meta name=”robots” content=”index, follow” Meschery's Musings of Sports, Literature, and Life Meschery's Musings on Sports, Literature and Life: 2016-05-22

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, May 27, 2016

This is the NBA Post Season

Before I begin refuting a couple of articles I just read, I want to congratulate the Golden State Warriors. My wife, Melanie, and I watched through clenched teeth as the Warriors time and again withstood the Thunder attack. And make no mistake about it, OKC is an attack dog. Westbrook is the lead attack dog, Durant follows. But, this time the Warriors did some attacking of their own, and with some tough defense, after a failed Thunder attack, the Warriors were able to counter attack. If this is beginning to sound like something out of a West Point military strategy manual, so be it. This is how it is in the Post Season in the NBA. It has been that way since I played. If a team is not prepared to do battle in the playoffs, victory will not be theirs. Understand this: the refs will not give you a call; every rebound will be a struggle; there will a body on you all the time; prepare to be hit on every drive into the paint you make.

Victory in the NBA playoffs will come to the team that remembers General George Patton: "L'audace, l'audace, toujour l'audace. (Audacity, audacity, always audacity). Go Warriors.

I want to discuss Albert "kick ass" Burneko's recent article, The Thunder are What's Wrong with the Warriors. After watching the two games in OKC, one might say, "Well, duh?" I  might remind you, Albert, that the Warriors "kicked the Thunder's ass" in game two at Oracle and defeated them in game four. And lost to the Thunder in a close game in game one. It's all well and good to be a predictor (a Geoge Bush type word) like Cassandra of Troy fame, but your predictions and "reasons" ie; cause and effect, might be better saved until the series ends. Don't you think?

If the Thunder perform the way they did in OKC, indeed, no one will argue with you. In my days playing in the NBA, I've taken ass-kicking and given ass-kicking. Frankly, from an athlete's point of view, neither is elevating, enlightening, nor amusing. The Warriors are great basketball players. So are the Thunder. Neither team deserves being described as having their "ass-kicked." It's low-brow. You can take that anyway you want to Albert the "Ass....kicker." We are pros. We do not need a lot of blather from the peanut gallery to tell us of our losses or our wins.

I further take umbrage with your referencing Deadspins' article by Kevin Draper: This is All Joe Lacob's Fault.  To pin the recent Warrior defeat on Lacob's bit of braggadocio is nonsense. As in No Sense. Do you or Kevin have any idea how the mind of a professional athlete works? Have you ever played any sport at a high level yourselves? I can't imagine you have; otherwise, you'd know that the best pro athletes have tunnel vision, they're not going to be influenced by dubious outside forces. I find it laughable that you felt Joe taking credit for the Warrior's success could possibly effect the way the Dubs played or will play.

All Joe did was what Draymond Green does all the time during a game, showing off a little bit of his muscles. That Joe Lacob has some administrative and financial muscles to  show off, hey, why not? 

Allow me to be an English teacher again. In the study of rhetoric, there is  something called Logical Fallacies. Joe Lacob bragging is the cause of the Warrior losing is called the Post hoc, ergo proctor hoc fallacy. It's like the inaccurate bullshit the conservatives like to blather--that welfare is the cause of child poverty.  Sorry, dummy, not the cause at all. Neither are Joe's comments - The Cause. Both of you writers might want to take a refresher course in rhetoric before continuing your careers as writers. 

I've blogged this poem before, but because free-throws seem to be an important topic these days in the NBA, I'll repeat it.

Penance   by Sherman Alexie

I remember sun-
days when the man I
call my father made

me shoot free throws, one
for every day of my life
so far. I remember
the sin of imperfect

spin, the ball falling in-
to that moment between
a father and forgive-

ness. between the hands reach-
in up and everything
they can possibly hold.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

What the Warriors Must Understand

My son, Matthew, a true Golden State Warrior fan emailed me this morning with a thought that is essential for the Dubs to embrace, absorb, and acknowledge through action. It is this: In the end, basketball is not an art nor a science, it's nature is physical. The Warriors tonight must match the Thunder physical for physical. This doesn't mean that they lose sight of their team game on offense. They may not be have the overall physical power. But you can give up a few pounds to your opponents if you BLOCK THE SUCKERS OFF THE BOARDS, and GO AFTER THE BALL WITH INTENSITY and PLAY OFFENSIVE DEFENSE.

Enough said. I like the quiet confidence Coach Kerr was talking about in this morning's sports page.

I know all of us Old Warriors will be pulling for our Dubs.

Clutch Haiku   by Tom Meschery

When down three to one
    Look at the moon and count the stars
Then go inside and play the game.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Mysteries of Life

The following is the most recent entry in my memoir I've been writing. It is framed by this years Golden State Warriors NBA season. I've been thinking of it as a mutual journey, watching the Dubs play while allowing my memory to go back in time to my days in the NBA and my life since leaving the sport. My wife, Melanie, has been on the journey with me.

May 24, 2016              Warriors vs OKC Thunder   @ OKC

                                      Game 4: Western Conference Finals

    After a restless and unhappy night following the Warriors loss; let me rephrase that - the Warriors drubbing by the Oklahoma City Thunder - I woke up and wrote this: F**k! F**k! F**k! I used exclamation points, which as an English teacher I'm loath to do, because I get to if I'm really excited or angry. I understood the Warriors taking a beating on Sunday night, coming off the whacking they'd inflicted on the Thunder at Oracle the previous game. But I don't understand how the Warriors allowed themselves to  be so decisively and ignominiously defeated two games in a row. This is the first time the Dubs have lost consecutive games. I simply don't have the heart to comment beyond the basics. By quarters:

   Quarter One: Turnovers, lazy passes, lack of defensive intensity, no offensive rebounds, weak defensive rebounds that led to Thunder second and third attempts, and poor shooting.

   Quarter Two: Turnovers, lazy passes, lack of defensive intensity, no offensive rebounds, weak defensive rebounds that led to Thunder second and third attempts, and poor shooting.

   Quarter Three: Klay Thompson working his butt off to get his team back in the game, but has little to no support from teammates. Turnovers, lazy passes, lack of defensive intensity, no offensive rebounds, weak defensive rebounds that led to Thunder second and third attempts, and aside from Thompson, poor shooting.

   Quarter Four: F**k it!

   Now the Warriors have to do what only eight other teams have ever done in NBA playoff history: come back from a three-to-one deficit. The Dubs have accomplished some miraculous things in the last two seasons, let's pray they've got a few more miracles left in them. Throughout this memoir, I have intermittently expressed my belief in the Mysteries of Life: miracles, coincidences, irony, the undefinable, the unfathomable Universe, the unpredictable. I will ask Irony to do what it does best, reverse what appears to be the inevitable so that what the Oklahoma fans see as the future will turn out to be different, a Warrior future. However, Irony cannot accomplish its task without the cooperation of the Warrior players. If they participate wholly and unreservedly in the mystery and lose, so be it. Don't cry for me or for them, Argentina. 

   As for me, if the journey with my Warriors ends with the next game, I will not be sorry I took this trip with them, although they didn't know I was along for the ride. Whatever the outcome, in the last two seasons, the Warriors have changed the game of professional basketball. It is too early and there are too many miracles left in the Universe to say how the OKC Thunder have impacted the game. I have some ideas, but I will wait to see what happens in the next game; one the Dubs must win to keep their nickname from becoming a memory.

   Melanie returns from her morning walk and joins me.

   "My magic Warriors' T-shirt," she says sadly.

    "It's lost its magic," I say. "You can use it as a paint shirt."


    "No, actually promoted. From sports to art."

    It occurs to me that this is what will happen to me if the Warriors lose their next game, I'll have to get back to work on my novels. It's a pleasant thought and a sad one. I'll miss these magnificent young Dubs. There's a good chance that my wife and I will be living in Florence during the next NBA season. I'll keep track of the team, but it won't be the same--this personal.

Can't find a poem that works for the way I feel. Sorry.

Monday, May 23, 2016

You Get What You Deserved

Following last night's rout of our Golden State Warriors, Coach Kerr said, "We got what we deserved." That was it. No histrionics, no complicated explanations, no defensive attitude. Such is the wisest way to approach losses of this magnitude. I've been there, as a player and a coach. It leaves you mentally exhausted rather than physically exhausted. It is a truth that following such "beat-downs" the losing teams\ will play much better the next game. In the Warriors' case, the question will be how much will the better be? I suspect a lot. There's too much character on this Warriors for them to do otherwise.

Allow me one small attempt at Monday Morning Quarterbacking: It's worth remembering that counter-punching might work in boxing, but never works in basketball. Enough said. Go Warriors!

Loved Sergio Garcia's win at the Byron Nelson. Loved the Raptors win over the Cavs. Bismack is a stud. Valancuinas might be looking for a job.

Speaking of Studs, our stud is Draymond Green. If you read this Draymond, keeping grabbing the boards, defending, intimidating, leading. But keep the emotion as fuel inside you. You are needed on the floor.

The following poem is obviously not about basketball. But the message has to do with all sports.

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
Seen now to scrape the ground, and now to soar
Through empty air, wheels rising in the wind;
No hanging back, no rest: a golden 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. 

                            from the Georgies
                            Translated by Smith Plameer Bovie.

Remember, Warriors, no hanging back, you must have the WILL to win.