meta name=”robots” content=”index, follow” Meschery's Musings of Sports, Literature, and Life Meschery's Musings on Sports, Literature and Life: 2019

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, November 19, 2019

Pay for Student Athletes

Is paying college athletes for their "brand" a tsunami in a tea kettle?

The controversy surrounding paying student athletes applies only to two sports: Basketball and Football. All other college sports do not generate anywhere near the kind of income that the Big Two do.

To begin let's clarify: Is it possible that the term Student/Athlete is an oxymoron? I'm not being snarky. I do not know the stats, but I'd be willing to bet that the basketball and football players who could sell their "brand" while attending college are not those who normally graduate from college, but leave early to join the pros where they can earn big bucks. As for other sports "stars" I give a nod to an Olympic athlete who returns to college. He or she may or may not have a "brand" that a sponsor might be willing to take on.

Going forward, I'm going to assume my premise is correct, in which case I see no reason to pay college atheltes unless the individual "star athletes" are willing to share their [in college] income with the rest of their fellow teammates. Rationale: "stars' do not shine brighter than the rest of the lesser stars in their constellation.

The alternative in my opinion is that the college splits the the entire basketball and football per year income 50/50 with all student athletes, each student athlete getting a check of equal amount. Rationale: A gymnast works just as hard to bring glory to the university as a basketball player.

I lean to the 50/50 option because it seems more equitable, covering all sports.

It is worth remembering that all scholarship athletes get full tuition room and board for their efforts on their sporting team. The last time I looked four yearsat a state school costs around $112 thousand. At a private college the costs for four years tuition, room and board comes to approximately $200 grand.

In return for a four-year free college education, an athlete is asked to be both a student and an athlete - a tough job no doubt. I've done it. It requires giving up a lot, usually personal entertainments, although I'm not sure I gave up too many dates or parties during my time being a student/athlete.

I guess I don't get what all the hoopla is about. Baseball figured it out a long time ago. The pros established a minor league. "Stars" in high school did not go to college (often) but went directly into MBL's system and worked their way up. It's time the NFL and the NBA provide the same kind of program for high school "stars" - minor leagues (NBA has a head start with the G League) so they don't have to do the "hypocrisy" few couple of years in college thing. Start doing what they are born to do from the beginning. If they're really interested in sociology 101, they can can always go to college later in life and pay their way. Harsh? You might want to ask a few random students on campus.

Net result college football and basketball will have to continue without the "stars" I'm not sure the games will suffer much. Most alums will continue to attend. There would have to be cost cutting,so the "minor" sports would not suffer, but it's all doable with a little less greed.

It's time sports in America went European anyway. From the get-go, the Europeans don't mix sports and education. Sports belong in sports clubs; education belongs in schools. What a concept!

Remember this; we all did it when we were really amateurs.

Playing The Game     by Barbara Goldowwsky

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 11, 2019


Like the Phoenix, the Dubs will rise again. They simply need to stop and refuel the engine. I was not at all sure they were doing this before the season and into the first week. But as the injuries mounted: Curry down, then Drayond, and DeAngelo out for a stretch, the refueling option suddenly becomes a (whether the powers that be understood completely or not) a strategy worth considering: The Warriors could - and it looks like they will  and should - field a team of entirely newbees and newcomers.

As a strategy I'm all in. Let the remaining players - less the stars - sort out which of them are worthy of calling themselves Warriors. So far, it seems to be working. Call these  Warriors: Newcomer Warriors, Team Hustle, Team D, Team Smart (well not always), Team Coachable. Their effort culminated in an upset over a strong Portland Trailblazer team. The entire team played well. Grit, determination (and surprisingly to me not to them better skill sets). They were not going to be denied. I loved watching the game. Rooting for the Dubs as underdogs was an entirely new and enjoyable experience. And sort of humbling.

Since that Blazer game, not as much success, but it doesn't detract from the strategy and the need to analyze potential.

Any enlightenment so far? 1) All of the newbees have shown they are willing to play Defense. All of them need to play defense more consistently. 2) Eric Paschall appears to have the skills to be a Stretch Four or even a Stretch Three. He can elevate on his jumper, has a quick release, excellent form, the ball rotates beautifully, and he's not afraid to shoot. He is also able to put his head down and go to the bucket. We'll see about Paschall after his rep gets around and teams start focusing on him. 3) Jordan Poole has a chance to become a solid Two Guard. Again, great form, no fear, terrific rotation on the ball, and a shooters' mentality. Got to work on his D, but I see willingness. Both of these draft choices are another feather in GM Bob Myer's quiet extraordinary hat. 4) Spellman seems to be gaining confidence and losing weight. A big who can shoot from deep. Think Mareese Speights. 5) Cauley Stein has to board better and shot block better. If he does, he could be an answer or at least one answer. 6) Bowman, a surprise point guard. Goes to the basket, appears to be fearless. I worry about his height. Maybe Lee is the better of the two coming off the bench? 6) Alec Burke may be an important reserve on a strong Dubs team next year. Think Livingston . 7) Marquisee Chriss? With a body like that and jumping ability, why not? But maybe a couple of other teams he's been on have wondered the same thing. I'll give the kid the benefit of the doubt. He's worth cultivating.

Enough, already. Let's move on to a few quick comments about other NBA teams.

The Celts losing Kyrie and gaining Kemba is a positive for the Shamrocks. If they had kept Horford, I'd have given them a chance to win the East. Kemba is a whole lot more understated and willing to spread the offense around than Kyrie was. Horford might be one of the best Pros power forwards of the 21st century NBA - under the radar somewhat. .

The Miami Heat should not be overlooked. Butler seems happy and relaxed. (For once) Adebayo is coming into his own. So is Justise Winslow. Myeer Leonard, the big  7" 2" shooting guard from Portland is proving to be pretty capable as a shooting center..  Goran Drajic is an under- the-radar point/shooting guard (Think Michael Connelly). Coach Spoelstra has not lost his smarts just because Lebron is gone. The kid Tyler Herro is a hero. In an Eastern Conference that is top heavy, they could reach deep into the playoffs.

Bucks. Now that the Lopez twins are together, Bucks all the way. I may be kidding. You decide.

In the West, I'm beginning to like Dallas more and more, and Houston less and less. With all their players back healthy (Bagley primarily) and a little seasoning, after new year, the Kings could surprise the pundits. With Connelly at the helm, I like Utah, but doesn't Rudy have to be tougher? He's shot blocker, but does not instill fear.

If I were a Republican Senator, I'd demand to be traded from the Trump Team. Total loser.

I'm not much of a boxing fan, but I am old enough to remember watching the icons: Sugar Ray; Marciano, Patterson, the other Sugar Ray, Ali, etc. 21 century boxers? Ho humm. Here's a poem for them:

The World's Worst Boxer

Apis! the men you boxed with, grateful that you 
never hit one of them, erect this statue.

                            translated by Humbert Wolfe

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Okay, China is Getting a Little Boring

What is the frigging PROBLEM? Adam Silver explained that the NBA supports FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Period, End of Story. Why is everyone in the NBA, including the most outspoken and politically active equivocating, vacillating, sidestepping, and generally dancing the Texas Two Step around the Chinese going ballistic over Darryl Morey's support of the Hong Kong protesters? "We in the NBA support Freedom of Speech" should be the answer to all the probing by the media that would like nothing better than to catch players, coaches, etc with their hypocritical pants down, ie: Lebron James' recent comment. James Harden apologizing for his GM. Steve, Pop, Come on???
Freedom of Speech is at the backbone of our Republic. It's not a hard concept to articulate. Our country is being faced with a President who'd like nothing better than to curtail FREEDOM OF SPEECH. We MUST defend this essential principal. That's all I'm saying. That's all folks in the NBA needed to say, but for some reason couldn't figure it out and started blathering nonsense.

HOWEVER, and there is always an however. If you feeling strongly about the Hong Kong folks protesting, then, by God, like Darryl of the Rockets, you (I'm talking to the greater YOU) need to say it loud and clear, and F**k the money. Of course, that's easy for me to say from my rocking chair retired NBA players' seat. So, I'll accept what criticism comes my way over this blog.

No poem for this blog. Except, perhaps,

"Who'll stop the rain. . ."

Friday, October 11, 2019



Official Chinese Sports Federation: Yao Ming announces upcoming friendly games between Chinese teams and the following Euro-League teams Fenebahce, Olymiacos and Saski Baskonia have been canceled for lack of interest. Tickets for future Euro League preseason games have been reduced 50%.

Official Chinese Government Marketing Announcement: 90% off on all basketball gear for the following players: Nando de Colo of Renerbahce; Sergio Llull of Real Madrid; Vassilis Spanoulis of Olympiacos; Mike James of Saski Baskonia; Nikita Karbonov of CSKA

Central Government Politboro Announcement: All black market sales of NBA gear are reaching alarming levels. Citizens wearing NBA jerseys will be prosecuted. Anyone wearing a Rockets jersey will be tried for treason.

International Times Front Page: 150 Chinese citizens, wearing NBA jerseys poured gasoline over themselves in Tianamin Square and turned themselves into human torches in protest of government's anti NBA policies.

Wall Street Journal: Protesters in Hong Kong are wearing Fear the Daryll jerseys. Sales of Rocket gear in Taiwan have tripled.

White House: President Trump announces lifting tariffs on some Chinese goods. He expects China to continue boycotting the NBA, a league that is far too liberal. "If you criticize the President of the United States, bad things happen," Trump stated.

Official Chinese Sports Federation Up Date:  Tickets for Future Euro League games have been reduced by 75%.

NBA News: NBA properties show 200% increases in sales in India. New African NBA sponsored professional league is resounding success. Sales of NBA gear wildly popular. NBA to play exhibition games next season in Mongolia, much to the chagrin of Chinese Basketball Federation.

Summer's gone, but let's have one last summer poem sent to me by Ron Adams, assistant coach and defensive guru of the Golden State Warriors.

In Summer's Amber   by Gilbert Rogin (one time editor at Sports Illustrated)

Thickened with light, the spaces of summer
hold sound like the sea.
A playing-field shout outlives the play;
an outboard motor is put up, its drone preserved,
as it were, in summer's amber.
Only at night are the sounds quick and falling:
the water breaking each time the jumping fish falls;
in the white barns, horses stamping
in their dreams' dark furlongs;
grooms sitting out under the elms
in canvas chairs, on tack boxes,
telling lies. 

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Back from Europe in time for the NBA Season. . .

. . . and controversy: China vs the NBA. I pick the the NBA. I've been reading all the hoopla, pundits - right and left - going off. I really don't understand what the big deal is. Adam Silver got it right when he said the League doesn't dictate players, administrators, and coaches' political opinions. "The NBA can't operate that way," Silver stated. Good for you Adam. It should have been your first statement, but you got handed a pretty "tricky' situation on speed dial.

So, here's how I see it moving forward. China dumps the NBA - Aw, poor baby got it's feelings hurt. So friggin what? The NBA sticks to its guns. Let them cancel games and gear contracts. No doubt lot's of money is going to be lost. Initially. But how about in the long range? I can't see it happening.

Can the Chinese possibly be that dumb?

Basketball is hugely popular in China. Millions and millions of their citizens - kids, men and women - are playing the sport and following the NBA and its stars. I doubt seriously that the enthusiasm for the sport and particularly for the NBA is going to diminish because of one email by Rockets' GM.. Eventually the Chinese government will have to relent. Or, of course, the government, in its wisdom, can go courting the Euro-League teams as a substitute for the NBA. Not exactly the same caliber of basketball, is it?  And the millions of Chinese NBA fans will not buy it. Name me one Euro League star who the Chinese will embrace the way they do stars from the NBA. Can't think of one? Neither can I.

When it comes to basketball (as opposed to Trump's dumb tariff war), China needs the NBA more than the NBA needs China. The people in Hong Kong may or may not get what they want, but the Chinese mainland NBA fans will damn sure get their NBA games and their NBA gear.

There is a lot to say about pressure from the bottom up. Power to the people!

And, an aside of note from the White House: Is Trump the biggest baby in the world, dissing Steve Kerr because Kerr didn't go off on the Chinese? Meanwhile Trumps' spat with the Chinese government is breaking the backs of our farmers. What a twit. Kerr's got more integrity in his little finger than Trump has in his entire obese body.

As for my beloved Warriors. They've got their work cut out for them. Klay has to come back of course, but I'd damn sure not rush it. I know Klay is "Old School" but it there is the slightest chance the knee isn't perfectly healed, he needs to be kept out the entire season. There is enough talent right now to surprise the pundits. "Oh, yeah?" I can hear the pundits now. "Oh, yeah?"

I'm not saying it will be easy. However, there's just enough offense that the Dubs can make the playoffs, as long as their Defense becomes like the steel curtain. Once the Warriors make the playoffs, and, say, Klay does come back after All-Star break, who knows? Remember Lamont Cranston, of day-time radio? "The Shadow knows."

My wife says I'm dating myself. So what? I'm Old School, emphasis on the Old. Here's what my wife and I are going to do: We're finding what the odds are of the Dubs making the playoffs and getting past the first round and putting some money down. Yeah, We're that confident/

A few general comments before my next Blog when I rank teams and go into team by team detail.

In the West:  1) The Lakers are not deep enough to go too far into the playoffs, and Anthony Davis has never played a full season healthy. 2) Even if Paul George's shoulders are not right for a while, the Clips will be better than last year, and last year they were on the cusp of being damn good. 3) I've never been sold on Hardin's D. And Westbrook is probably a smart guy, but he plays dumb, and there's just going to be too much two-man-ball, at the expense of the rest of the guys on the team. It's going to wear thin after a while. 4) Jazz, after mid-season, could be a real bad-ass threat, big personnel improvement, shooter in Bogan and terrific point Conley.  And always solid D.

In the East: 1) Should be Milwaukee's year. 2) If Simmons has learned how to shoot the trey, should be Philly's year. 3) Ain't going to be Boston's Year. Loss of Horford will cut deeply. 4) Like Hardin,
I've never been a  Kyrie Irving fan, and recently especially as he keeps yapping about wanting his "own" team. That's too much ego for me to trust his leadership. You've never heard Curry saying the Dubs are "his" team.

And finally, how about the 49ers? Haven't been back in the U.S.A long enough to catch up on the NFL, but it looks like the San Jose 49ers are the real deal. Now, if they'd only stop showing Fisherman's Wharf and the Golden Gate Bridge during television commercials. Come on, Citizens of San Jose, you paid for the state-of-the-art stadium, and they're still calling the team San Francisco.

A few weeks back in Florence where my wife and I were hanging out, checking out the Caravaggio's,
The David and the Matisse's and eating lots of Spaghetti alla Vongole, we had the pleasure of observing a boys basketball team of CUS Firenze practice and scrimmage, 36 ten to twelve year-old youngsters playing tough and working hard, and parents in the stands cheering their children on. Perhaps these boys will be the beginning of a new generation of great Italian basketball players. Good friend, Massimo, keep encouraging your son and his teammates. For the love of basketball and sportsmanship. We'll see you next year. Dinner at Toto's.

Given  our time in Italy, a poem by Virgil from the Georgics seems appropriate.

The Chariot Race

Have you not seen them fighting for the lead,
Their chariots plunging when the  barrier drops,
The drivers' surging hopes, the pounding fear
That drains exulting hearts? They close in,
Ply the lash, crouch over loosened reins,
The  glowing axle spins, the drivers' bodies
Seem now to scrape the  ground, and now to soar
Through empty air, wheels rising in the wind;
No hanging back, no rest: a gold  cloud
Of sand swirls in their wake, the  flecks of foam,
The breath of the pursuers, soak them through:
So great is their love for praise, their will to win.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

NBA Stand Up For Sane Gun Laws

In the Wake of Dayton and El Paso, the NBA league and teams need to stand up for sane gun laws, not simply tougher background check. Assault weapons ban as well as strict gun and ammo purchasing laws is the only way our country will ever get back any control over the insanity that the NRA continues to support. Killing animals with assault weapons is no sport; it's murder. You can't shoot a duck out of the sky with an assault weapon. Macho men who want to play guns with assault rifles should go back to cap pistols, which better represents their level of maturity. I am not against hunting rifles, shotguns, or pistols. But I  am against crazy people and morons having access to weapons that fire hundreds of rounds in seconds. If you support the NRA do-nothing-stand, you should go to the nearest mirror and check out the Knucklehead that is staring  back at you.

Speaking of Knuckleheads, Incognito with the Raiders, give me a break.

With no injuries, Kings with new acquistions, watch out after All Star break. Could be a surprise team.

Still Hunting   by Don Welch

Once there were mallards ahead of a blizzard,
their backs to a front of sleet,
and we dug deep into a blind,

and all morning long there were ducks coming in,
maple-leading down, like the cold fast pitch
of breath over our lips.

It was Thanksgiving, a slice of season,
when you looked at my eyes.Young, there must have
been a cold ease about them and a radical vision.

But that was a long time ago. Now among the pintail,
widgeon, wood duck, and saup, the sun's low,
the wind's tailing down, and the brown phantom

of he evening's first owl's setting sail.
To watch you sluffing along, the breath-frost
in your beard whitening your face,

the stroke you've had
making you do an idiotic dance which you hate
is to watch you lean crookedly against a walking branch.

Gadwall, canvasback, redhead, and teal -
unlocking a gate, you watch the old wire swing back,
slowly catching itself in the cheatgrass.

Over the river the day's last ducks
are penciled chevrons bent in their long, careful arcs.
And pausing, you say, do this for me.

When I'm dead, name thing well.
That's all you need of integrity.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Don't Count the Dubs Out

So, Jerry West strikes again. Bravo, Jerry. Your keen eye brought the Warriors Klay Thompson, your imput helped a new GM get his feet wet. He proved his mettle and took the Warriors further after you departed, and I suspect he hasn't suddenly lost his ability to make good decisions for the Warriors' future.

I like the acquisition of DeAngelo Russell. In my humble opinion, the Dubs did not sign him to trade him. From some rocky beginnings with the Lakers, DeAngelo  has grown as a player. He is a clever ball handler, a solid driver, possesses both a middle distance (jumper/floater) and can sink 3 point shots So, the question team must ask themselves when facing the Dubs, how do you guard Curry and DeAngelo on the court at the same time? Add Klay at a stretch 3? And Green, never forget or under-estimate Draymond. I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't come back next season chomping at the bit, a steadier, more determined, chip on his shoulder Green. Watch out! I'm a huge Green believer. Total basketball smarts, when focused. And last year proved he is ready to reach his potential.

Curry, oh, Should we forget at our peril, there is still the greatest three-point shooter in the history of basketball to reckon with.

And lets round out the rest of the team, starters and benchers: Looney didn't simply sign with the Warriors to give them a small-contract gift - he signed because the Warriors were always faithful to his measured growth. He's paying forward. Keep in mind how young Looney is. The bench that I had so little faith in last season is gone. Thank the Universe! Taller, longer, stronger players will join the Warriors. Damion Jones, at 7 feet, has a lot to prove. He'll be ready. Cauley-Stein is now a Warrior. The kid can run like a deer. Sure he's got some flaws, but he's definitely a pick-and-roll presence and a fast-break finisher. For the first time in years, I like what I'm seeing out of the Warriors' Summer League team. Poole looks like a downtown shooter and is not reluctant to put the pill up.

I'm betting Bob Meyers is not finished making moves? Lot's of time on the clock before the NBA season starts anew. Oh, by the way, let's not forget an amazing coach in Steve Kerr and staff, with a grit for defense, courtesy of Ron Adams.

No caveats from me. No, given health and unforeseen circumstances. The Warriors will be in competition for the Western Conference Championship because they demand TEAM first, and stardom second.

And just a small thought because the recent Kawhi thing is fresh in everybody's mind, if the Clippers rise to the top, it will not be because of Kawhi and George, but the junkyard dogs they have around the two greyhounds.

Terrific lazy day summer poem.

In Summer's Amber   by Gilbert Rogin

Thickened with light, the spaces of summer
hold sound like the sea.
A playing-field shout outlive the play;
an outboard motor is put up, its drone preserved,
as it were, in summer's amber.
Only at night are the sounds quick and falling:
the water breaking each time the jumping fish falls;
in the white barns, horses stamping
in their dreams' dark furlongs;
grooms sitting out under the elms
in canvas chairs, on tack boxes,
telling lies.

Sunday, June 23, 2019


Lots of free agency chatter going on. Here's my take on some of the topics.

Warriors first, and this is pure wishful thinking: Ownership needs to bite the bullet and not worry about luxury tax. That said, there probably is a point even a franchise worth the price of the Taj Majal
can't go beyond. Anyway, the Warriors should roll up their financial sleeves and pay KD and Klay their well earned big buck,with a look to one year down the road, not for next season. Next season is going to be an exercise in creativity. If we get a lottery pick next year, is that such a bad thing, especially if you have your core healthy and happy coming back?

Sacramento Kings: Willy Cauley Stein wants to depart. Well, no team wants a disgruntled player on its team. Cauley has spent 4 years refusing to learn how to hit a consistent middle distance jumper or a consistent jump hook, so when is he going to do that and with which team will he suddenly get off his ass and figure his game out.

Kwhi Leonard: Jeez, you really want to leave a championship team and a fabulous city that is not in the purview of Donald Trump and that has turned you into it s hero and an ownership that will give you more money than any other franchise in the league????? OK. So you're out of there. Where do you go. Obviously, its a homeboy thing - the City of Angels. But which Angel? If he's smart, it will be the Clippers' Angel. Why on earth would he want to team up with Lebron, who is so ball dominant? And, aside of AD and Kuzma, not much else to round out a team. On the other hand, he could be the one player missing from the Clips to make them a Championship caliber team.

Kyrie. Go where ever. Boston is better off without you. Boston should sign Horford. Every team in the league wants a guy like Horford.

Kemba Walker is a stud, but is he really a point guard? Is he really a smart player. However, the Suns need a pt guard who can spread the floor desperately.

Middleton is a bit of a mystery to me. He has a quiet, solid game worthy of half an All-Star status. He is on the right team with the right personal and the right coaching. If he leaves and goes to the wrong team, he could be mis-utilized. For example, if the team he goes to wants him to carry the scoring load and opponents' D focuses on him. It's not going to happen, Chris.

Vucevic: Why is everybody talking about this guy?He's old news. You can't win a championship with him in the post. So why should a team shell out big bucks?

Tobias Harris is an interesting player. He is an excellent shooter, but an average defender. If Kawhi leaves Toronto, I can see them making a play for Tobias to fill the scoring gap. Would he be right for the Sacramento Kings? He's still young and appears to be dedicated to improving his game. So, yes, he could spread the floor, but then what do you do with Harrison Barnes? I love Barnes D and I love Barnes smarts.

Enough for the NBA and onto to a Life comment.:

Our country, as it stands now under the presidency of Donald Trump, has not been as divided into two opposing camps since the Civil War. It is not North vs South, but it is symbolically the Confederacy vs the Union.

The poem for today's blog hearkens back to my playing days.

Doris Day  (1922-2019)               by Tom Meschery

     “L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stele.”

             Dante Alighieri

Doris died and all I can think of
is her sitting courtside clapping
as the Lakers pour it on,
led by Jerry and Elgin.
The rumor was
Doris was getting it on with Elgin,
but I refused to believe the girl
next door who sang Secret Love,
and Que Sera, Sera,
perky Doris of my fantasy,
would do anything so gross
as have an affaire.

Oh, Romance on the high seas
where has your blush gone?
My arm slipped around the shoulder
of Sharon Baily in the balcony
of the Metro. I reached
carefully inside her sweater,
felt the soft flesh beneath the bra
and her shiver, while on screen
Calamity Jane stuck a six-gun
in the pocket of her dress
for the marriage scene
that ended the movie.
It had taken me that long
to work up the courage
before the curtain rose
and the theater lights came on.

Seven decades later, I want to cry
for the loss of first girlfriends
and lost fantasies, remembering
our pitiful generation of white men
all moved by the same stars
of stage and screen,
by the mystery of women’s flesh
that we believed in like altars.
All we wanted was the girl next door,
greeting us at the door with her apron on
as we returned home from work,
dinner almost done, a highball
ready and our slippers.

Was this too much to ask, Doris,
that you not take off your clothes
for Elgin and in the shadow of love
not be the harbinger of change,
you of all women, let that mantle
fall to someone else, to stars
from another galaxy. Remain
in my mind as I always imagined
provocative and chaste.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Toronto Wins With an *

I played the game long enough to know there are no "What if's." However, if one did exist, this season's NBA Finals would be that exception. With a healthy Kevin Durant and healthy Klay Thompson, the Golden State Warriors win the 2019 NBA Championship. Period. End of story.

That said, the Toronto Raptors are the champs. They were not responsible for the Warriors injuries. All they could do was play the best basketball they could play, and they did. They were aggressive and determined. They shot well and defended well. They did not not get over-confident even as they saw their chances improve dramatically with Klay Thompson's knee injury in the 3rd quarter..A lesser focused team might have made mistakes. The Raptors won the Championship fair and square.

As for the Dubs.I applaud the fact that they managed to hang in after Klay went down. All that was left of consistent shooters was Steph Curry. And that was a heck of a smart play Kerr designed during the time out with 9 seconds to go in the game that got Steph a shot for the win, albeit a difficult one that did not drop. Loony was guts out but injured. DeMarcus still overweight and not fully back in playing shape from his injury. And the Dubs were still throwing punches, but there wasn't much knockout strength behind them. If this had been boxing, the Raptors won on a TKO.

If any team needs to find a nice quiet spot and rest, it's the Dubs. Have a few cold ones, nap under a palm tree, sit on the beach or by a lake, read. listen to music, watch clouds. listen to rain.. CHILL.

I am proud on these Warriors, who have earned the title Warriors.

So, the season ends and we'll miss the joy of another parade. Instead of Oakland, the Parade will be in Toronto, Canada and Canadians should be proud of their team. Historically, it's the first international NBA team to win a championship. And that's significant. Maybe in the future, an NBA team from an expanded European NBA will win a Larry O'Brien trophy. Maybe some day an NBA team from Africa will win a championship, coached by Serge Ibaka. Oh, well.

Still, in the mind of an old Warrior, the Raptors name on the 2019 Larry O'Brien Trophy will always have and asterisk after it. And the Raptors will look at it and know exactly why its thee.

In honor of KD, a poem from my new collection, Time Out


From our seats
beneath the basket,
watching KD
before the game,
I’m wondering
where have I seen
such fluid grace before,
almost like liquid,
as if Durant
was out to prove
the truth
inscribed on Keats’ tombstone:
Here lies one whose name
is writ in water.
KD shoots again, all net.
If I close my eyes
will I see waves?

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Last Game at Oracle

My jersey #14 was the first to be retired and hung in the rafters of Oracle arena, so there's some nostalgia I'm dealing with today. On the other hand, I was a San Francisco Warrior of the City Auditorium and Cow Palace era Warriors, so I'm looking forward to seeing games at Chase Center, next season, my team back in The City.

About tonight's final game at Oracle, the Warriors must keep in mind something an old street fighter told me, "He who gets the first punch in, has the first punch in." Great advice if you find yourself in a street brawl, but also good advice for the Warriors as it applies to Defense. The Dubs must be the first to set the defensive tone of the game. The popular word these days is "aggressive" Stay aggressive, always take the fight to your opponent.

I'll spell it out Lots Of Love to Kevin Durant. I'm not sure what all the blather was about KD, should he or shouldn't he? When, why? etc. All pro athletes know that if its the Finals, the Super Bowl, the Stanley Cup, the World Series, you're going to do everything you can to play, to make a contribution. KD did, Those early buckets sparked the Warriors, they ignited a will in the Warriors that took them to the final victory in Toronto. Thanks KD, for the inspiration and the guts, but you'd say I'm sure that you were doing what any athlete worth his salt would have done. You couldn't have done anything else but risk it. It's who we are, it's what we do. We couldn't live with ourselves if we didn't give it our best shot.

So let's stop with the media second guessing bullshit and applaud a great professional basketball player.

I remember driving to Live Oak playground (ok, so it's in Berkeley) to play against the best the East Bay had to offer. Here's to them, some I played against, some I didn't: Joe Gardere, Bobby Dold, Bepo Dyer, Don Barksdale, Joe Ellis, Jim Hadnot, Paul Silas, Bill Russell, Jerry Mullin, Joe Barry, Rick Lawless. Just the ones that come to mind, many more great hoopsters I'm forgetting. 

Not a poem but close: 

Live Oak,
The  playground.
The games we played 'till dusk
Came back for more at night
Emblazoned on Warrior jerseys
Last game in The Town
Thanks for the memories. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

One Second Can Make the Difference & etc

When the Warriors are the Warriors at their best, they are always one second ahead of their opponents. One second doesn't sound like much, but add up what it means on each pass and it represents the difference between the ball reaching the hand of the shooter before the opponent can close out efficiently. If a team is one second ahead of its opponent on offense, and the opponent is one second behind on its offensive end, a winning time differential exist that is devoutly to be wished. This is why the passing game is so important, and the  iso game, no matter how skilled the iso player is is not. I love Kawhi Leonard, but he holds on to the ball too long. No way, you say! Not by Kyrie Erving standards, for sure, but still too long, perhaps a second too long, and as the poet Robert Frost says, "that can make all the difference." Winning in the NBA depends on seconds. Every second that does not lead to a basket is a wasted second. A player catches the ball with space to shoot, he hesitates a second. He's lost the advantage. A coach hesitates calling a time out, one second, two seconds. The play he draws up might have worked had he been faster on the draw. The NBA today is two fast gunslingers facing each other on the street of Showdown, U.S.A. The team that clears leather the fastest wins.


Got to love Steve Kerr's T-shirt of 60 Minutes: VOTE FOR OUR LIVES. Right on, Coach!

Are the Raiders nuts signing Richie Incoginito? The Sacramento Bee sport page listed Incognito's multitudinous infractions: spitting on opponents, bullying teammates, fighting in practice, willfully attempting to hurt opponents, the beat goes on and on, but what they left out, and to me, what will hurt the Raiders the most is that he  [Incognito] was accused by Yannick Ngakoue, the African-American defensive end of the Jaguars.of using racial slurs, To my way of thinking one racial slur is as good as 100 racial slurs. It mean you are a racist. On a team where 80% of your teammates are African-Americans, this does not bode well for team harmony. Or, perhaps, the Raiders' cocky little coach Jon Gruden, thinks he can make such vile behavior disappear.

Nice baseball poem by Linda Pastan

When you tried to tell me
baseball was a metaphor

for life: the long, dusty travail
around the bases, for instance,

to try to go home again,
the sacrifice for which you win

approval but not applause;
the way the light closes down

in the last days of the season -
I didn't believe you.

It's just a way of passing
the time, I said.

And you said: that's it.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

A Little of This & A :Little of That

Marcus Smart and Eric Bledsoe instead of Klay Thompson and Draymond Green for All Defense First Team, you gotta be smoking smack.

Let's hear it for the Warrior bench, once again came through in the clutch. And how about Warrior smothering Defense? Assistant Coach Ron Adams get kuddos for that.

My wife was wearing her Lucky Warrior T-shirt for the entire playoff series, so I was never in doubt about the outcome

Kings need to be careful. This mornings sportpage: Making a play for free agent Tobias Harris could be a big mistake. No doubt they need a consistent 3 point shooter at the 3/4. But you can't sacrifice defense for offense. I thought I saw Bageley III beginning to get his 3 ball going by the end of season. I do like Harris, but Bagely is a natural 4. One right move and they're a playoff team. One wrong move and they're in the lottery.

I am seriously tired of all the yap yap yapping about KD. He is a Warrior until he tells us he's not. It's that simple. I personally believe he'd be foolish to leave the Dubs. Whose he going to partner up with and be on a team that has the same energy and intelligence as the Warriors, and coaching, don't forget coaching. Does KD really want to start anew at age 30 when he can remain and be part of a team that will not only be part of NBA History but NBA lore. It is not inconceivable that the Warriors could go on to two or three more NBA Championships. That would put them up there with the Legendary Boston Celtic teams of the Sixties. Don't do it, KD!

Toronto vs Milwaukee: As a Warrior fan, I hoping his series goes to 7 games. More Warrior healing and rest time. But irony always manages to rear its head in first game when the team that's tired coming off a grueling 7 games, wins. So Dubs better be prepared for Mr. Irony.

Fishing season is on in, so in honor of my two fly-fishing son-in-laws, this terrific fishing poem:

Catch   by Ethna McKeirnan   

I imagine us dancing, a Mexican ballroom somewhere
(anything instead of fishing)
In faded, pre-war elegance, tropically flowered wallpaper
(jigs, flies, speckled lures and mr. twisters)
Drooping lushly like the evening sea-breeze
(damn the wind, they won’t bite now)
And you in sailor whites – tuxedo, if I blur my eyes
(black, shiny, slimy leeches, grubs, chubs, fathead. . . )
The band plays 40’s swing, a dark man croons “Darling”
(I’m a rapid oxidizer,” you announce, sweat streaming down your nose)
“Darling, Take My Heart. . . “
(walleye, pike, sunstroke, crappies)
And my red dress spins faster as you lift me off he floor
9jesus Christ, a four pounder!)
Its ruffled hem streaming round my knees
Like a school of tiny iridescent fish
(darling, take my heart)
You sing at last.


Monday, May 13, 2019

Good Stuff and Bad Stuff

Let's start with the GOOD STUFF: CJ McCullum of the Portland Blazers has proven like Klay Thompson of the Flash Brothers, that his presence is essential for the success of his team.Whereas Dame's drives to the basket are usually straight line bursts, C.J. is bustro phedonic, albeit much swifter than the ox, able to break down defenses.

It requires saying that the Blazers lucked out signing Enes Kantor a month before their young and talented center Notic broke his leg. Let is also be noted that Kantor, a devote Muslim, played the game in Denver on a dawn to dusk fast as part of his religious tradition. Might be a good idea to consider the decent and positive qualities of Islam and not all the negative crap the Trump White House is chucking around like turds.

Now, how about that five bounce K Leonard jump shot from the corner for the Toronto Raptors' win!
Note: Raptors are lucky to have acquired Marc Gasol. Like a second coach on the floor. I don't hold out much hope for our northern cousins against the Bucks. I just don't feel comfortable with the Raptor's guards. Yeah, Lowry is OK, but as the recent AT&T commercials on TV ask us, is OK good enough?

I'm still knocked out by Golden States performance to win the series against the Rockets. The Warriors' offense might be described as a motion offense, but how do you describe the Rockets' offense: It's dribble, dribble, pass at the last second and sometimes a skip pass or pass around the horn for an open corner shot, but maybe not but back to Harden to dribble, dribble, dribble or to Chris Paull to dribble, dribble, dribble, pull up fade away jumper. They have all the skilled players they need to beat our Dubs, but couldn't do it because they lack one component: for lack of a better term: TEAM FLOW. 

The BAD STUFF: It broke my heart to see Tiger Woods accepting the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Donald Trump. How can an African American, I don't care how many previous projects he's been a part of with the Trump Organization in the past, or his recent designing of the Trump World Golf Course in Dubai (which, by the way, will turn out to be a financial loser like Trump's golf course in Scotland) to associate himself with a RACIST like Trump, speaks to Wood's shallowness of spirit. I thought he didn't look particularly happy, but he did bend his neck when the time came for Trump to place the medal over his head. What a sight, arguably the greatest golfer in the world being honored by a guy who cheats at golf.

I love this basketball prose poem that I've used before, but it's worth repeating.

Basketball   by Louis Jenkins

A huge summer afternoon with no sign of rain. . . Elm trees
in the farm yard bend and creak in the wind. The leaves are
dry and gray. In the driveway a boy shoots a basketball as ta
goal above the garage door. Wind makes shooting difficult
and time after time he chasesthe loose ball. He shoots, re-
bounds, turns shoots. . . on into the afternoon. In the silence
between the gust of wind the only sounds are the thump of
the ball on the ground and the rattle of the bared steel rim of
the goal. The gate hangs in the wind, the dog in the yard yawns,
stretches and goes back to sleep. A film of dust cover he
water in the trough. Great clouds of dust rise from open fields
and stretch a thousand miles beyond the horizon. 

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Holy Curry!

Holy Cow, Holy Curry! The second half of last night's game against the Rockets was his transcendent basketball moment in along list of Steph Curry's spectacular performances. There has never been an All Star player in a playoff series who has scored 0 points in a first half, and scored 30 points in a second half of the same game. Watching Curry in the second half was like watching a miracle. Thus I way, "Holy Curry!" with a slight nod in the direction of the Holy Universe. 

Missing a few of the bench from the first Dubs, this was the team that won the Championship against the Cavs in Cleveland in six. So let's not be overly surprised.

The Splash Brothers rule. Without Klay's first half, the Dubs lose.

Loony has discovered his "mean streak." I am totally stoked the way he's ripping the boards.

Draymond turns into the mythological dragon come playoffs.

Igudala, according to Coach Kerr, is the "the adult in the room."

The bench that has been mostly absent this season stepped up big time. Coach Kerr praised them and rightly so.

Perfect poem for Steph Curry

When I Got It Right   by Carl Lindner

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

Sunday, May 5, 2019

3 on 3 pros not so pro and etc::Dubs, Nate the Great & Split Screens

A bunch of guys whose game has run its course (no disrespect intended) who gives a damn? Donte Greene, Bonzi Wells, Royce White. Really????? I'm not saying it's a bad idea, just that it ain't gonna work with the over-the-hill gang.
Most of the 3 on 3 coaches in their prime could outplay their players. Tiny Archibald H of F point guard, and Nancy Lieberman who, by the way, could probably juke Donte Greene, even at her age.

Warriors going small against Rockets (Green, KD, Curry, Thompson and Igudala) look strong. But you can NOT play the game of NBA playoff basketball 5 against 10. Dub's bench must step up, particularly on the Defensive end. The job of all the players providing relief for starters must be to play shut-down D. Be frightening. Kick ass! Don't worry about scoring.

Driving home from a Jones' Boy's Concert in Pacific, I found a Memorial Service guide for Nate "The Great" Thurmond in my glove box. I miss my teammate tremendously. I began thinking how Nate is often overlooked by a basketball public that remembers the Russells, Chamberlains, and Jabbars, while Nate was the best ALL AROUND center of all three. (Walton was the best All Around, but he doesn't count because he didn't pass the test of time.)

Then, I began thinking what about the centers in today's game? Jokic of Denver and Joel Embid of Philly as examples of today's "new" centers. They would not have scored against Nate The Great.. Take that to the bank.

Just wondering: When Joel Embid and Pascal Siakam, both from the Cameroon, meet Luc Mbah a Moute do they have to bow to the Prince?

My latest sports gripe: SPLIT SCREENS. Not only do we sports' fans have to put up with endless regular commercials, but now the powers that be have added more advertising space they can sell by virtue of splitting the screen while the sporting event is going on, and they don't even have the courtesy to give the sport the bigger of the two screens. Talk about greed at the expense of viewers. What I do when the split screen comes on is place my right palm over the commercial screen and close my right eye. Blocks the ad  Frigg 'em! Corporate greed over the top. Amazon pays no income tax. Is that nuts, or what? But they are not the only corporation paying zero taxes on the back of the Middle Class. Get real, America!.

In honor of the Kentucky Derby:

A Jockey    by Ron Koertce 

named Kovacs went down
at Pomona yesterday.
He was riding something
that was born to hold
one piece of paper
to another.

The crowd loves to hate
accidents and everybody
wanted to know wo Ted
Kovacs was. Like the
next winner, it was 
a mystery.

This  then, is to set
the record straight:
Ted Kovacs makes 14
thousand a year when
things to right.

His wife keeps a 
scrapbook that shows
the day he tripled,
the $9000.00 Exacta
where he was second,
and all the times he
was in intensive care.

When he almost didn't make it,
the article ran to nearly
20 lines. 

Saturday, April 6, 2019

The NFL is a Weeny Sport

I just finished watching Wales defeat Scotland in an international rugby match. All I can say is the National Football League should be ashamed of itself. Rugby players wear no helmets, no pads. They play in T-shirts and shorts and advance the ball down the field in what appears to me with the kind of violence associated with the Visigoths sacking Rome or our Army storming ashore on the beaches of Normandy. Not a concussion protocol in sight. And talk about fast, holy hundred meter dash!!!!  And then, after the match, I'm told, both teams go to the pub and suck up suds and hug each other, and sing songs. Now that's football.

Sacramento Kings center Willy Cauley Stein, a free agent at the end of this season, would consider leaving for another team. He feels, according to this morning's sport page, unappreciated. He says of himself, "I've still got more skills that haven't been brought out." He wants to be more than a rim running center. I'm a fan of Cauley Stein, but find his complaint curious. Is he saying the Kings coaching staff have not developed his potential? If that's the case, pray tell, what would that potential be - skill wise? At this point in his career, the way I see it, Willy is a Tyson Chandler, DeAndre Jordan type of player and that's not an insult. Tyson won a ring being a rim protector and dunking lob passes. But, if Cauley Stein sees himself as possessing the kind of skills that would put him in the category of Anthony Davis, or Tim Duncan or Hakeem Olyjuwon, wouldn't it seem logical that in the four off seasons, Willy would have worked his butt off to learn to shoot a consistent jumper, or develop a few post moves or jump hook? Oh, but maybe, this was the job of the Kings coaches.

Watched my Dubs hand the Nuggets their jocks (I hear this is an outdated male garment) and said to myself if they can play like this through the playoffs, it's another Championship Parade. And just so you know where my heart is, as far as I'm concerned, it's all about Warrior defense. When the attack on D, every other part of their game reaches it's devastating potential.

Question going into end of season. Who will the Celtics give up to get AD? They better be careful not to give away too much. AD does not have a good medical history.

Watching My First Rugby Match    by Tom Meschery

I wonder in the chaos
called a scrum,
what is hidden
that is not the ball.

And remains behind
within the vortex
as the ball slips out
and pitched to run

until the next collision.
This way the ball 
moves down the field
one embrace after another

that it is not so fond
to its final destination
players bloody and broken
and wars are lost and won.

Monday, April 1, 2019

End of 2018/19 NBA Season Approaching and etc

I don't mean to denigrate Pop's Spurs, but I'd like the Warriors to avoid facing the OKC in the first round. Granted the Thunder are not playing well. But mindsets change once playoffs begin, and OKC has some excellent players and are far more physical than the Spurs. Now that we have Bogut back with the Dubs, I'm less concerned about physicality in the paint and rim protecting, but it's my feeling they have the one time ability to pull off an upset. So, Of course who the Dubs play will be more determined by the team playing for the 7th spot, and how they are viewing their chances. Still, the Dubs need to win down the stretch and stay atop the Western Conference.

When there's talk of Coach of the Year, it appears to me the pundits are overlooking the job Steve Kerr has done this season. Ask all the coaches who've won consecutive NBA Championships how difficult it is, and Kerr has to be considered a strong contender.

It bears keeping in mind that Coach Kerr has had to be extremely creative putting together rotations for this season that were more predictable and more effective in the past. In addition, he's had to figure out how to integrated Boogie into a line-up in such a way as to maximize his positives and minimize his negatives, two of which are: he's not a rim protector and not a fierce rebounder. Note: I believe the first requirement for jumping is that your shoes must leave the court. Sorry, Boogie, I love parts of your game, but you have no hops.

If not Kerr for Coach of the Year, I vote for Pop. He's done wonders with a very incongruous group of players.

A respectful nod to Doc of the Clippers, or should I say Jerry West for breaking the team down and putting it back together better.

If not our Western Conference coaches, than Budennholser of the Bucks. Nifty job with his bench players.

So, what does the race for the NBA Championship look like from Meschery's view point?

The East first: The 76ers do not have the chemistry; the Celtics? Yeah, they can be extremely tough but seem to have too many lapses in concentration, plus I'm not that big a fan of Kyrie as a leader; the Bucks appears to have all the positions covered and bench strength at max at just the right tiime. That leaves Toronto. Can they win with Lowry as their leader? Neither a true point guard nor a pure shooting two guard.

The West: The Warriors and the Rockets. Watch out for the feisty Clippers. There is no question that the Rockets are tough. But whither goeth Hardin, so goeth the Rockets. The Warriors win because it's extremely difficult to beat them in a seven game series.

Now cometh the ETC like the Post Man:

Is anybody pissed at the split screen coverage of sporting events? And what's with the larger screen being the commercial and the weeny screen to the sport.  Rise up sports fans, we have nothing to lose but a few bad beer commercials and some lying Big Pharma promises.

I hate to say it, because I like Joe Biden, but he needs to drop out of the race for the presidency. This latest revelation, which is not really a revelation, that he pats and hugs and embraces women, not sexually, but certainly condescendingly, disqualifies him in the eyes of the modern generation of educated women voters the Dems need to beat the jerk we have in office now. It's time to pass the political baton to the youngsters.

Zion Williams is not the Second Coming of Lebron James. More of a Randle look-a-like inside/slashing power forward. Not a jump shooter, not with that sidewinder form. But I may eat my words as Lebron was not a shooter when he came into the league.

Pulling for U of Virginia just because - from loser last year to winner this year seems like justice.

I've never been much of a bowling fan, but clearly it requires great talent to play the sport well. So here's a bowling poem in honor of a sport I overlook and in honor of fathers and sons. .

Hook    by Floyd Skloot

My father limps on the leg that healed short.
His twice-broken right wrist, too weak to hold
a bowing ball palm up, is why he spins
a hook he cannot control. The ball rolls
slowly, as if limping while it wanders
from one gutter to the other and back.

We stand dead last in the Father and Son
League, not helped by my rocketing straight shots
that knock down nothing as often as they
knock down everything. He watches, giving
no advice. At thirteen, knowing there is 
nothing for me to say either. I wait

for the ball's return so I can heft it 
again and aim down the gleaming alley. 

Saturday, March 2, 2019

I gotta say

What's with sports owners these days? Kraft of the Patriots is getting below the belt massages at an exotic massage parlor, and Giant's CEO is video'd knocking his wife to the ground in a restaurant trying to grab a cell phone out of her hand. I guess Sir Charles was right back when he said, "I ain't nobody's role model." Or something to that effect.

A quick comment about 49er headline in today's Sac Bee sports: Seeking guys who can "take it to another level" at receiver. Duh! On a pro level, would you seek a player who didn't? Double Duh!

It bears repeating Sacramento sports fans are still being subjected to reading about their Kings results two days after the game happens because the paper is unwilling to pay the bucks it needs to be a first class newspaper. So lets say there's an astonishing event that happens in California (you chose the event) that happens at nine in the evening, I guess we wouldn''t hear about it the next morning, right?

The LA Clippers beat our Kings, if you want to know. A great game. Our young, refreshingly enthusiastic youngster almost pulling it off, and what do I read this morning: some stuff about Coach Joerger believing something special is happening in basketball in the River City "for many years to come."

A Kings' footnote: The young power forward Harry Giles could turn out to be special. He's got a feather touch and very smooth and quick. I'm seeing a little Scotty Pipen. Don't know if he has quite that handle, but we'll see.

Two tough losses by my Warriors on the road. No question we have the best Starting Five. Now our bench has to back the five up with some grit. I can accept losses, but not when losses are the result of lack of toughness. But, I'm sounding like a coach instead of a retired English teacher. Or maybe I'm sounding like a Saturday Morning Quarterback.

How the hell did the Rockets get Ken Faried? The "Manimal" is a LOAD on the glass - both ends, and all of a sudden, this once upon a time only energy guy is making shots. Very worrisome for all opponents in the West.

When is the league going to ban Donald Trump for life for flagrant fouls against our country? What is with this person that he feels he's got to kiss the arses of dictators? I understand Putin because Putin is blackmailing him, but those two murderers from Saudi Arabia and North Korea????? You'd think, being a bully himself, Trump would understand the only way to defeat a bully is to stand up to him. What an embarrassment Trump is. And the Republican Party, what can I say except remember the little weasels that always hung out with the school bully, those guys with no courage and no brains of their own? The Elephant Party might want to start looking in the mirror for any resemblance to weasels reflecting back to them.

Trump and Kim Going One-On-One in Hanoi     by Tom Meschery

                             Sacramento Bee February, 27, 2019

The dark letters at the top of the page,
I have no doubt, were composed
with me in mind, to spoil my breakfast,
to ruin my coffee with an image
of a basketball court: one evil president
and a fat little dictator, facing off:
uniforms made of their country’s flags,
ro-sham-bo’ing at the top of the key,
for first ups. Scissors cut paper - Kim wins.
Rock breaks scissors, Trump wins.
Tie-breaker, you decide. I’m betting
on the dictator, with the better cross-over,
step back. Trumps too slow, and can’t
pronounce defense even with a cue card.

Over coffee on a cold, wet morning,
I’m imagining a game of basketball
played in the middle of a city
rebuilt using airplane and body parts,
in the shadow of Buddhist temples,
the saffron yellow of monks’ robes,
and the insanely green rice fields
of Coppala’s war. My coffee
tastes bitter with every score,
listening to their heavy breathing,
smelling the stink of their sweat.

I have a friend who flew missions
over Hanoi and was awarded
The Airforce Cross. He told me
he could strafe a village
with the push of a button,
schools, and huts and once
a soccer field of young men
disappeared into history books.

Is there a merciful bomb left
undiscovered in Hanoi that will end
this ridiculous game of head-fakes
and jab-steps and let the rest of the world
live in peace, allow me to start my day over
with fresh coffee and a different front page
announcing, if there is any justice left,
the last two deaths of an unjust war.

Monday, February 18, 2019

NBA All Star Game, & etc

Okay, so there was a little D being played in the last five minutes of the game, probably motivated by bragging rights.

Dunk contest is getting ho-hum. All 10's for Smith's five missed tries before finally executing????Where have all the real high-flyers gone? Long time passing?

Shak and Barkley are almost incoherent. Sub in another smart woman, like Candace.

Seth and Doc Rivers daughter engaged. We're talking children with great basketball genes.

Steph's son was named Canon. With a sports' name like that and my belief that the principal of irony governs the world, odds are in favor of him turning into a etymologist.

It's worth mentioning again my plan to upgrade the All-Star Game: Create a 4 point line, and two 5 point opportunity boxes at the intersection of sideline and mid-court line.

I hate to say it, but Commissioner Silver's search for more parity could be solved by dropping the league down four teams. There are some really very average players making up rosters. The remaining teams could absorb the best players from the four teams dropped. I know this solution will not be widely applauded, but what the hell, at my age, who cares.

Steph and Seth's mom sinks half-court shot. We now know where the boys got their "real" eyes. Apologies to Dad.

NBA Cares rocks. Lots of charity and love and joy during the festivities. And how about the fashion statements?

Loved seeing all the kids on the court. Basketball will soon be the most popular sport in the world.

Also, big shout out for the NBA again for including Wade and Nowitski as honorary All-Stars. Classy move.

Next year, The Greek Freak needs to enter the dunk contest so we can see something really airborne.. Imagine, like Wilt, picking a silver dollar off the top of the backboard with one hand and dunking with the other. Just saying!

A replay poem from a few years back. Nothing serious, but fun, like the All -Star game.

Chinese Checkers by Arleen Cohen

The dragons
tell me how to move,
like a grasshopper across
the multi-colored field
springing from hole to hole
outmaneuvering the beetles.

I see the sacred star
and one by one
I deposit my eggs
until it is
filled and full.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019


What's that song? Sactown Races, do dah. . . etc?  Okay, Camptown Races.

Not that you don't think you're at the races watching the young Sacramento Kings basketball team, led by thoroughbred, De'Aarron Fox. Young man from U of Kentucky can out race most if not all of the NBA guards. He encourages, by example, the rest of the team to catch up to him, and they've been doing it this season. If the Kings were not in the tough Western Division, at 22 - 21 they'd be in 3rd place in the Central and Southwest Divisions and 2nd place in the Southeast.

After my Warriors, the Kings are my favorite team to watch. They are young, enthusiastic, and fast, Watching youthful mistakes can be frustrating, but their losses are never about lack of effort. Sure, they've let a few games where they were ahead, slip away in the fourth quarter. Even in defeat, they're youthful exuberance is a joy to see.

All the Kings administration and coaching staff need to do is be patient. One more solid draft choice or acquisition, Perhaps a wide body, kick-ass back-up center for Cauley Stein?  Perhaps a bigger back-up guard for Fox. I love Yogi, but he's not the tough JJ Barea type, so a longer body with similar quickness would be better. After that it's all about the continual growth of the young Crown Princes, aspiring to royalty.

Therein, of course, is the rub. Players at the highest level, just because they've got a signed contract, can not stop improving themselves. For example, If Cauley-Stein wants to reach stardom, he must learn to shoot a consistent mid-range jumper. Bagely, the a huge upside talent at power forward, must learn to shoot free-throws. All of them must work on their individual D. Team Defense is only as good as individual defenders defend individually. All of the Kings need to build strength and stamina. To be a playoff team, you need to be a fourth quarter team.

A few additional comments:

In professional basketball, if a really good team plays poorly in the first half, but their opponent can't stretch the lead beyond at least twenty points going into the locker-room, there is no guarantee the team ahead will be able to maintain the lead. I say this as an example of where I believe my Warriors are at this stage of the season. If one game represents the entire season, with half-time (half of the season) coming up. I don't see any team outplaying the Warriors in the second half, even thought the Dubs certainly haven't so far played as well as they can.

Saint Nick ran out of Miracles. That's what happens when you're the only Saint playing against a team of Saints.

I was not impressed with Dustin Johnson's reasoning for playing in Saudi Arabia. "I'm not a politician, I play golf." Soooo. . . athletes should not be sensitive to brutal murders? You're playing the back nine, while they cutting some guy up into pieces? You got enough $. F--k the Saudi murderers. Don't play. Show some courage!

Fox,    by Tom Meschery

    for De'Aaron   

On the trail,
leaving the riders ,
in their superfluous
red costumes behind,
out-running the hounds.