meta name=”robots” content=”index, follow” Meschery's Musings of Sports, Literature, and Life Meschery's Musings on Sports, Literature and Life: 2014-06-01

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.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Western Conference Championship and a small etc.

Part of me was trying to support my wife's Oklahoma roots by cheering for the Thunder. But the roots of my basketball psyche exalted when the Spurs won. I like the Thunder. They're a talented bunch of players, but it seems to me that they relied way too much on their athleticism and not enough on strategy. The Spurs understood that athleticism will not prevail unless there is a consistent strategy that will allow for your team to stay in the game if speed and attacking stops working. By strategy, I'm not talking about defense. Both teams played D damn well and bruisingly hard. In the end, the Thunder's propensity to rely on the quick shot, quick attack didn't work as well as the Spurs patient three to five pass patient attack. Is this Scott Brook's fault? To a certain degree, yes. He decided to use all his attack players at the same time. Guys like Sefolosha and Collison, reliable journey men, disappeared from the rotation. By the fourth quarter, he'd made his bed, and had to lie in it -  and pull the covers up over his head.

ETC: What the FBI was thinking approaching Phil Mickelson at the Memorial? Were they intentionally trying to rattle him while he was participating in a golf tournament?  That is such a cheap shot. I can't imagine when I was playing in the NBA, what something like that, FBI agents coming into the locker room or to my hotel room before a game, would have done to my concentration. I'm reasonably sure I wouldn't have been able to go out on the court and play at the right level. So, unless the news article was incorrect, the FBI owes Lefty an apology, but I don't suppose the men in gray do a lot of that.  Phil, let's hope you're not an inside trader. If you are/were, as an athlete you should have known better. Athletes don't cheat.

The World Cup is soon upon us from Brazil, the home of the greatest soccer (football) player that ever was, Pele. I remember watching him in a match in North Africa when I was on a coaching trip in the summer of 1965. The bicycle kick? You've all heard of it, but Pele, in that match, did it the opposite way, somersaulting forward and kicking the ball into the goal with the back of his heel. Insane move.

Here's a poem about soccer

A Boy Juggling a Soccer Ball  by   Christopher Merrill

   after practice: right foot
to left foot, stepping forward and back,
   to right foot and left foot,
and left foot up to his thigh, holding
   it on his thigh, as he twists
around in a circle, until it rolls
   down the inside of his leg,
like a tickle of sweat, not catching
   and tapping on the soft
side of his foot, and juggling
   once, twice, three times,
hopping on one foot like a jump-roper
   in the gym, now  trapping
and holding the ball in midair,
   balancing it on the instep
of his weak left foot, stepping forward
   and forward and back, then
lifting it overhead until it hangs there
   and squaring off his body,
he keeps the ball aloft with a nudge
   of his neck, heading it
from side to side, softer and softer,
   like a dying refrain,
until the ball, slowing, balances
   itself on his hairline,
the hot sun and sweat filling his eyes
   as he jiggles this way
and that, then flicking it up gently,
   hunching his shoulders
and tilting his head back, he traps it
   in the hollow of his neck
and bending at the waist, sees his shadow,
   his dangling T-shirt, the bent
blades of brown grass in summer heat;
   and relaxing the ball slipping
down his back . . . and missing his foot.

   He wheels around, he marches
over the ball, as f it were a rock
   he stumbled into, and pressing
his left foot against it, he pushes it
   against the inside of his right
until it pops into the air, is heeled
   over his head - the rainbow! -
and settle on his extended thigh before
   rolling over his knee and down
his shin, so he can juggle it again
   from his left foot to his right foot
- and right foot to left foot to thigh -
   as he wanders, on the last day
of summer, around the empty field.