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, 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.  




Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Some Thoughts on the Dubs NBA Championship Game Five

The sun is shining (All Gold Everywhere), the air is fresh, a gentle breeze is blowing in from the delta and the Golden State Warriors are once again Champions of the NBA. 

The Finals ended in Victory last night, and I was as exhausted physically and mentally as if I'd been one of the players on the court. This is how close my identification with my old team has become since the new ownership brought a winning spirit back to the Bay Area.

Melanie, my wife, not to be outdone by my exhaustion, wore two Warrior T shirts, one over the other, for the game. We both agreed the Warriors might not have won had she worn only one T-shirt.

In my Blog yesterday, I stated that all things physical being equal, the smarter team would win. It did. I site, for example, the numbers of easy baskets the Warriors made, particularly by way of the the pick and roll, screener rolling to the baskets, and the unguarded back doors.

LeBron was a bull, but Kevin Durant was Muhammed Ali's butterfly. Steph Curry was the slight-of-hand magician. Draymond Green was the heart pumping blood to all the other parts of the Warrior body. Klay Thompson, who rounds out the newly christened Fab Four (I like the sound of that), was the shadow Kyrie tried to shake all night and finally couldn't. So much for mixing metaphors.

But lets not forget four players: ZaZa, Rocky Marciano, Pachulia, the future president of Georgia, David West, who chased his dream of a ring and earned it with clutch shots and stalwart D, Shawn Livingston, Mr. Calm, (a team must have a player  with a steady hand like that) and Andre Igudala.

Igudala deserves his own paragraph. What is it about the genetic makeup of this athlete that he produces such clutch performances at exactly the right moment? It's as if he doesn't just see the opportunity, he smells it in the air, feels it, tastes victory, hears his name being called. I swear its like that. I think I remember such a brief moment in my own career in game five against the 76ers. And it's absolutely something spiritual.

Let's not forget the other Dubs. Although they may not have contributed a great deal during this last series against the Cavs, their performances during the regular season and in conference post-season were enormous. They earned their rings. And the right to be called Warriors.

I continue to be amazed by Steve Kerr. If any fans of the game ever doubted that coaching an NBA team is much more about personality and psychology than it is about X's and O's, watching Coach Kerr will dispel that notion. Intelligence, yes; preparation, yes; instinct, yes. But how you draw your players in so they identify with your spirit--that's at the heart of superior coaching. One might ask, how can you tell? Well, you do. Look in the eyes of the players, at their body language, listen to their words of praise that always fall short because they are really at a loss for words. Such it is that defines the coaches at the top of the Pantheon of NBA Coaches, starting with Red Auerbach and ending with, yes, Steve Kerr.

So, who have I left out? I'm so pumped that I can't stop praising. There is Bob Myers, who's got to be one smart GM, whose instincts have to be as razor-sharp as the players' on the court. A good GM has to feel what's right, not just gather stats and analyze. And there is Jerry West, consultant. Dare I say Consigliere to the Warriors' Godfathers: Joe Lacob and Peter Guber? I dare. Good advice well received as in: 'there's a kid playing at Washington State the Warriors should look at--advice like that is worth a franchise. And a huge shout out for the coaching staff, particularly Ron Adams and Mike  Brown. Think of them as book ends, providing Coach Kerr with the input a head coach requires to make the right decisions in practices and during games.

Does the Warrior physical fitness/trainers team deserve praise? You bet. The Dubs came into this series healthy. It's not a coincidence they did. Does the entire organization: Rick Welts and his team and Raymond Ridder and his team deserve praise? Absolutely. They too are coaches, coaching the environment in which the game is played and the players live. Take for example how hard it is to live in a run-down neighborhood, (I'm guessing lots of folks can identify with that), but if that neighborhood is clean and modern and stable and organized, then that's where players want to make their homes. Ask Kevin Durant. I'm reasonably certain his decision to come to the Warriors was not entirely based on basketball.

Am I through? Not yet. There are the fans. They've been there for the Dubs since the Dubs were the Dubs, every seat in Oracle taken, a sea of gold and Warrior blue. Tickets are not cheap these days in the NBA, but Bay Area fans keep opening their check books because the organization from top to bottom has made attending games worth it. Is there better value for your dollar? In the big scheme of  life, sure. But in the fun things of life, it's money well spent for a season of pleasure and a chance to identify with greatness. And the best damn hotdogs in any arena.

Here's a poem I wrote a long time ago for Jerry West that is in my first collection of poetry called Nothing You Lose Can Be Replaced. It seems fitting, given Jerry's contribution to the Warriors Championships.

Jerry West

That nearly full court buzzer-beater
that kept the Laker's playoff hopes alive
was never in doubt. I knew its certainty
from fingertip to rim. Jerry, as sweet
as that shot was, I want to tell you
about another shot far sweeter:
Night was falling and the cross-winds
of San Francisco were full court pressing
All City Ray Paxton, postman
with the soft touch we depended on
in the clutch. He "called it"  (something
you forgot to do) seconds before the rain
would have ended the game with nothing
resolved, summer over, the lucky players
off to college where they'd play to big crowds
indoors, safe and dry while Ray, 
bag over his shoulders, walks his rounds.







  





Monday, June 12, 2017

Phsicality

During a recent interview on TV, Cavs' Coach Tyronn Lue must have used the word physicality at least twenty times. He was no doubt very impressed and happy with his team's "Physicality" in game 4 of the NBA Championship series in the Q.

As an old English teacher, I rushed immediately to my Merrian Webster Dictionary and looked up the word: PHYSICALITY. I was skeptical that it was a word in the English language. My dictionary proved me wrong. Physicality is indeed a word, and it dates back to the 16th century.

However, it seems to me that the Golden State Warriors, as they head into Game 5 of the series, should take into account the full meaning of the word according to Merrian Webster:

PHYSICALITY:  predominance of the physical at the expense of the mental, spiritual, and social.

If  the Cavs continue to play within the scope of the definition that Coach Lue is so proud of, it is something the Golden State Warriors could take advantage of. No doubt, our Dubs need to be more physical in tonight's game. They can not allow the Cavs to attack first, and if the Cavs do, they must attack back instantly and with the same intensity.

That said and all things physical being even, the outcome of the game will be due to which team plays smarter. MENTAL TOUGHNESS will win this game, not PHYSICALITY

I am confident that the Warriors understand this.

How about some LOVE for Bob Myers, the very astute GM of the Golden State Warriors. Lot's of kudos heading the players' way,  Steve Kerr and the coaching staffs' way, and in the direction of Jerry West and Ownership, but not enough in the direction of Bob Myers. He seems to be a pretty low key kind of guy who abjures the spotlight. I don't read the Chronicle every day, so I may be wrong about this. There may be tons of stories praising him. Whatever the case may be, I want to make sure my Blog pays him the praise he deserves in putting together this fabulous basketball team. Go Bob, more power to you and for years to come. And, lets hope Draymond remembers what you said to him when you two were sitting together last season watching Game 5 on TV, Draymond having been suspended from the game for swatting the King in his Jewels:. "Let's not let this happen next year." Wonderfully understated.

Spain's Rafael Nadal wins his 10th championship at Roland Garros.The King of Clay deserves a tennis poem:

The Tennis Player   by Ronen Sigan

On a lucky day I found a genie in a bottle.
Out he came thankful and free granting me three wishes.
My first wish is to have a decent backhand - 
that is really all I need.
Too many times I missed such easy shots. 
It's about time I got a backhand.
The genie was stunned - what about fame,
fortune and the pleasure of the flesh?
I am a tennis player and this is my first wish.
My second wish is to have a killer server.
layer will fear it as it flies and swerves.
A killer serve it is! The genie sighed
An let me guess your third wish 
is the strongest forehand in the world.
Far from it, give a decent backhand 
and a killer serve to my opponents.
For what is a game without a challenge. 




                                                

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Counter-Punching, a Bad Idea

My wife and I were attending my grand daughter's high school graduation, so we did not witness first hand the ass kicking the Cavaliers gave the Warriors last night at the Q, an arena next to the flame throwing Cayahoga River - Flow on big river. An arena named for Quicken Loans, which will be the first mortgage company associated with the mortgage and banking scandal of 2019. (Remember, you heard it from me first.)

My wife and I were delighted we didn't watch that game on live TV. Later, Melanie and I watched it on tape. Here was my first thought half way through the first quarter.  I've said it one, and I'll say it again: "He who gets the first punch in, gets the first punch in." The Cavs punched first, and kept punching (metaphor for setting the alpha-dog-tone of the game). The Warriors needed to punch back immediately and didn't. The refs didn't help. They allowed the Cavs to be the aggressors, perhaps not intentionally. However, it has always been this way in the NBA as far back as when I played that referees become more and more inclined to see the second foul than the first. To punish the counter-puncher and not the aggressor. It has always been very  difficult to counter-punch in the NBA. Historically, any chance a team has to change tempo significantly comes at the start of the third quarter. That did not happen last night. So, the series goes back to Oracle on Monday night. It is what it is.

Steve Kerr is correct to say that his team is not worried about history, but they damn well better be worried about who gets the first punch in in game five.

That's all I have to say about the upcoming game five. Except this: Recently, archaeologists in Mexico found an Aztec ball court, ancestor of the game of basketball, (the stone hoop was mounted on the wall perpendicular to the playing surface.) Nearby the court, they also found the sculls of the players on the losing team that had been sacrificed to the Gods. During game five, I will be paying attention to the shape of the Cavs' heads and wondering. Just wondering.

Here's a little quatrain about the great Laker's center, Kareem Abdul Jabbar.

Sky Hooks From the Stands    by Tom Meschery

Jabbar's arm high in the air
His hand cradling the ball
I'm waiting for it to fall
From the sky, holding my breath. 




Thursday, June 1, 2017

2017 NBA Finals, On Your Mark, Get Set...

At 6 p.m. this evening at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, a NBA referee will throw up the ball at center court to start this season's Finals. My wife, Melanie, her grandson and I will be there. There's going to be a photographer and a Sports Illustrated writer waiting for us. SI is doing a Where are They Now feature, and I'm part of the They. I mention this only because it dove-tails into the first part of this morning's blog: NBA Past.

At the beginning of three years of Cav vs Warriors finals, it's important to remind NBA fans that may not know (and some might very well not, considering they didn't exist during the years the Celts dominated the pro game) that basketball existed before Bird and Magic, MJ, and LeBron/Curry. There was the rivalry between Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain. Let it be said, and I'm saying it, that had the Chamberlain led Philadelphia Warriors been a Western Division team, it's highly likely that the NBA Championship would have turned into - like the upcoming Warriors/Cavs -  a three-years-in-a-row-series from '59/60 on between Boston and Philly. In my rookie year, 1961/62, I was on the Philadelphia Warriors' Eastern Division championship team back then, so long ago - before the motor car, before the wheel, before the duchess-faced dinosaur - that lost by one point to the Celts in the finals seconds of game seven, and I know for certain, had we been in the West that year, we'd have been in the finals, having dominated the Lakers - the West champs - all season long.

Not sure why I spent so much time writing this, except I sometimes feel the Russell/Chamberlain matchup has not been given enough historical love, which includes the entire era beginning with Bill Russell and ending with the first year of Kareem Abdul Jabbar. It saddens me that there is not a lot of film footage of our era, We were pretty damn good.

I am excited, looking forward to tonight's game. (Aren't the Dubs a pleasure to watch?) All the players on both sides are healthy and rested. It should be hugely interesting. Like chess or a 10 thousand-metre race, strategic and exhausting. With a little Tae Kwon Do thrown in the mix.

I still can't forget the seventh game of the finals last season when Kyrie took and made that fantastic three point clutch shot with Curry in his face to win for the Cavs. That shot at that moment, says a lot to me about this years series. The Warriors must limit Kyrie's game. For me, he is the KEY, not LeBron James, who will get his points, but will also dominate the ball to, in my humble opinion, the long term detriment of the Cavs. It would also be wise not to allow Kevin Love to get open threes as the Celtics did. I'm still having trouble getting over the Celt's wussy D.

In the end, as it always is, since the beginning of time and the NBA, let if be said, and never forget DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS.

Here's a little Haiku about Draymond Green and LeBron "King" James.

.

E.E CUMMINGS PREDICTS THE OUTCOME     by Tom Meschery

warriors and cavs (both dray & king)

will battle each other in the spring

tweet their rumble and text their game

king goes down, while dray remains