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

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.

Friday, September 22, 2023

Thursday Night Football & The NBA's Players Rest Management

 TNF football viewing on Amazon Prime Video SUCKS. I watched my 49ers play last evening on Amazon Prime Video for which my wife and I are paying additional $ above our normal Xfinity bill and missed two crucial touchdowns to 5 minutes of fa TV rozen screen, which came on the heels of several less lengthy earlier frozen screens. This problem of glitch-pauses in action were present last season, that at the start of this season's TNF games I assumed must have been corrected. One would assume that, wouldn't one? It obviously has not. Consequently, I will stop watching NFL's Thursday Night Football until I have been informed that the powers that be have solved this problem. This is totally unprofessional. Amazon and the NFL should be hanging their heads in shame. Anyone out there who feels as I do, don't hesitate to let your feelings be known. 

Resting the stars in the NBA has been a growing problem. New rules by the NBA are now in place for next season. I believe they will help a little, but it seems to me that resting starts so they are ready for the last part of the season is so logical, all teams with any intelligence will look to continue the practice one way or another.. As an ex player I'm not against resting stars or managing a player's minutes. But what I've consistently been concerned with is how this affects loyal fans who pay very high ticket prices to see their teams and particularly their stars. Many of these ticket buyers can only afford two such games per season. How to help them is the single most important problem the NBA should be concerned with. One way to help is for the league to have specific rules about rest management that from the start of the season, fans can calculate whether or not they should spend their money on a game. For example: 1) Teams are allowed to rest their star players on the second day of back to back games. 2) Teams can rest a star player coming off an injury for a time not to exceed 2 weeks. (In this case it is already allowable to manage playing minutes.) 3) Any team that rests a star player other than for documented injury after the All Star break will be fined. I can imagine a number of other possible specific rules, but you get the picture. What's important about specifics from the beginning of the season is that it allows fans to make better choices about which games they spend their hard earned money on. They may not always guess correctly, but it will improve their chances. For those fans who guess wrong and buy tickets for a game in which they do not get to see the best players, may I suggest some way of refunding some portion of the ticket to make up for the lass. Not the entire amount, mind you, because they still got to see NBA hoops that 's fun on any level and whoever is on the court.

Back to TNF Here's a poem I wrote that sums up my feelings about the 49ers. My next poem will be about Nick Bosa.

McCaffrey (With apologies to T.S. Elliot) 

McCaffrey’s the running back
Who’s a mystery to none at all
He breaks through any D line
He keeps his fans in awe
He’s the bafflement of tacklers
Defensive coaches’ despair
For when they look to find him
McCaffrey’s not there.
McCaffrey, McCaffrey,
There’s no one like McCaffrey,
He breaks the rules of velocity
His powers of misdirection
Would make magicians stare
For when the tacklers look for him
McCaffrey’s not there.
Defenders seeks him running
Or receiving, which is hardly rare
But they are left with weeping
‘Cause McCaffrey’s never there
                         Tom Meschery

Thursday, September 14, 2023

A Little Bit of This & a Little Bit of That

 A Little Bit of This:

I was reading about Aaron Rodgers' torn Achilles tendon injury in relationship to his dislike of his offensive linemen cut-blocking the defensive line. I've only decided to write a little about football, mostly about the NFL this year, so I haven't paid much attention to the lesser known details of the sport, cut blocks being one of them. As it was explained, the offensive lineman throws himself at that legs of the in-charging defensive end or tackle to stop him from getting to the QB. Rodgers' complaint is that if the this particular block doesn't work, the D lineman is far more apt to get to the QB quickly, which means that if a team offensive coordinator likes the idea of cut-blocking, the QB must get the ball out of his hands quickly. Rodgers claims this does not allow him or other QB to improvise. I had to visulaze the action for a while before I could see that I agreed with Rodgers.  I think what bothered me the most about this strategy was the part about the offensive lineman "throwing himself" at the legs of the defensive lineman. Yes, this is a QB issue, but it seems to me it is a defensive linemen's issue. I was under the impression that cut-blocking was not allowed in the NFL any more. It seems to me any aggressive attack against the legs from the knees down is a receipe for serious injury. Ancles, Knees. Danger, right/ Am I wrong? Besides, I don't see the point of limiting your QB by forcing him to throw until he is ready. Most great QBs get the ball out of their hands efficiently. Efficiantly does not mean "hurry up." So, what is the point of cut-blocking? Seems anti-QB to me. 

A Little Bit of That:

Has anybody noticed there is no longer any off season for basketball, the pros and international ball especially? Looking back to the end of the NBA season, I'll bet there hasn't been a week where hasn't been some game or some important issue or event relating to basketball. This morning I read that there has been a two game match between NBA team Ignite and a Aussie Perth pro team. Soon to come,t here will be more games feature many of the 2024 NBA draft choice. Yes, you heard me, 2024. These wannabes don't show up on my calender until a year from now, but there I was reading about these kids and that the NBA scouts were at the games evaluating. This is closing in on mid September. NbA training camp is about two weeks away. Then it's full on hoops. Am I complaining? I can watch hoops any chance I get, but I worry about overplaying can lead to voer injury. The body must have time to rest, to heal, even if there is no injury, the body, like the mind, needs times of peace. It is not quite the same analogy, but I recall that baseball coaches do not teach youngsters to throw curveballs until well into high school. 

And more of That:

Will somebody explain to me why whenever I change channels to avoid looking at a commercial, that channel is also showing a commercial? On a related note, watching sports and the channel goes to a split screen, why does the commercial get the larger screen? One of these days we're going to wind up simpley watching commercials, no content, just auto insurance, beer and car ads and of course the ubiquitous drug commercials with all the weird names. Where have all our contents gone, (like the flowers and the soldiers) we'll ask each other, and scratch our heads because we've forgotten. 

Here's a Haiku about football

A perfect spiral
Cut the air in flight , I watched it
Laying on my back. 

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Back Bloging. Books First

I always feel guilty when I forget to blog. I apologize, but I had a good reason. I've been finishing the 3rd novel in my Brovelli Brothers Mystery series: The Case of the Volkswagen Hippie Bus. Oh, by the way, the second in the series: The Case of the '66 Ford Mustang will launch this coming October. So, apologies and excuses done with, let's begin, starting in reverse order: Literature and Life first, sports second.

This morning on my walk, I was greeted with "Love that T-shirt" by four fellow-walkers. As a retired English teacher, (that was my career after 10 years playing in the NBA.) this made me happy. My T- shirt is black with white lettering. On the front is a picture of a cartoon smiley face book. The caption reads: Ban the Fascist, Save Our Books. If you haven't noticed, there are many Republican governors and Republican state legislators who are passing legislation banning books of all types from school libraries and county libraries state wide. I will leave for another blog, Texas closing high school libraies in Houston and converting them into disciplinary centers. OMG!  I taught high school AP senior English for 24 years in Reno High School. Nevada is by no means a liberal state. So, from time to time, as a teacher I encountered conservative flare-ups from some school board members. In one such case I had included Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon on my summer reading list for incoming seniors. The novel is, i grant you, a tough read, but I felt it was touching and profoundly important for students heading to college as most of mine were. Within hours of my distributing the list, my principal got calls from parents who did not want their children to read a story with a good deal of explicit sexual content. These were conservative and religious parents. What was the result of these calls? Well, the governor of Nevada didn't go ballistic and begin banning books, I can assure you, and I my family were not threatened as teachers and librarians are being threatened today. What did we do? We simply provided an alternative book for the kids to read, one that satisfied parents and me. In this case alternative novel was Earnest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls. Look, I'm not using this platform to na na parents who overly oversee their children's book choices, even though I feel strongly that by the last years of high school, such scrutiny interferes with their children's ability to understand the society they are about to become a part of as adults. My point is BANNING BOOKS IS WRONG AND A SLIPPY SLOPE TO A FACIST CONTROLED SOCIETY. I believe absolutely that people of good will can solve problems, even the hardest problems. We did in Reno. It can happen throughout the country. 

Now, back to sports:

Congratulations to Co Co Gauf for winning her first U.S. Open title. There has been some fabulous tennis being played this year. Hopefully, you didn't miss the 20 year old Ben Shelton defeating a more seasoned Francis Tiafoe to make it to the Semi Finals. He lost to the incredible Novak Djkovic, but was not blown away. I was happy to see that the USTA allowed Russian and Belarussian players to compete while not allowing them to play under their national flag in protest of Putin's invasion of the Ukraine.

 Given how well our young American players performed, it looks like America is back in the pro tennis scene. I was sorry to see the young Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz lose. It will be the Russian Medvedev facing Djokovic in the finals. It is hard for me to cheer for Djokovic after his refusal to take his COVID shots. 

I'm not sure I can be enthusiastic about America's international basketball prospects. Our FIBA team will not bring back any medals this year. Germany and Lithuania smashed us on the boards and made our defense look pathetic. Canada beat us yesterday for the Bronze. Of course, this should not have surprised anyone as we were not playing with our best pros but with a cast of young upcoming NBA stars. As long as we don't play with our best players in the FIBA World Cup, we can look forward to more losing seasons in international competition. The world has generally caught up to us in basketball. That's good thing. 

I like to think I played some part in tje growth of basketball overseas. KC Jones, John Havlicek and I were the second group of American basketball players to travel to West Africa to promote the game back in 1964. The year before Bill Russell and Bob Cousy went. In 1965, again I returned with Si Green and in 1985 I spent 4 months by myself touring West Africa coaching. African players are now playing all over Europe and players of African decent are common in the NBA. The way things are going with International basketball, I would not be surprised in a few years down the line, there will no longer be an NBA but an IBA, the International Basketball Association, comprised of 4 Conferences: Asian, European, African, and Americas. 

Here is a poem I wrote about tennis. 

Tennis Tournament in Chinatown

    For Peter Sears

His first serve slices pencil thin
over the net and drops like a broken elbow,
skittering to the side out of reach,
and after his next serve curves like a new moon
to my forehand, then changes direction
like a scythe to my back-hand, I know
I’m in trouble. Forty-love, the first game
his, won on a squirrelly shot that, were it not
a ball, might well have been a squirrel.
My service, a hard one with top-spin
comes just in time to save me from disgrace,
or so I think. In the split second I see it
catch the corner, a certain winner, it returns
to me as a butterfly attaching itself to the silk
thread of the net, as delicate as a brushstroke,
before fluttering off where I can’t touch it.
I’m thinking this is not tennis but an ancient
form of art, disguised as tennis for the purpose
of torture, invented in the court of the Sung
Dynasty, and it is the sly Emperor Hui-Tang
himself on the other side of the net.
He is staring at me, crouched, his whites
gleaming in the sun, racket spinning in his hand,
waiting for me to decide how to paint
the rising peacock. Will I paint the left leg
or the right leg first? Meanwhile I’ve two balls
in my hand, confused, wondering which one
to serve and which one to place in my pocket.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Congratulations Coach Pop & etc

 San Antonio's, already legendary coach, Greg Popovich will be inducted into Basketball's Hall of Fame this Saturday. I just finished reading a lengthy and well written article in The Athletic that sums up Coach Pop's life and career. It's great read. It begins with Pop's motto as a coach and human being: Get Over Yourself. As a retired high school teacher, it is an aphorism that should be engraved above he entrance of every high school in the nation and above the entrance to the White House. It should be part of every wedding ceremony and opening statement of every CEO at the beginning of every board meeting. It should be every minister's first words to his or her congregation. And very mornings whisper as one rises in the morning to start one's day.  

Coach Popovich goes into the BAsketball Hall of Fame having long ago gotten over himself. But those of us who have enjoyed watching his teams will never get over him and what he has meant to basketball and his county. 


Can anybody be mor petty than Donald Trump Tweeting or whatever he doe about how happy he was that our women's national soccer team lost in the FIFA World Cup? And why was that? Because the team includes Megan Rapinoe, a lesbian and a hero of previous teams who has been  critical of Trump while he was president. Trump could certainly benefit from Popovich's advice to get over himself. 

Trump's motto is: If you go after me, I'll come after you. Living with that motto, it's no wonder his soul is so dark. 


From Trump to a much happier subject: Congrats to Eric Bieniemy, starting his firs season as the Jets Offensive Coordinator. My guess is the Chiefs are going to miss his presence. I'm not sure if I'm correct, but I'd bet Coach Eric's last name Bieniemy originated from the French, bien  ami, perhaps somewhere around Lousiana. Bien Ami means beloved friend. Stuff like that doesn't translate to the rough and tumble of NFL football, but I've always imagined Coach Andy Reed and Erica Bieniemy after retiring sitting in rocking chairs side by side on a front porch with a cold brew in their hands and a plate of pork ribs balanced on their large bellies, talking football and remembering their good old days together. 

Onward and downward: Long time QB of the Packers and now the QB of the Jets, Aaron Rodgers, could stand getting over himself. I still can't get over his anti-vax stance, which in my opinion was all about how his health was more important than his teammates' health. 

Onward and upward: Jimmy G, new QB of the Raiders, wins the first game against his old team the 49ers. You read it first here. 

POPOVITCH  HAIKU    by Tom Meschery

One thousand wins

    And one loss keeps you awake

Staring into the abyss 

Monday, July 31, 2023

The NFL, My Second Effort and ETC

 Let's begin with ETC: Part of etc in the future is going to be about FANTABULOUS names in all sports. i'm not talking about  the players as athletes but the players' actual names. Yesterday's blog contained my first effort and a great one it was, it will reign supreme, numero uno, until I find one to surpass it. This name will not, but it is definitely Fantabulous: 49er cornerback. Drum roll, please: DEOMMODORE LENOIR. Brandon Aiyuk calls him, "his dog."  

Is Brock Purdy the answer to the 49er QB question mark. Last season was certainly a Brock Purdy coming-out party, but referring to a sport I know best, it's always the second year that tests whether a player can sustain and grow. Lot's of talk abuot Trey Lance being traded. Giving up on an athlete like that sounds dumb to me. What might he look like after a couple of seasons without an injury?  

I would have added Aiyuk to my Fantabulous names' list, but Brandon just takes the edge off Aiyuk. It's got to be first, last, and middle if possible to earn a sport on Meschery's Fantabulous Names List. 

Here's a Haiku about football

QB #1    By Tom Meschery

Watch the rabbit run,
Escaping the coyote
Mahomes evading tackles.