poetry is better re-and-reread.

Ulysses    by Claude Clayton Smith

There is yet some elastic
in this tired old jock,
enough to toss the ball
around and teach my son
Telemachus the subtle art
of looking left - while
thinking right. To catch
the opposition napping,
to cross them up and leave
them guessing. Elastic
yet to flip the pages of 
faded clippings and narrate
tales than live as legends:
the hours of practice,
the hard-fought game,
the occasional moments
of glory.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Warriors' Third Championship and etc

That Steve Kerr continues to emphasize JOY proves to me once again how completely he understands the condition of today's NBA. The 84 game season is too long and too grueling to be won simply by loading up great players. Or by having a stalwart defense; or by possessing a fearsome offense; or by X's and O's, or creative match-ups, or game day strategies, or successful practices, or luck, although all these obviously figure into a winning equation. But to win it all, the ring and the glory, in today's game, a team must possess an intangible. For Coach Kerr, this is JOY. What other coaches decide is the intangible that best fits their team, they must make that determination for themselves. But there can not fail to be one. Because, finally, basketball is the quintessential "touchy, feely" team sport. It's a form of modern dance; it's Isadora Duncan at her instinctive best. So, JOY make so much sense to me. It's what ever kid who loves basketball takes with him to the playground and returns home with him from the playground, the ball tucked under his arm, joy in his heart.

As the first game of the 2017/18 NBA season approaches, I'm with Coach Kerr all the way with his JOY for the game, for his players, and the JOY his players will give back to him with another RING.

At the top of page 7 of the Sacramento Bee sports section: a color photograph of Hertha Berlin soccer players taking a knee before their German Bundesliga (that's the top pro league in Germany) match in solidarity with their NFL brothers in sports. "We're no longer living in the 18th century but in the 21st century," Herta defender Sebastian Langkamp told Sky TV at half-time. "There are some people, (think Trump and Pence) however, who are not that far ideologically yet. if we [his team] can give some lessons there with that then that's good."

In the photograph there are seven players kneeling. Except for one black player, the rest are white. Are you paying attention WHITE NFL players? Are you at all embarrassed to be schooled by German soccer players?

In honor of baseball playoffs, though I rarely watch.

Pastime   by Emilio De Grazia

A girl nine years of wonder
Still on her face,
Stands directly on the bag at third
Running amazed fingers along the wrinkles
Of my old leather mitt.
It is the bottom of the ninth,
And everywhere in the world
The bases are loaded.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Enough Already with the ScruffyAss Beards.

I've nothing against a nicely trimmed beard, but what's with the bug filled nests some professional athletes are allowing to envelop their jaws. Will their wives even kiss them? Would any sane person let those beards near their faces? Yuk! Double Yuk! my wife, Melanie, adds.

That said, I'm proposing a contest for the ugliest, most scruffy, beard in pro sports. The winner will receive the President Rutherford B Hayes Award. I would have picked James Garfield whose beard was longer, but he got assassinated, and I don't want to imply any desire on my part for the futured departure of the candidates. My picks for the RBH Award are the following:

NBA James Harden - Houston Rockets

MBL Dalles Keachel - Houston Astros

NFL Eric Weddle - LA (really, another LA team) Chargers

NHL Joe Thorton - San Jose Sharks

STARTERS (nba talk show commentator) Trey Kerby.

Comment on your choice or add your picks. 

On another subject. Our so called president (he doesn't deserve a capital p) is trying to force NFL owners into firing players who kneel during the playing of the National Anthem as a way of protesting their belief that police forces discriminate against African American males. The protest is not about dishonoring the flag, donald, can't you get that through your weeny brain.. Americans have been protesting successfully since we protested mightily against the King of England and won our Independence. I'm reasonably certain King George thought we were dishonoring the British Flag. Hell, we didn't just kneel, we burned that flag and threw their damn tea into the drink. And, finally, we shot their soldiers and wrote our Constitution that allows for peaceful protest.

Anyway, I've long given up on the idea the Trump has ever read our Constitution, let alone a synopsis of it, to worry about such stupidity. Didn't his own Secretary of State call him a moron?

Anyway, twice said, it seems clear that in the future there will be a great deal of pressure applied to the black members of the NFL teams by owners and NFL officials. It is time, high time, more  than high time, for the white players on each of the NFL teams, no matter what their stance is toward the flag, to support their black brothers and take a knee. They don't have to kneel for the entire time of the playing, a half would be symbolic enough to tell Donald Trump to stuff his intimidation where the sun doesn't shine. And they don't have to do it for all the games. But they must do it once, all at once, as a show of solidarity, for team unity, for team friendship, for team loyalty, for team humanity.

I commented recently that Melania Trump rarely smiles and never looks happy. My wife's response was something she heard from an aunt long ago, "No women works harder for a living than one who marries for money." I get it.

Beard Poem  by Tom Meschery

What are you hiding
in that mess? A kernel
of something in the future
you can eat, like squirrels
or rodents that escape
the nightly owls's winged 
prowl do for when winter
comes, kept cozy
in your furry jaw-line purse
for after those bountiful
seasons end, and you
in all your glory, will join
your bearded brothers 
signing on street corners.
 





Thursday, October 5, 2017

It's the Mind Set

Or an earlier generation would say, a Raised Conciseness. What am I referring to? Until sports pages decision makers begin to understand that winning the WNBA Championship is far more significant than reading about why Frank Gore is not bitter towards the 49ers, these men (or woman?) will be stuck forever in a Male First Mind Set.

Congrats to the Minnesota  Lynx on winning the WNBA Championship. That's four titles in seven years. WhooWa! Are there any male sports team recently who have been this accomplished?

Did any basketball player in our country (or any civilian for that matter) get upset watching tone deaf Donald Trump shooting rolls of paper-towels to his audience of Puerto Ricans who are suffering for lack of clean drinking water and the necessities to make a decent meal?  Is Trump now the captain of the Knucklehead team? The Insensitive Team? The Rex Tillerson Moron Team?

Why the heck are the LA Lakers being featured so often during preseason in prime time and the Warriors, NBA Champs for two out of three years, relegated to 11 pm PST?? Or not at all? Can Alonzo Ball turn on the NBA that frigging much? He still can't shoot the jumper with anybody in his face. Okay, he's got tremendous assist instincts. But we'll see who he can guard once the season starts.

Holy Makeover, the Cavs, without Kyrie, are an improved team with one caveat. As long as Wade and Rose stay healthy - Rose because he's prone to injury and Wade because he's old and been through the wars.

Got to love it when pitchers get big hits. Right on Archie Bradley of the Diamondbacks for the huge triple in the 7th inning. It woke me out of a deep sleep. Sorry baseball fans.

Do I hate the new NBA All-Star selection rules. Yes and No. Yes, because I hated the last ones, allowing the selection to become a fan contest. No, because it reminds me so much of the playgrounds - two guys, always the best two on the court, picking players. Remember the last two youngsters waiting patiently to be picked, trying not to look embarrassed. Which two NBA player are going to be the LAST TWO in this incarnation?  Embarrassing????

The following is one of the funniest and saddest poems about sport/life I've read in a long time. That Louisville the basketball NCAA Cheater is referenced is pure luck.

Louisville Feared in Mideast    By Steven Bryan Bieler

     after a newspaper headline

You can't buy baseball bats in Israel.
You can't bring them in, either
(The batting gloves tucked in your belt give you away.)
God forbid you could poke somebody's eye out
Louisville feared in Mideast

You can't make crime pay in Egypt
Egyptian justice will track you down
You cell has no windows, no telephone, no Reader's Digest
They turn on the TV
NCAA basketball playoffs
Louisville feared in Mideast

You can't predict the price of oil
With the tools of supply and demand
The Arab oil ministers use their own tools
"And in today's results
Chiropractor ran last in the fourth
While Stormin' Norman failed to show."
Louisville feared in Mideast





Thursday, September 28, 2017

Hoyer is Right. Listen Up, Dividers.

Brian Hoyer, 49er's starting QB is spot on when he says the President should be influenced by what a sports team offers by way of justice, unity, and equality. Having never participated on a team, other than, perhaps, some lily white rich kids preppy school junior varsity, what does he know about about sports, let alone diversity. Has Trump ever followed the advice of Atticus Finch to his daughter, Scout in Harper Lee's novel, To Kill a Mocking Bird, and walked in someone else' shoes but his own? Never. Otherwise, he would not be speaking about NFL players the way he is.

Being an immigrant to the United States, arriving on these welcoming shores after the Second World War, and having taken an oath of loyalty when I was 16 years old and becoming a naturalized citizen, I honor the symbol of our flag. But I can not honor it when it acts as a symbol for false patriotism and promotes animosity between our races. Like Brian Hoyer, I have experienced the broad ethnic, cultural, and religious differences that co-exist in harmony in sports locker rooms. Even though my instinct would be to stand for our National Anthem, given my absolute distaste for and horror of our President, these days I'd surely be on my knees in solidarity with my black brothers.

I found it surprising and touching watching Jerry Jones, owner of the Cowboys, his sons, and team officials, kneeling first, then standing with locked arms during the playing of the National Anthem. Jones supported Trump's election, but would not let that interfere with him being one with all the members of his team. His Team, Not Donald Trump's team. His solution may be the best one that satisfies both patriotism and the rights of all people to protest injustice:

Front page of this morning's Chronicle: the Warriors, the Most Hated Team. What in the hell is going on. Have we sunk that low in our country that because a team wins championships and rejects the White House, now they are HATED? Hate is a hell of a loaded word. I can think of a lot of groups to hate: Klu Klux Klan, Aryan Brotherhood, Nazi, White Supremists, and White Nationalists, for example. Hate a sport's team?? I hate David Duke. Anybody got a problem with that can see me any time any place. At 79 years old, I can kick any racists' ass without breaking a sweat. Okay, a slight exaggeration, but I'd definitely give it a try. Maybe with Draymond Green's help??

Last night I was on the phone with an old friend, retired Supreme Court Justice for the state of Washington, Don Horowitz. We've always been big talkers, able to spend hours on the phone yakking about all sorts of interesting, diverse topics. Last night, it seemed most of our conversation was about the Evil in the White House. This is what's happening all over America, the Beautiful.The donald, has usurped our peace of mind. He has made narcissistic self the focus of our troubled thoughts. I resent this Fake President terribly for so intruding on my life that I can't have a peaceful chat with an old friend, that every day since he's been in office, his name and image dictates the national conversation. An not for the good. History is going to treat this man very badly. His legacy will be a stain on our Republic.

In honor of Ken Burn's marvelous, revealing series about the Vietnam War, here's a Haiku I wrote about Mohammed Ali

Ali

Heavyweight title lost
   His stand against the Vietnam War
A butterfly's death

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Fake President

After what our fake president said about our NFL players who kneel during the National Anthem, I think it would be fitting this Sunday that all the black athletes kneel in protest. Just for one game, that would be enough. And it would show terrific solidarity if all the white guys joined in.

Who does this lily white, privileged, born with a silver spoon in his mouth think he is? He is certainly not an athlete. Athletes have courage and show respect for each other.

As for the NFL owners, they should get on board and stand up with their black players, who work so hard to make their teams financially successful. And people all over the country should stand up and send letters to their Congressmen and women and Senators objecting to such behavior and language coming out of the White House. Such low class by a President of this wonderful country of ours. Shame, shame!

Roger the Dodger's NFL response to Trump was weeny. NFL owners, you got what you paid for. (Anybody interested, check the web to see how much $ the NFL owners contributed to the Trump campaign.) Now you owners must live with this fool. But the players don't have to, and shouldn't. I'd love to see what happens to your investments if the black players pulled out and formed their own league - all owners' worst nightmare. 

Hurrah for the Golden State Warriors for rejecting the White House. Hurrah for LeBron James for standing up for his rivals, the Warriors. LeBron, you showed some real class.

Our country is in a standoff with the Korean madman, (Truly serious stuff going on, like mushroom clouds and Chernobyl type fallout drifting our way) and our madman is wasting time criticizing a few athletes. Give me a f--king break!

Oh, beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain.
America, America!
Why're you suffering such pain? 

America, God shed his grace on thee
And crown they good with brotherhood
And sisterhood of all our rainbow colors
From sea to shining sea.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Thank God for Football

Okay, I know all about concussions and the hypocrisy of big time football (college and NFL), but I can't help it; I love watching the game. And now, my grandson by marriage, Jaxon West is making high school news at linebacker for Rio Americano High, intercepting passes, sacking quarterbacks.
Look out Clay Matthews.

Anyway, football will keep my jock juice flowing until basketball starts. What about baseball, one might ask. Ask ahead. I loved playing the game, but watching it is an entirely different proposition. I'm simply not a stats kind of guy, and I've never been very patient. So, a game of balls and strikes with occasional hits and runs has me switching to the food channels. Going to the baseball park is a little better because of the beer and hotdogs. Minor league parks are hands down the best in the food department. When I played for the Philadelphia Warriors back in the day, I used to occasionally drive up to Scranton and watch a Triple A game. Jewish Nationals in a soft bun with lots of sauerkraut and ice cold Rolling Rock. Under those circumstances, a pitchers duel, however boring, was ok by me. Tickets were cheap and the players at that level were intense. They were either on the way up to the Bigs or heading down and trying to get back.  So, it was all about hustle.

My biggest beef with football is the god darn commercials that ruin the flow of the game. I've already blogged about this, but it's worth repeating. When commercial time is equal to playing time, something is wrong.

I'm a huge Oakland Raiders fan and have been loyal to them ever since my best friend, Bill King, broadcast the games on radio. Looks like the East Bay finally has a team with all the skill set players capable of wining a championship, and for years to come, barring injuries. I'll remain a fan until they move to Lost Wages. Is Davis a greedy prick, or what?

Since I grew up in The City, my loyalty also extends somewhat to the San Jose 49ers. The 49ers owner finally made a good decision hiring youth to run the organization. I don't have much hope for them until they get a legit qb. Hoyer is fine backup and always will be a backup. The coach needs to give CJ Beathard a shot, but I agree with ex 49er qb Garcia that they should bide their time and let the kid grow and learn, but at some point, especially if the season starts to fall apart, as I suspect it will with Hoyer at the helm, they need to let Beathard get his feet wet.

Only about 30 more days before the NBA. WhooWah! Here's a suggestion. I think the NBA should ban their players from using Twitter. It only gets them in trouble. Recent misstep by Durant is a case in point, and then the young man had to apologize and nobody was really happy. Twitter is an apt name for this medium as it requires only the intelligence of a Twit to use it. Donald Trump being the biggest Twit of all.

I've been trying to write poems in a Chinese form called a Cheuh-Chu, which is a very concise poem of four lines. Here's one about ex NFL great qb Joe Kapp when he played for the Vikings.

Joe Kapp

Ran for out the out of bounds, but didn't
Ran for first and extra yard, fans cheering
Only gringos run out of bounds he states
After the touchdown, microphones in his face


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Sports Academies

In this morning's sports page I read about Jordan Brown, Woodcreek High School's (Roseville, CA) 6'11" talented power forward rated #6 overall in the country opting to leave his school and enroll in Christian High School, a national powerhouse sports academy in Napa, CA. Jordan's father is quoted as saying he wants his son to be in a setting where he's challenged atheltically at a higher level. He's probably right from the point of view of the sport. But is he right from the point of view of his son's overall personal growth?

This last question bears on my problem with sports academies. Does it do young  athletes any good to lump them all into an environment where there is very little intellectual, social, and cultural diversity? By their nature, sports academies are elitist. Public high schools, by their nature, are not. They more closely imitate the democratic pluralism of our country's society. It seems to me that it would be pretty easy, perhaps even likely, for teenagers in sports academies to see themselves as special, a idea that will not help them once their sports days are over, and they have to fit into the normal day to day life. And, except for a tiny percentage who go on to become first round draft choices, those days come faster then they or their parents anticipated.

Sports academies, like charter schools, (another form of elitism in education) are not, unfortunately, going to disappear, and will more than likely increase in numbers as sports continue to become more and more big biz. So, I'm just blowing off a little retired teacher steam. I've always believed strongly, warts and all, in our public schools system being the best way to educate youngsters to be inclusive and compassionate thinking adults.

I Bless This Man   Pindar from Nemea 11 translated by Richmond Lattimore

I bless this man for Agesias, his father,
for the splendor and linked serenity of his limbs.
Yet if one, keeping wealth, surpass in beauty likewise
and show his strength by excellence in the games,
let him remember the limbs he appoints are mortal
and that he must put upon him earth, the end of all things.

In the speech of good citizens he should win praise
and be a theme of elaboration in the deep, sweet singing.  

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A World Without Color

If this country from its beginning was the one the KKK, Neo-Nazi, and White Nationalists envision for America today, what a boring, bland, impoverished land it would be. Think of the music, literature, sculpture, art that we love and cherish today that would never have existed and that we'd be unable to enjoy. Think of never witnessing the great athletes of color that made us cheer and make us cheer today. Think of the cuisine that would not be on our table and in our restaurants today without people of color. Those tiny minds, those hateful people - their world so tastelessly white without the spices of color - such pitiful lives. If these hate groups were not so despicable, one might almost feel sorry for them.

More NFL players are taking a knee. Right on. Kap YOU started it, NOW, the rest of you brave men take the ball he passed to you and head for the end zone.

White NFL players, you got to take a knee with your brothers of color. You can not wuss out!

NFL Commissioner: "I don't "necessarily" agree with them [NFL players taking a knee}. That's one of the most wussy statements I've ever heard in my life. You agree or you don't. There's no fence sitting in Trump's America.

Americans of all colors, faiths, national origins and cultures fought and died defeating the Nazi in World War II. It's time to fight the Nazis again.

Let's start the fight in our own sports backyard. We athletes can get the ball rolling. 

To Satch (or an American Gothic)   by Samuel Allen

Sometimes I feel like I will never stop
Just go on forever
Till one fine morning
I'm gonna reach up and grab me a handfulla stars
Swing out my long lean leg
And whip three hot strikes burning down the heavens
And look over at God and say
How about that!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Abraham Lincoln

The Republican Party is the party of Abraham Lincoln. What do you think President Lincoln would think of President Trump?

In this morning's Sacramento Bee sports page, Ailene Vosin asked who'd you'd take in a Golden State Warrior's Coach Steve Kerr and a Donald Trump standoff? Kerr, hands down. Kerr would take Trump and Bannon one on two, and beat them into the ground, hands down. Bigots are crap athletes. The KKK and Neo Nazis couldn't field a team in any sports that could compete at any level, kindergarten included.

Hooray for Eric Reid, "won't kneel but won't stop talking." He's right, there is a huge amount of support for Colin Kaepernick in American across every spectrum of our society, except for a small segment of white males over fifty, mostly those who are under-educated, (and some younger white bigots they've brainwashed, Add to this group aging wealthy whites who are  frightened of people of different colors.

Speaking of colors.  Did you happen to see all the different and wonderfully diverse colors competing against each other at the World Track and Field Championship in London. Shades of skin color is the future, Trump and Bannon, take note. Pure white is on it's way out. Pure any color is on it's way out. We will be a bi-racial world not too long in the future. If you have any doubts, you might want to check out television advertising: biracial couples all over the tube selling products. When it comes to the bottom line, the ad biz is always ahead of the curve.

Joe Kapp     by Tom Meschery

For years I've enjoyed telling the story
about Joe Kapp refusing to run out of bounds
in a crucial game after gaining enough yards,
as all quarterbacks are taught to do to save
themselves from injury. Kapp, a Mexican-American,
said to reporters after the win: Only gringos
run out of bounds. I'm thinking of this moment
in sports while driving home having just
hired a Mexican worker to help me finish
my patio. He is a strong looking man
from Vera Cruz with a wife and four children.
He doesn't look at all like Kapp and the years
between Kapp's game and my unfinished patio
are many, so I'm trying to decide why Kapp
came to mind. Something to do with toughness
I decide.Since growing old I've hired
Mexican workers and always been amazed
at how hard they work the most back breaking jobs,
and I think of the Conservatives complaining
about our borders not being strong enough,
and I'm willing to bet those same Republicans
in a crucial game, with angry linebackers
bearing down on them, would run
out of bounds to save their asses, which
I'd love to explain to the worker who tells me
his name is Jimmy, but Jaime in Spanish,
but I don't speak his language well enough. 



Monday, August 14, 2017

Adam Silver for President of the United States

Adam Silver, the Commissioner of the National Basketball Association, banned Donald Sterling, the owner of the LA Clippers for life and fined him 2.5 million for racist remarks, and our President, Donald Trump doesn't even have the courage to name by name the evil hate mongering Neo Nazi and white supremacists who threaten our democracy. Well, Trump has made David Duke, KKK leader very happy. Birds of a feather. No doubt!

Huge news in sports, but not on the front page where it should have been: Allyson Felix tied Usain Bolt for total gold medals won in the Olympics and World Championships. THAT'S HUGE. And guess what, she's going to run in the next Olympics. Can't wait.

I'm agree with Coach Jack Del Rio that it's important to stand for our National Anthem. I like to think of our flag as symbolic of our best ideals, in the hope that they will one day be fully realized for all the people who live within the boundaries of our country. 

So now we have Marshawn Lynch sitting as the National Anthem is played. Del Rio is right to respect Lynch's belief. But what exactly is it? He just said he was being himself. What does that mean? I prefer the courage of Kaepernick, who made it absolutely clear why he was kneeling. And, frankly, I prefer kneeling to sitting. Kneeling is a stance taken while praying. To pray for a more just system of laws is a good idea. Sitting, that's just resting. It carries no symbolic meaning. Sitting is not courageous. Not naming things by name is not courageous. Kap is out of work because the NFL owners are pretty wussy when it comes to courage. Sort of like Donald Trump. 

In honor of Allyson Felix, a track poem about my daughter who was fast for a while.

Middle School Track Meet

            For Janai

My daughter is signed up to run the 100 
and 200 meter dashes. She is fast but not as fast
as the girl warming up next to her. I'm trying
to decide what to say to my daughter
on the drive home about coming in second,
which I often did in sports. And with women
and hated it. My best friend Ned always came in 
first with women, and they found me later,
a shoulder to cry on, which is something
I don't need to tell my daughter, but has,
for reasons best confessed to an analyst,
always rankled me. I could say that being
first doesn't mean you're a better person.
It only means you reached the tape
before the rest of the runners. That effort
is all that counts in life, which I know
to be a lie promulgated by people
who inherited first having never run a race.
This will not comfort my daughter
as she is too young to be interested
in the inequities of society. Crouched
at the starting line, she's waiting for the gun.
She'll give every ounce of her strength,
out of the blocks and down the track.

 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

What's Wrong with this Picture?

Just so you understand before I begin what may turn out to be a rant, that as a basketball player I never backed down physically and even threw an elbow or two or three. That said, what's wrong with this picture in the sports pages of the Sacramento Bee?

Headline: Cowboys' Elliot suspended for six game in domestic case.

Front page next story down: "Violent, mean and ruthless': Vanderdoes Learned Lesson Well. Gosh, I guess Cowboys' running back Ezikial Elliot learned it well too.

Page 4: Stunner: U.S. finishes 1-2 in women's steeplechase. STUNNER. TWO WOMEN, Emma Coburn and Courteny Frerichs, win a significant INTERNATIONAL competition, defeating Kenyan and Ethiopian women who have been dominating this event for years.

ABUSIVE MALE and a young man who advertises VIOLENCE, MEANNESS, and RUTHLESSNESS. Is there something wrong here????? Sure, I understand the violence, etc is meant to be confined to the football field. But, maybe, just maybe, such learned traits become habit and spill over into one's day to day life. Looks that way for Ezikial who, by the way, beat up his girlfriend. I suspect the running back is just a tad stronger that her, and definitely more violent. Guys that beat up women are cowards. That's the bottom line, COWARDS.

There was nothing cowardly about how Emma and Courteny finished their race, powerful runners both of them, completely in control, testing every last ounce of their courage. They should have been the headline on the front page. Shame on the Bee.

Courage   by Tom Meschery

I ran and ran 
until I caught myself
and passed me 
on the right
triumphant 
to the finish line'
and crossed 
into the night





Monday, July 31, 2017

Front Page of Newspaper Sports Section - you gotta be kidding.

I'm not indicting all newspapers, but I'm betting that most front pages of sports sections around the country look a  lot like the one in this morning's Sacramento Bee. (Monday 31, 2017)

The following are the four front page articles: #1: NBA Kings hire an assistant GM.  #2: Baseball' Hall of Fame Inductions. #3 Arik Armstead, Offensive tackle for the 49er looses a bunch of weight and can run faster. #4 The Dodgers kick the sh-t out of the Giants.

Of the four articles headlining the front page, only one deserved that exclusive position: men inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame. I enjoyed the read. Congratulations for long and worthy careers.

The other three, are you kidding me? An "assistant" on the front page? A porker loosing weight so he a can "tag" a quarterback in the first couple of days of practice. Do I really care? Does it mean, he'll be able to "tackle" a quarterback in a real game? Not a given. And a bunch of looser loosing to a a hated rival. The Giants' are in last place. Read my lips, LAST place. Who gives a sh-t?

These three articles took the place of the following sports news: Caleb Dressel won his 7th gold medal of the world aquatics championship in Budapest, Hungry. WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP.  He's the first swimmer, ever, to win 3 golds in one night in a major swimming event. Dressel's seven golds tie a record set by the illustrious Michael Phelps. I would have liked to read more about the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP. There were a bunch of women swimmers competing and taking golds. And, an American won the 27 meter high dive. I think the Aquatic World Championship is far more interesting than Armstead shedding pounds, so he can be quicker off his feet.

Two other stories deserved front page news that wound up on the back pages. The women's soccer team came from behind in spectacular fashion to beat Brazil and move into the final round of the Tournament of Nations. Bernard Langer won the Senior British Open for his record-extending 10th senior major title and 5th in the last 10. Come on, don't those two accomplishments sound a hell of a lot more interesting than news of the basement dwelling and desultory Giants or the King's hiring an "assistant."

One might ask, why did the Bee give preference to an "assistant", to "weight loss" and to an "ass-kicking?" Here's the answer. Sports editors pander to the so-called "major" sports. The Giants don't deserve front page news. The 49ers were the second worst team in the NFL last season. How do you spell "worst.?" Not best. Not even mediocre. You tell me why Armstead's conditioning deserves to be on the front page and Julie Ertz is relegated to a couple of sentences in the back of the section. Ah, man, are we back to that tired, old gender thing?

Sports sections should devote their front pages to sporting accomplishments - to deeds worthy of our best dreams..

Here's a thought in honor of Bernard Langer, who is becoming more famous as a professional golfer in his senior years. It's the last four lines of Alfred Lord Tennyson's Ulysses. In the poem, Ulysses, the Greek epic hero, is growing old and wants to go out on one more adventure. He's exhorting his old sailors and comrades to join him, but they are reluctant.

How dull it is to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use,
As though to breathe were life. 

Bernard Langer is not simply breathing, as he grows old, he's doing, like Ulysses, setting an example for all of us seniors to follow.




Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Awh, Tax Considerations for Millionaires

I am shocked, just shocked that NBA players have to pay such high taxes. Isn't there anything that the federal government can do about it? Millionaire are soooo taken advantage of by states.

What's that song: Do not cry for me Argentina. Well, don't cry for these star pro athletes who live in a country where tax shelters for the rich are as many as prairie dog holes in the desert.

But, let's get a little perspective on the situation. Let's look at a teacher's annual salary top scale after 30 years, which would be approximately $80,000. Even if that teacher was paid the top salary for all the years he or she taught (which, of course, he or she doesn't) that would amount to $2, 400,000. after being in the classroom trances for 30 years. Gordon Hayward, after those ridiculously high taxes will net $69.4 million after four years of being in the NBA trenches. My math maybe a tad off, but that looks to me like $2.4 mil a teacher makes over 30 years amounts to 3.5 % of what Hayward will make in 4 years.

With those kind of numbers staring them in the face, how can teachers complain that they are being underpaid?

I paid professional basketball in the NBA for ten years. It was fun. I worked my butt off as I know these present day athletes do, but I guarantee that one year of playing pro ball (as entertaining as it is) does not improve our society as much as a single day of a teacher teaching a classroom of 30 youngsters.

I'm not angry with the players, nor am I angry with the NBA league or team ownership. They are trying to put together the best entertainment product they can. The NBA has tons of money these days, and as far as I can tell is sharing equitably No gripes from me. I love the game.

However, what I don't like is some dumb-ass sports-writer writing a "woe is me" article, similar to the one I read in today's Sacramento Bee about the inequities of state by state taxation on pro athletes, as if the average citizen gives a crap about pro ball players having to pay high taxes. Like I give a rat's ass that Billionaires in the United States need tax breaks.

 Give me a break!

It's not a sports poem, but one I wrote about teaching, which is in my first collection Nothing You Lose Can Be Replaced.

The Suicide     by Tom Meschery

One teacher says she saw it coming
which drives he rest of us by lunch
crazy with guilt, remembering the old
ed. movie: Cipher in the Snow.

So we promise ourselves, next period
there'll be no ciphers. We'll even embrace
the wall-eyed one who lurks in the back
drawing obscenities on his desk.

Of course we don't, returning to decorum
with the bell, to Marilyn passing notes,
Harry's runny nose, Carrie's menstrual cramps,
essays overdue, forgotten texts.

In sixth period, one girl by the window starts
to weep, but when I ask was he her friend,
she shakes her head; she never knew him,
but thinks he was her brother's best friend's' cousin.

Suddenly the room is filled with students crying,
her tears having started a chain reaction,
the way one can't help humming a certain tune
or when frightened in the dark, whistling.







Monday, July 17, 2017

Not as Good as They Look and Not as Bad as They Look and etc

Although Lonzo Ball has had a fabulous Summer League, I'm still of the opinion because of his odd mechanics, he's going to have a lot of trouble trying to make his jump shots off the bounce. A Dennis Smith Jr's blush is off his rose. Unlike Ball, he doesn't trust his teammates as much as he should for a point guard, which leads me to ask if he's isn't a shooting guard.

A quick note about Lonzo:  Coaches of youngsters listen up? It's going to be your job to keep youngsters idolizing this rising star from modeling his weird shooting mechanics. Ball is an unusually talented player and might get away with it, but it will not serve other kids well. 

If I were the Lakers, I'd keep most of their Summer League starters, G League, wherever. Dallas might have a sleeper in China's MVP, Ding if they provide him with lots of instruction over the summer and minutes on the court.

Kings' 7'1" first round pick from last year, Papagiannis would benefit from the Pete Newell Big Man's Camp that has been resurrected by Cal Bear great Bill McClintock. The kids' footwork is lousy and he brings the ball down below his shoulders. There must be some film somewhere of Clyde Lee of the Warriors somewhere to show him.

I'm not sure about this, but I'm going to throw it up in the air and see if it sticks. This years of draft choices could be heralding a new NBA era. There are going to be a lot of star players making their bones beginning with the 2017/18 season. The Curry, Harden, Westbrook Durant era will be the Paul, Carmelo, James, era in 4 years and these new studs will be moving into their prime. 

Etc beings me to 36 year-old Roger Federer winning Wimbledon for his eighth and record breaking time.

Dell Martin, Rhodes scholar  and one time Stanford sprinter sent me this fabulous tennis sonnet.

Prothalamion    by Maxine Kumin

The far court opens for us all July.
Your arm, flung up like an easy sail bellying,
comes down on the serve in a blue piece of sky
barely within reach, and you following
tip forward on the smash. The sun sits still
on the hard white linen lip of the net. Five-love.
Salt runs behind my ears at thirty-all
At game I see the sweat that you're made of.
We improve each other, quickening so by noon
that the white game moves itself, the universe
contracted to the edge of the dividing line
you toe against, limbering for your service,
arm up, swiping the sun time after time,
and the square I live in, measured out with lime. 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Is This Just a Little Nuts, or What?

Our country's sports leadership better not blast the former East Germany for measuring, weighing, and analyzing their babies for future athletic prowess too much, at the risk of sounding hypercritical. In today's sports page, I read about Neiko Primus, considered by our "measuerers" to be the best FOURTH grader basketball player in the United States. It scared me and saddened me. Such is the basketball world the AAU has created for today's youngsters. My grand daughter, 14 year old Carson Guite, plays on an AAU team out of Petaluma, CA. She's good and if she continues to work in high school, could very well get a scholarship to play in college, a result that would save her parents lots of money.

But the pressure for Neiko and other youthful phenoms looks very different from my granddaughter's. The financial nature of the AAU basketball subjects kids like Neiko to a great deal of pressure in their lives, pressure that no amount of good parenting will be able to completely eliminate. And for kids with parents with poor parenting skills, the results could be tragic. Greedy parents can do a lot of damage to their children by instilling in them unrealistic expectations of athletic greatness. The let down when it happens - and it mostly does - can be devastating. It is at an older age, how much more at a young age? Fourth grade? Is this insane or what?

The reality is there's not much this blogger can do except to voice his opinion to lighten up on the young age groups. Give them a chance to climb trees or play curb baseball or ride their bikes. When should organized practices and organized games begin? How about middle school? Will this ever happen? Not a chance. Why? Because there's too much money being made off our youngsters by the people who run AAU. Kid's mental and physical health vs money. Guess what wins? It's no contest.

In the spirit of simple play and fun, no pressure, let's stay young, here's an old rhyme

Come on In       Anonymous

Come on in,
The waters fine.
I'll give you
Till I count to nine.
If you're not 
In by then,
Guess I'll have to
Count to ten.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

A Little More About the 2017 Summer League

The Bulls have a winner in Lauri Maarkanen. More physical than I originally believed. He could wind up being the next generations' Dirk Nowitski.

The Warriors did not overwhelm. I figured McCaw and Damian Jones would do well. Jabari Brown demonstrated he's got a chance, but he might be better off in Europe for a couple of years, then try again.

The Lakers Lonzo Ball did indeed make a triple double. But 5 of 13 and 1 of 5 from deep is not impressive, and will be the kid's undoing unless this is simply a case of nerves. Like I said before, from elbow to fingertips, his stroke is fine; it's that silly wind-up that's bothersome.

Since I'm not one of the old (very old) players who resents the $$$$$$$ these young men are making in the NBA today, I'll pass on Harden receiving $228 million. I must wonder, however, where in the calculations of worthiness in Houston does defense enter into the conversation.

The Knicks are only crazy bringing free agent Tim Hardaway Jr. for a dubious big bucks contract back to the Big Apple if they can't get rid of Carmelo. To me, Melo, is an albatross. Has been since he came out of Syracuse to torture George Karl in Denver. I hope the Rockets get him. It will be fascinating to see how D'Antoni figures out how to utilize Carmelo, Chris Paul and Harden to gether or separately while having anything close to the kind of defense required to go deep into the playoffs and/or win a championship.

The Kings have another winner in Justin Jackson. I loved his motor and bball IQ. Ah, you say, but these are only the Summer League games, and of course, you are right. But there's plenty of talent in Jackson to be extremely optimistic.

A quick note on baseball: Barry Bonds looking thrilled he's his plaque goes on the Giant's Wall of Fame. Cheaters sometimes win????

On the other side of the bay from Bonds, the A's were flourishing with Bill King behind the mic calling the games. It's not poetry, but here's a small reminder of my bearded friend, the best All-Around play by play man in sports. The following excerpt is from Holy Toledo: Lessons from Bill King Renaissance Man of the Mic by Ken Korrach, Wellstone Books. Fascinating reading.

"Defensive indifference, now the ball gets away behnd
the mound on a throwback! Coming home to score is
Jason Kendall! And on a freak play, the Athletics have
won the game and the series! You would not believe it!
That is one for the books! Holy Toledo!"


Saturday, July 8, 2017

Shout Sports' Talk Shows and etc

Jamie Horowitz, the godfather of shout sports talk shows, was fired. Hopefully that means that these dreadful, dumb-down shows will soon be off the air. That he was considered a TV genius for putting two "supposedly knowledgeable" sports guys sitting across from each other with a beautiful women in the middle as an arbiter (what a joke) shouting and arguing like a couple of dysfunctional
teenagers, is beyond comprehension. That he is accused of sexual misconduct does not surprise me. We are living in a society in which disrespect and low brow bullying is being accepted as normal behavior. Shouting a lot and being disrespectful to women, what president of the United States does that remind you of? Duh! Republicans, what do you think about this version of the "Trickle Down Effect?"

Sorry for the downer to start, but I'm outraged that our president is cozying up to Russia's Prez, Putin, a KGB killer. Yes, read my lips - KILLER. Make no mistake about it, as a KGB operative, that man has blood on his trigger finger. If anybody believes Putin was a simple KGB bureaucrat, shuffling papers, I've got the Golden Gate Bridge to sell you. In the eyes of many Russians these days, Putin is still killing his adversaries. John McCain had it right when he said, "I looked him [Putin] in the eyes, and I saw three letters: K.G.B."

I'm going to say this only once, a year from now, every person who voted for Donald Trump, except for some hard core fanatics, will regret their vote.

In the midst of such insanity; sports guys shouting at each other, our president. . . (oh the hell with it), there is the purity of sports to consider, The NBA Summer League, a bunch of gifted young men competing against each other to see who will join the ranks of the elites.

Yesterday was the first of the 2017 summer league televised from Las Vegas. Can't wait to comment after checking the games out more. Poor Lonzo Ball got an eye opener. That is one slow and weird looking jump shot he has. Once the real season starts, I can't imagine him getting clear shots off much less hitting them. But there is no doubt, the young man has the ability to facilitate and pass to open teammates. However, my guess is coaches will tell the guy guarding Ball to sluff off and play passing lanes, which sort of negates the kid's ability to penetrate.

The Kings have found their point guard of the future, in DeAaron Fox.  He'll have to earn his stripes, but I see him running the Kings from very early on, with George Hill at the Two to start with. Fox possesses lightning speed, (hands and feet) a great middle distance jumper, floater, and he finishes drives. He's long and is an excellent defender.

The Suns have  a rising star in Josh Jackson. Mike James may be a nice surprise.

I have a couple of terrific son-in-laws, who are fishermen. Here's a small quatrain in honor
of their fishing skills.

And Angling, Too    by Lord Byron  from Don Juan

And angling, too, that solitary vice,
Whatever Izaak Walton sings or says:
The quaint, old, cruel coxcomb, in his gullet
Should have a hook and a small trout to pull it.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

New Adds for Warriors and Kings

After reading today's Chronicle sports page, my wife asked me if Bob Meyers, the Warriors GM, had a Jesus complex. She was referring to him signing Nick Young. Was he considering waving a healing hand over the edgy, undisciplined, defensively challenged, three point shooter and resurrecting his career the way the Dubs did for JaVale Magee? The answer was a confident yes. But, I suspect, that unlike in the case of Magee, the healer will be Draymond Green who will be "in Nick's face" is he doesn't play Warrior D, which does not mean on the occasion when the spirit moves him.

Lots of noise about Young, but let's not forget the signing of Omri Casspi. It's my opinion that Omri will be the player of the two who will do something (not sure what) that will win a game or two for the Dubs. Unlike Young, Casspi has a high basketball IQ and is a committed and tough defender. He will also, on occasion, put his head down and drive the paint. And finish. Solid acquisition, Good going Bob.

Out of the bay and up the Sacramento River to Golden One Arena, Valde Divac and his Sacramento Kings team have signed two vets who will be crucial in two way in the coming season. Because Zach Randolph and George Hill are vets who still have game. They can be counted on as starters and consistent point producers. Such consistency might not be possible,otherwise, on a team of mostly rookies and sophs. While producing, they will also be able to mentor the rookies and sophs. Labiseere can learn a great deal from the tricky wide body of lefty Randolph. And the Kings' promising rookie point guard, D'Andre Fox and soph, Buddy Heild will grow under the guidance of George Hill, a consummate professional.

Just a thought. Isn't it time to give Seattle a franchise and put the Timberwolves where they belong, in the Eastern Conference. If my geography is correct, Minneapolis is east of the Mississippi River.

Gordon Hayward can't do anything but help the Celtics. However, from what I've seen in the NBA Summer League, the Celts' first round pick Jayson Tatum might very well be the true game changer, if not this year, certainly the following season. Tremendous talent. Lot's of Grant Hill in him with a little Scotty Pippen mixed in.

Sure looks like the Heat wound up with a winner in Bam Adebayo. How do you go wrong with a BAM? Ad man's dream name. And the Pistons' Luke Kennard has skills I didn't realize he had. He reminds me a lot of  Chris Mullins.  Utah has a potential star in Donovan Mittchell. So, a little less pain after Hayward's departure. Markelle Foltz of the 76ers seems to be getting more comfortable with each game, but I'm not sold, not yet, until he has to make his moves against elite defenders. I can't help distrusting a poor free throw shooter, especially one from the guard spot who naturally winds up going to the line frequently. TJ Leaf is going to help lessen the sting of losing Paul George. So far, it does indeed look like a good draft crop. May their stalks grow strong and unselfish.

Still love to see a four point line. I'll take comments nay or aye.

Baseball season is in mid season. So, here's a nifty poem about the game. Giants and As not faring so well.

In My Meanest Daydream   By Gary Gildner

I am throwing hard again
clipping corners, shaving
letters, dusting off
the heavy sticker crowding clean-up
clean down to his smelly socks -
& when my right spike hits
the ground he's had his look
already & gets
hollow in the belly - 
in my meanest daydream I let fly
a sweet stream of spit, my catcher
pops his mitt
& grins
& calls me baby.









Saturday, July 1, 2017

Trades and Free Agency Frenzy

The Warriors are like that ubiquitous rabbit the greyhounds are chasing. Sorry, hounds you're not going to catch up the way you're going in this years free agency. Not that you other teams haven't improved yourselves. Let's take a look.

OKC Thunder: Can't go wrong with Paul George, but how is he different or better than KD? The Point Guard is still, by default, Russell Westbrook. He simply is not and never will be a competent distributor, and he should have to be. However, the Thunder can't help be improved offensively with George.

LA Clippers: Kept Griffin, kept their muscle, lost a skilled point guard and added lots of reliable bench strength and moxy defense in Beverly, Harrell, and Dekker. Don't be surprised if Sam Dekker doesn't wind up playing a significant role at stretch three. Going to lose JJ, which will be a mistake. Now it's crucial to find a good point guard to replace Paul.

Timberwolves; Sorry they gave up on Rubio. They might have shot themselves in the foot as he was showing signs of hitting his potential. I've never been a big fan of  jeff Teague. He seems like a player who "hangs his head." However, and it's a big HOWEVER, Jimmy Butler is a stud and his scoring, defense, and leadership will put the Wolves into the playoffs.

The Rockets: I've already voiced my opinion about the Chris Paul acquisition. It will not work. If the missiles get JJ Redick, they'll be one of the most awesome 3 point shooting teams in the league, but they won't get out of the second round. OKC will beat them again, or the Warriors, or .... whomever. Can't win with pretend defense. 

Utah Jazz: If they keep Hayward, with Rubio at point guard (barring injury), the Utes will be a stronger team. Will be missing a little fire power, with Hill gone. So, lose Hayward  too and soynara playoffs. You got to put the ball in the hole.

Indiana Pacers: Got what they could and it wasn't too bad. Oladipo doesn't shoot consistently well, but he can score. Sabonis will develop into a starting NBA power forward. Both young players. Pacers need to be patient, don't give up first round draft choices and stick to a youth building model.

Saw a couple of over 50's joggers and they looked in pain. Here's a poem for senior citizen joggers.

A Jogging Injury    By Fleda Brown Jackson

All day I have lain, foot propped,
beating its shadow-heart
in time with the gods who stopped
my run mid-stride. Their art

stings less in my middle age.
At sixteen I would have cried
at my foot's carnage,
its quick turn from the right.

Now I am riddled with breaks.
Those I loved and others I turned from
have softened my bones to vague aches;
my original dreams come

into my thoughts like dried flowers
too tender for touch. today blood
crowds and blooms its flower
under the skin, making a glad

try for total repair. The lame
foot struck a rock, innocent
on the path: its pain
is the rock's gift, a godsend. 


Friday, June 30, 2017

The Subtle Hand of Jerry West

It won't work, Rockets. In the meantime you've lost some solid young players. What kind of D are you going to wind up with with a starting five of Cappela (decent) and the rest: Gordon, Anderson, Hardin, and Paul weak. Okay, for those of you who believe Paul is a good defender, allow me to inform you that he's not. He attacks initially, but because of his height can't really stop anyone with size and speed. Plus, he's aging and not nearly as quick as he used to be. Even if you allow for Paul as, at least, a decent defender. All you have on the court at the same time are two decent defenders and three weak ones. So, you're "all in" as you say to compete with the Warriors. You've haven't been paying attention to the team you want to emulate if you're not focused on DEFENSE. Ask any of the Warrior players when they're at their best? Go ahead, ask them!

I'm reasonably certain Jerry West has had some impute into this trade. Beverley is a junkyard dog on D and a much better shooter than people give him credit for. Sam Dekker is a versatile scorer and can defend four positions. Lot's upside for this young man. Think along the Draymond Green model. Lou Williams off the bench. Younger and better than Crawford, who's a bit long in the tooth. Montrezl Harrell will give the team strong minutes to relieve both Blake Griffen and D'Andre Jordan.  The Clips gave up one (unquestionably All Star point guard) in return for a full on competitive roster. They ought to be able to get something for Redick and Crawford, so look for the magic hand of Jerry "The Logo) West to bring in a few more essential players to fill in gaps.

I'm a huge fan of Phil Jackson as a coach, but not as a GM. I simply can't see how he could have given Carmelo Anthony a no trade clause. It simply doesn't make sense. Perhaps he saw a Kobe Bryant in Carmelo. But I find that strange as well. Kobe, for all his iso moves had an instinct when to make the move and when to release the ball. Carmelo doesn't have and never had such an instinct. Sure, eventually, he'd give the pill up, but not before the opportunity for other players to score was lost. Kobe always had a basketball mind, Carmelo doesn't. So, Phil, you're hoisted on your on petard, I'm afraid. But, I bow forever to your coaching skill. You probably should have coached the Knicks.

I've used this poem before, but it was a while back. But it is so perfect, so true, it's worth repeating

When I got It Right   by Carl Linder

The ball would lift
light as a wish,
Gliding like a blessing
over the rim, pure,
or kissing off glass
into the skirt of net.
Once it began
I couldn't miss.
Even in the falling dark,
the ball, before it left
my hand, was sure.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

All Star Awards amd etc comments.

Never in doubt, Draymond Green rules Defense in the NBA. Shout out is good. To Honor is best.

Russell Westbrook was a logical winner of MVP Award, especially after Hardin's lack of MVP performance in the playoffs. In my mind both Hardin and Westbrook are two of a kind players. In order for them to be successful, they must have the ball in their hands 60% or 70% of the time.  It is a conundrum for their teams. As long as this me/ball situation remains, their teams can not win an NBA Championship. Take the ball out of their hands, and you take their magic away. In D'Antoni's system, it's fire at will and in Oklahoma the coaches are wringing their hands for the lack of a true point guard. In both cases a perspective change has to take place for their teams to win a Championship - conference or the whole enchilada.

I am not a fan of Mike D'Antoni's brand of basketball. Speed is terrific, 3 pt shooting is a must in today's game, but there's so, so much more. Where is his strategy??? How does a coach who lacks a strategic game plan for defense or offense get elected Coach of the Year? Okay, so I've been out of the game and perhaps can't see some "modern day strategy" he has. If you see one for both ends of the court, please comment and explain them to me.

Just a quick note about D Wade. This guy is one hell of a basketball player and should not be in his closing years on a rebuild team. D Wade, unless you're strapped for cash, take a buy out a find a playoff bound team that needs your skill to get to the next playoff level.  Be willing to come off the bench and mentor the youngsters. Go out with a ring and with grace. You have a huge fan writing this blog.

It's summer if no one has noticed. The beaches are full, so are the waves filled with riders. Here's a haiku for surfers.

Surfer    by Tom Meschery

Crouched inside the wave
   Riding his board through the tunnel
Welcoming summer

Friday, June 23, 2017

A few raddom thoughts on the 2017 NBA Draft

Warriors: GM Bob Meyers has a nose for talented basketball players. With no drafts last year they found McCaw. This year they found Jordan Bell, a 6'9" C/PF who can defend multiple positions, a smart passer, and athletic scorer. Baring injuries, I see him as a Dub for a long time.

76ers: Fultz looks like he will be a solid point guard, perhaps great, but I'm a little skeptical. So the 76ers continue to fill in the blanks. For the 76ers he big IF is Joel Embid. If this fabulous player stays healthy, they are playoff bound and beyond, if not, well. . .?

Timberwolves: Veteran All Star shooting guard Jimmy Butler is going to love Ricky Rubio. As important as his scoring and D will be, more importantly in my mind, he will become the conduit between Coach Tibs and the young Timberwolves who still don't understand that you play D for four quarters.

Kings, having dumped the gloomy Cousins, are winners all around, filling their much needed point guard position with D'Aaron Fox, a lefty (I love lefties) with blurring speed. Then adding a stretch forward in Justin Jackson and a power forward in Harry Giles. Here's my advice to Vlade, keep Temple and Koufous, and go the rest youth all the way. Let the kids grow as a team and as teammates. A solid coach is in place, fabulous arena, fans waiting, but will be understanding now that there's a real plan.

Lakers helped themselves with a Magic trade, then drafted Lonzo Ball. The kid can pass. His shot mechanics are bit pure, but his release from elbow to fingertip is fine. As for stinky shooting mechanics, check out the form of Earl "the Pearl" Monroe. Now if they can get Paul George. Humm???

Celtics: I'd like to say the Celtic helped themselves with Jayson Tatum, but I'm not convinced against NBA pressure he'll be a consistent scorer. Now, if they'd drafted Josh Jackson??The Celts are still a trade or two away. There dismal, embarrassing defense against  the Cavs colors my future view of them. 

Suns: Josh Jackson (I'm partial to slashers) with Booker and Chriss. Beaucoup points. Still no point guard. Bledsoe is not, really. Neither is Knight.  May have found a sleeper in P/F Alec Peters. Can't have enough solid bench players. Still no D on the horizon. .

Knicks: Smart choice, picking a point guard, Frank Ntilikina from France. He has good size, speed, and is a smart passer. They have Porsingis. Dump Carmelo. (Iso players are a done deal in the NBA)
for some young players, who have length, can shoot and pass. Dump the Triangle. It too is a teeeny bit past its overdue date.

Bulls were smart to start over. Markkanen will become a fine NBA stretch 4. But I don't see an ounce of identity on this team as of now. It's like, hey, I've got all these different veggies, now where is the recipe because I'm not sure of the ingredients and the measurements. Hint: don't use leftovers, no matter how tasty they were at one time.

Bucks: Fear the Deer helped themselves with power forward D.J. Wilson in the 1st round and Sindarius Thornwell, a shooting guard, in the second round, and from what I saw a tough defender. If Parker can come back from his injury and stay healthy, the Bucks will go deep into the Eastern playoffs.

Nets: Got an over paid average defensive center in Mosgov and a shooting guard in D'Angelo Russelll who they'll ask to be a point guard until they get a real point gurad. Without B. Lopez, the ball might find its way into the hands of some of the other players on the team. It's a start. 

I'm not convinced this draft year is as deep as the pundits say. To me deep always means the second round. So, we'll see which of the 31 through 60 turn out to be keepers. I like the Duck's Tyler Dorsey's shot and Jordan Bell, I've already talked about. I believe Ivan Rabb has a chance for the heat; his skills were never maxed out at Cal. Sindarius Thornwell is going to make it. Alec Peters may be a sleeper. Mathias Lessort if he doesn't stay in Europe has a huge motor. Isiah Hartenstein, ditto he doesn't stay overseas, could give the Rockets lots of paint protection at 7'1" I wouldn't be surprised if Nigel Williams-Goss doesn't make the Jazz, a smart player with the size and skill to defend on the NBA level. The Bulls will regret trading Justin Patton to Minnesota, but why the TWolves need him, I'm clueless. 

The NCAA outdoor track nationals is being held in Sacramento in scorching 100 degree weather. Here's a poem I wrote about my speedy daughter.

Middle School Track Meet      By Tom Meschery

            For Janai

My daughter is signed up to run the 100
and 200 meter dashes. She is fast but not as fast
as the girl warming up next to her. I'm trying
to think what to say to my daughter
on the drive home about coming in second,
which I often did in sports. And with women
and hated it. My best friend Ned always came in 
first with women, and they found me later
to cry on my shoulder, which is something
I don't need to tell my daughter, but has,
for reasons best confessed to an analyst,
always rankled me. I could say that being
first doesn't mean you're a better person.
It only means you reached the tape
before the rest of the runners. That effort
is all that counts in life. which I know
to be a lie promulgated by people
who inherited their fortune having never 
run a race without a head start.
This information will be a small comfort
to my daughter as she is too young
to be  interested in the inequities of society.
Crouched at the starting line, she's waiting
for the gun to fire. She'll give it all she's got
out of the blocks and down the track.

  






.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

On the Draft and etc

Let's begin with the draft. Kudos to Magic in LA for dumping the Mosgov albatross, freeing up cap space and adding a center, Brook Lopez, who may be a back to the back center type everybody in the league seems to feel is a dinosaur (I do not. Later on that) but the man can shoot the ball. And he can and will stumble into a few good defensive plays. D'Angelo Russell, well, okay, he has upside, probably as a scorer rather than a point guard but, with Lonzo Ball on the horizon, getting rid of Russell will not hurt the Lakers. (Much). Anyway a smart first outing into the GM world for Magic Johnson. A start-over for Russell could be a good thing for the kid, a little less under the flood lights in Brooklyn, new teammates, etc. I still a fan of Russell. Can't help it, I'm partial to lefties This is something that happens to players who played with Lenny Wilkins.

Next on the trade deals comes Atlanta moving Dwight Howard to Char4lotte for not a lot in return. Belinelli is a solid 3 pt shooter, except for his one season stint with the Kings, which could have been an unconscious effort on his part to depart California's capital. I'd have probably taken
fat Sir Charles at his age in exchange for Howard, who is, in my mind, a loser. I don't like that word, but in some cases, it fits. All the physical talent in the world without much courage. Interesting but not unexpected move by the 76ers and the Celts. As good as Fultz seems to be, the Celts didn't need a point guard, and they did indeed need a stretch 3. A polite trade.

In the etc department, how about if the Warriors sign David Lee. He knows the system, is well liked by his former teammates, has probably resigned himself to a bench role, and what rookie can the Dubs get better than David? As a chemistry thing, I think it would work. Just a thought.

Now for the Kings. D'Arron Fox is a no-brainer. The 10th pick is crucial. I saw where one Mock Draft had the Kings picking Luke Kennard. Don't do it, Vlade! The kid has a wingspan of a penguin and he's about that slow.

I love Draymond Green's comment that he learns more from watching the WNBA, giving examples of what he learns. Smart man with a high basketball IQ.

A big HUZZAH to Diane Taursi for becoming the WNBA's all time scoring leader. With more seasons still in front of her, she should put that record out of reach for a long time. 

Today is the summer solstice. It's baseball season. A good day to read the following poem.

At the Ball Game    by William Carlos Williams

The crowd at the ball game
is moved uniformly

by a spirit of uselessness
which delights them -

all the exacting detail
of the chase

and the escape, the error
the flash of genius-

all to no end save beauty
the eternal- -

So in detail they, the crowd,
are beautiful

for this 
to be warned against

saluted and defied - 
It is alive, venomous

it smiles grimly
it's word cut -

The flashy female with her
mother, get it -

The Jew gets it straight - it
is deadly, terrifying - 

It is the Inquisition, the
Revolution

It is beauty itself
that lives 

day by day in them
idly -

This is 
the power of their faces

It is summer, it is the solstice
the crowd is

cheering, the crowd is laughing
in detail

permanently, seriously
without thought.




Monday, June 19, 2017

A Sigular Phenomena?

My friend Jon Jackson, the detective fiction writer, asked me if I thought the Golden State Warriors were a singular phenomena. We've email back and forth over this question. So far I don't think my comments have helped. I'm going to give it another try.

It's important to remember that all great NBA championship teams are singular in some way and unique in a number of other ways. But, in all cases, their originality begins with players. Going down the list chronologically, the Celtics can not be duplicated without Russell and Bob Cousy & Havlicek clones; the 76ers, ditto, without cloning Wilt Chamberlain. You'd have to duplicate Wilt and West to reproduce the Lakers of 1972. The Knicks championship teams needed their anchor, Willis Reed, and floor general Walt Frazier. Certainly there could never be a NBA Championship Lakers teams of 85,87, & 88 without a Magic and a Jabbar. Detroit in 89 & 90 would never have won without Isiah. The Warriors without Rick Barry, no championship for them.The Celts championship without Bird and McHale, not likely. Without question no Michael Jordan, no Bulls championships. No Olajuwon, no Rocket's championships. No Walton, no Blazer rings. No joy in LA without Kobe and Shaq. Pop, as good a coach as he is, would not have won much without his threesome of Duncan, Ginobili, and Parker, and, finally the Heat do not sizzle without LeBron.

Whee, gotta catch my breath. All of this seems obvious. So, how does this help to answer Jon's question? Evaluating the players I've mentioned, I've come to the conclusion that there are not many of them, as fabulous as they are, who are unique in the sense that they can't be duplicated, ever. The unique ones are: Cousy, Bill Russell, Wilt, Bird, Magic; Kareem, Walton (one year phenom), Olajuwon, MJ, Kobe and LeBron. Perhaps, you can see where I'm going, whether you agree with me or not. And I suspect a lot will not.

Here's the wrap-up,Ta, Da! The Golden State Warriors 2017 Championship squad have three players who are unique and impossible to reproduce.playing together: Stephan Curry, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green. I could add Klay Thompson; he's certainly deserving, but then I'd have to add Kevin McHale to the Celt's team, or Scotty Pippin to the Bulls' team, and D Wade to the Heat team.

At no time in the history of the NBA have the Warrior 3 happened. The closest, in my mind, is the Celts: Russell, Havlick, Heinsohn group, Willis, Frazier and Bradley; the Bird, McHale, and Parish trio, the Magic, Jabbar, and Worthy Lakers and the Spurs' Duncan, Ginobelli, and Parker triumvirate.

But, "closest" is the best I can do. Not equal to. I have a hard time imagining a team in the future that will have three absolutely unique player (think broken molds, crushed, and deposited in the Pacific Ocean) playing together on one NBA team.

Does this mean that the Dubs would defeat all of the great teams I've mentioned? With the 3 point line, I don't think so. Back in the day rules, maybe not, but maybe.When talking about winning teams, there are all sorts of other considerations to take into account before a team can be defined as a singular phenomena. Coaching, for one, would be, as players say today, "huge." It's a little early yet, but Steve Kerr is well on his way to being compared to the great coaches, like Aurebach, Hannum, Daley, Riley, Jackson and Popovich. Then, there's the difficult subject of team chemistry, of team bench strength, of ownership and management support..All valid consideerations. However, when you get down to answering my friend, Jon's question of "singular phenomena," it's always the players - in the NBA, always the players.

The US Open ended yesterday with first time winner Brooks Koepka holding the trophy. Here's a fun old fashioned poem about golf, a parody of Longfellow's The Arrow & the Song.

The Ball and the Club  by Forbes Lindsay

I shot a golf ball into the air;
It fell toward earth, I knew not where;
For who hath eye so strong and keen,
As to follow the flight of my ball to the green.

I lost a club I could not spare,
And searched for it most everywhere;
For who hath sight so keen and quick
As to trace the course of a missing stick.

Long, long afterwards, in an oak,
I found the golf ball still unbroke;
And the club - with a couple of nicks and a bend,
I found again in the bag of a friend.