meta name=”robots” content=”index, follow” Meschery's Musings of Sports, Literature, and Life Meschery's Musings on Sports, Literature and Life: 2014-02-02

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, February 7, 2014

Winter Olympics and et

Let's get one thing straight, there is not a single athlete that plays our so-called major sports that can hold a candle to Olympic quality snowboarders and figure skaters (I'm not talking about the dancers, although they are awesome athletes) for a combination of athleticism, coordination, and grace. It's time our sports pages stop giving preferential treatment to the Big Four: Basketball, Football, Baseball, and Hockey. Skaters and skiers should not be relegated to the back pages of sports unless it's Winter Olympics time.

Okay, so the Cleveland Cavs owners fired Christ Grant, its General Manager. That's only half the solution. They needed to bite the bullet and fire Coach Mike Brown. Why, oh why is Brown considered such a great coach. When was that myth started and who perpetuated it? Did he ever use LeBron James properly during James years with the Cavs? Where was his vaunted defense then, or later with the Lakers, or these days with the sorry-ass Cavaliers? Check his games out. Do you see an ounce of Defense being played?

Alabama wins the sweepstakes for the best college football players. LSU comes in second. I noticed that the Oregon Ducks did not pick up one of the top 50 players in the country. I live in Sacramento, which produces some terrific football college prospects. In the past, Oregon usually got letter of intents from some of our best players. Not this year. When Chip Kelly left for the pros, did that signal the demise of Duck football?

Ralph Kiner died. He was one of my favorite baseball players as a kid when I was still trying to decide between being a baseball pitcher and a basketball player. I don't think any player since Kiner has hit the ball as high and as far.

For me, when a great athlete dies, it's not the same as grandma or grandpa or even great humanitarians or world leaders going into the beyond. I remember when Wilt Chamberlain died, I couldn't believe that his body betrayed him that much. Sure, Kiner was 91, but there is something strange in my thinking that says athletes should live forever. Perhaps, such silliness is only wishful thinking of yours truly, hoping for the fountain of youth.

I'm still not counting the Spurs out of the Finals in the West if they can get healthy by the last month of the season. My reasons have to do with my lack of faith in the Clippers and Trailblazers. Clippers can't seem to find a consistent rotation and the Trailblazers still do not have a strong bench. As for the Warriors, read on.

The Warriors' chances for a Western Division Championship depend entirely on health and injuries. When all their players are injury free, they are a tough and efficient team. But if only one player goes down, the team becomes less efficient. It's sort of like a stew. If you leave out one ingredient, the stew is still pretty good, but is not the same high quality. Leave out two ingredients and the stew is inedible. Of course, the Warriors last night proved my analogy wrong, beating the Bulls with Bogart and Lee. But I'm sticking to my guns. The Warriors need all four tires on the car and a couple of good spares to get past the first round of the playoffs.

A skating poem in honor of the start of the Sochi Winter Olympic

Skating  by Phillip Dacey

Skating on the surface of my life,
I saw myself below the ice,
another me, I was moving fast
above him, he was  moving slow,
though he kept up.
there must have been

some warp of being twisting
us together so, two different speeds
head to head, of feet to feet, or,
better, shoulder to shoulder, brothers,
that's the way it felt, but separated
by a death, an ice, a long wall
laid down upon the world to lock us 
into rooms. Knock,knock. Are you 
there? He was, and waving, though 
it was a distant wave, an outer-space
wave, as if he were umbilicated
and drifting off between the stars. The stars
skated on that ice, too, and went so fast
they seemed not to move at all. Perhaps
he was the one sped swerveless home,
an arrow, while I dream-skated,
my two blades, for all their dazzle,
leaving the ice unchanged, and the top was
bottom and bottom top, but who could say?
I only knew I wanted to break through.
I wanted the ice to melt to let
us sink together, two lovers in a bed,
or crack, a warning sign missed, while
the stars swam around us like fish
lit up from within by something
we could never name, nor wished to,
lest the light fade. But the ice held,
because it was wiser than I was,
because two is more than twice one,
because the air and water made a pact
to disagree while I skated on
the surface of a life I thought was mine.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Super Sunday

If Irony (the difference between expectation and actuality) rules the world in the name of Justice, the Denver Broncos will defeat the Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Cathedral today. By justice I mean, Payton Manning will prove that his demise as anticipated by the Indianapolis Colts' ownership was premature. Easy going, deliberate, John Fox will out-coach high octane Pete Carroll. Cocky," look-at-me, look-at-me" corner back Richard Sherman will be unable to stop the Broncos' less vocal, more modest receiver corps. Coach Carroll, who left USC one step ahead of NCAA sanctions will not be rewarded with a win. The less publicized running back Knowshon Mareno will out play the "Beast Mode." Finally, the under-rated Bronco Defense will out-defend the supposedly superior Seahawk Defense.

I'm not necessarily against advertising, but does any company in its right mind believe its brand is getting its money's worth at $133,333 dollars a second for Super Bowl TV time? How many more Heinz ketsup, M&Ms, Pepsi, Toyotas, Anheuser Busch (Yuk!) beer will the public purchase to off set the expenditure? Perhaps companies don't really care? In which case they are like people who want to be seen at the right parties, right?  It's not about brand, but some exec's ego. Any one read The Emperor's New Clothes? Go Ad agencies for earning big bucks from children's lit.

You gotta be kidding me; a recitation of the Declaration of Independence by former players and firefighters? The New York's policemen should thank their lucky stars they were snubbed for this cockamamie idea.

 I'm looking forward to the feature on Vince Lombardi and the tribute to Pat Summerall.

One more "you gotta be kidding me": Terry Bradshaw and Joe Namath strolling down Broadway reminiscing? I'm holding my breath.

Lots of talk recently about eliminating the extra point after a touchdown that over the years has seemed increasingly pointless. It's been suggested that 7 pts be awarded for a touchdown. Okay, I'm fine with that. How about after a touchdown requiring a two point play from ten yards out? How about making field goals more interesting. Award 2 pts within 49 yards and 3 pts beyond 49 yards?

Here's a field goal kicker poem by WilliamMessner

The Kicker's Last Steps

      for Jack Driscoll

One point behind, ten seconds left,
I lunge forward

   a halo of gnats around my head
   I always thought field goal kicking
   should be easy,
   like pushing a word
   from my tongue into the air.
   But the goal posts
   move backward
   ten yards with each step.

   Am I alone on this field -
   only the yard lines like a ladder I've forgotten
   how to climb, the moon's floodlight
   like a stiff graduation gown,
   the empty avenues
   of bleachers?

   When night fog clutches my ankles
   like the pudgy hands of a linebacker,
   I try to think of anything but kicking
   (the river beyond the goal post,
   the blank scorecards of my parents' faces)
   try not to think that in an instant
   my toe must dive
   deep into leather
   as if it's in love with it.

From the sideline my approach must look
almost casual, as though I hardly care - 
in the silence of this last step
I hear the wings of three ducks above me
flying toward the creaking ice of the river