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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, 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.


1 comment:

Nazim Russell-Elizee said...

Mr. Meschery, as a student of both NBA & Russian history, i send my warmest greetings! i appreciate getting your perspective on the contemporary GS Warriors (the funnest basketball team to watch i've ever seen in my 20 years of watching/playing, especially Steph) quite a bit.

i especially enjoyed reading what you had to say about Iguodala's ability to sense when the opportune moment for him to make a crucial play is. You alluded to experiencing a similar (albeit brief) moment during your own playing career, against the 76ers in game five. If you don't mind me asking, could you tell me what year this game five against the 76ers was played in? i'd love to know what game, specifically, you're referencing!

a distant relative of Leo Tolstoy, whose family had to flee the Bolsheviks, then were stuck in the Pacific during WWII, later immigrates to the USA, becomes a pro player, is teammates with Wilt the night of 100 (and later on, you threw punches at Wilt!) (and hit nothing but air!), who goes on to become an have lived a fascinating life, sir.
And i learned from your blog that your wife's name is Melanie; i recently fell deeply in love (i'm still debating whether i was in love, or completely, utterly infatuated) with a young lady named Melanie, myself.

i'm rambling, so i should wrap up by thanking you for sharing your life's experiences via this blog. Regards,
student of history