meta name=”robots” content=”index, follow” Meschery's Musings of Sports, Literature, and Life Meschery's Musings on Sports, Literature and Life: 2017-11-12

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.

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.

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