meta name=”robots” content=”index, follow” Meschery's Musings of Sports, Literature, and Life Meschery's Musings on Sports, Literature and Life: 2016-11-13

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.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Locker Room Talk & etc

Wilt Chamberlain had intimate, consensual relationships with a huge number of women over his career as a NBA mega-super-star. Not once did he ever talk about them in the locker room; not once did he brag about groping them, claiming he could get away with it because he was a star. This wasn't locker room talk that you vomited up, President Elect donald rump, it was slime-ball talk that takes place in the gutter not in a sports locker room where athletes prepare to do battle against each other.

The Kings have got to learn how to sustain aggressive defense for longer than a quarter. Last night, during the fourth quarter the Sacramento Kings gave one of the best teams in the NBA, the LA Clippers, fits. On both sides of the court, they attacked. It is a truism in basketball that good defense is an attacking one. A defensive player should never wait to see what the man he's guarding is going to do, he must force him to do what he doesn't want to do.

I am still of the opinion that Kings' center, DeMarcus Cousins, needs an attitude transfusion, but I have to admit that he is one talented big man, the only bone-fide star the Kings have, and without him they'd have trouble winning a single game.

A question for the Kings to answer: why Papagianis and not Chriss in the first round?  Marquise Chriss is going to be a very effective 4, something the Kings (with apologies to Rudy Gay, who's really a 3) need desperately alongside Cousins.

More about the Kings. I'm worried about Willy Cauley-Stein. Has he improved at all over the summer? I don't see anything significant. What was he doing all summer? Where is the footwork? The post moves? And poor MacLemore, will he ever be anything but potential?

Thinking of the phrase, slowly but surely, I imagine my Golden State Warriors' carefully planned and sure-footed path to greatness. I suggest to all my readers that there indeed is a plan, not one that I first detected. However, over the last few games I've been noticing the variety of match-ups and lineups Coach Kerr and his staff have been employing. I love how Coach is bringing his younger players and reserves along, providing significant minutes, enabling them time to see themselves as contributing players, not just stocking stuffing for blowouts. The payoff will not be immediate, but it will be significant when the time comes. The Warriors' victory over the Celtics last night was a pleasure to watch. Even if Horford had played, the game belonged to the Dubs.

Dumb people say dumb things. For example Dwight Howard on his Flagrant Foul II for throwing an elbow at the head of Hornet's center Cody Zeller: "It wasn't like I was trying to hit him in the face, but my job is to protect my house - at all costs." HOOAH! Guess the face just got in the way of the elbow. During my career, I threw an elbow or two myself, so I know how it goes: you throw an elbow, there is a high percentage that it will make contact with the head - it's in the nature of elbows.
"I didn't mean to" is meaningless.

Thinking of an appropriate poem in the wake of this presidential election, I found one I wrote for my latest collection: Sweat: New and Selected Poems About Sports.

How I Became An American       by Tom Meschery

A few home run kicks at kickball,
in fourth grade, and I knew that's what
I needed to do to become an American:
kick farther, run faster, jump higher.
Then, it didn't matter if I spoke with
a Russian accent and my mother wore
 a babushka and my father could barely
speak English. I was no longer
an immigrant, I was an athlete.
I'd circle the  bases and be embraced
by my teammates as  citizen
of a county of many sports, although
I was years away from raising my hand
and repeating the oath of allegiance
that would bind me in ways
to the Untied States of America
that I would never fully understand.

Friday, November 18, 2016

One Last Comment About Trump

I know what happened to the boys in elementary school who taunted me, a Russian immigrant, recently arrived to America after the Second World War, calling me Red, Commie, urging me to go back where I came from, ridiculing my broken English, they grew up and voted for donald trump. In him they found a kindred spirit, a man to place in the White House with a similar dark soul.

Four spaces to avoid talking about sports to closely to talking about evil.

What I like about the Warriors at this point in the season is their capacity to grow dramatically by the playoffs. Cleveland and San Antonio, aside from some fine tuning, are pretty much who they're going to be at the end of the regular season. The same can be said for the Clippers and Toronto with a little room for growth, but not enough to make a difference come playoff time.  How well the rest of the teams in the NBA grow will not have an effect on the final four teams: San Antonio and the Warriors in the West; Cleveland and Toronto in the East. Sorry Celtics, sorry Hawks, ditto Clippers and Thunder. Next year, perhaps.

Lovely old poem about climbing, not exactly a sport, but there's a kind of cleanness in the poem right now I need to feel, instead of the darkness.

Climbing in Glencoe   by Andrew Young

The sun became a small round moon
And the scared rocks grew pale and weak
As mist surged up the col, and soon
So thickly everywhere it tossed
That though I reached the peak
With height and depth both lost
It might as well have been a plain;
Yet when, groping my way again,
On to the scree I stept
It went with me, and as I swept 
Down it's loose rumbling course
Balanced I rode it like a circus horse

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Where's the Courage?

I'm finding it impossible to believe the lack of indignation being exhibited by NBA players, coaches, and administration over the election of donald trump.(I will not capitalize his name.) Is it possible players who are predominately African-American and their white teammates, who live in constant companionship with their black brethren, are unwilling to stand up and proclaim that donald trump is a racist, every bit as much a racist as donald sterling? (He doesn't deserve capital letters either.) Astounding and heartbreaking.

Where is your courage? trump is a cheap-shot artist. He is the kind of man, were he a basketball player, who would hit you with an elbow when you weren't looking.

Say it isn't so, that as wealthy African Americans, you're not concerned. Like you got yours, the heck with the brothers and sisters who will suffer under trump's presidency. And what about your fellow athletes, professional baseball players, those guys from South and Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean - those men of color? Do you believe that they are thieves and rapists as trump announced during the campaign? Professional athletes all over America should rise up in pain and anger over this fraud who intends to take our country back to the days of segregation.

You don't think so? Oh, that Meschery is just a raging liberal, don't pay any attention to him. Perhaps you believe the office will mellow trump out, and he'll be controlled by forces of moderation in his entourage, his posse (I use this pejorative word because it fits.). Pay attention, folks. Don't be fooled into thinking donald trump is a fool. His ego is enormous. His will power immense. People who he feels are beneath him, all people of color, are in for a very hard four years.

In closing, instead of a poem, a quote from a British newspaper regarding the election of donald trump from a sign outside a London pub:

                                               ALL AMERICANS WISHING 
                                               TO ENTER THIS ESTABLISHMENT
                                                MUST BE ACCOMPANIED 
                                                BY AN ADULT

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


My mother was right about friendship. I was eleven or twelve years old and hanging out with a pal who I called friend. He was, for lack of a better word, charismatic, sort of in the way Lucifer must have appeared to John Milton as he wrote Paradise Lost. He attracted followers, of which Meschery was one. I remember the day clearly, I came home late. past my curfew. My mother confronted me. Not in a mean way, she explained that I had changed since I had started paling around with Joe (not his real name). Joe, she told me, was a selfish young man. All he wanted was whatever was best for himself. He used friends. She cautioned that there were people like that all over the world, and I would have to recognize them. My mother provided other example's of Joe's personality, and slowly I began to understand what she was talking about. She never told me I couldn't be friends with Joe. If she had, I probably would have ignored her. Simply and systematically she listed Joe's negative qualities. They amounted to all the fingers of both my hands.
I went to bed thinking. I woke up and never played with Joe again. Thanks Mom.

I don't know if Bill Belichick's mother is still alive. If she were, I wonder what she would have said had she heard her son's friend, Donald Trump, brag that he groped women. What would she have said had she heard Donald Trump call Mexican immigrants thieves and rapists? What would she have told her son had she seen Trump making fun of someone with a disability - those ugly faces he made, those ody disfigurements he mimicked? Would she have sat her son, Bill, down and told him the man for whom he voted, was not worthy of loyalty? I would like to think she said, "My son, you have an entire team of players who deserve your loyalty, many of whom are people of color, men far more worthy of your loyalty than Donald Trump.

I wonder if that would have made an impression on Bill Belichick..

In the future, all the people who voted for Donald Trump will discover whether he is worthy of their loyalty as citizens of the United States or whether their vote for him has been a profound mistake.

Trump Makes Faces   by Tom Meschery

I am sick at heart looking at the next President of the United States
mimicking the tortured spasms of a palsied man, the grotesque
flinging of his arms he can control but sick men can't
because his presidential spirit is mean, and he wants to ridicule.
He will sit in the oval office, behind him the Stars and Stripes,
the window opening onto the White House lawn,
the light of our nation warming his back, and if the mood
strikes him, he will fall from his chair into convulsions 
and  think it's hilarious, and around America there will be
men and woman who will find his antics humorous
and laugh their heads off, those same people I recall
from the halls of schools where I taught, who laughed 
at the crippled boy, the girl with  cerebral palsy.
They saw their meanness as a joke, the ha, ha, ha
that will resound from the highest office of the land
through the halls of Congress, the streets of our country. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Hurrah for Greg Popovich, Steve Kerr and Stan Van Gundy.

Thank you Pop, Steve and Stan for being stand-up guys at this terrible time in America's history, to voice your dismay, to be be real Americans. It helped my depression to read what you said. I only wish all the NBA coaches and the NBA League office would have come out as strongly as you guys.

I'm still reeling after the election. I woke up on the 9th depressed and angry.  How, I asked myself, could the American public vote for such a man as Donald Trump to be President of the United States of America? Let's forget politics or economic policy, the struggle between conservatives and liberals. I keep asking myself: Do Americans want a bully in the White House? Do Americans want a man who denigrates women in the White House? Do Americans want a man who calls Mexicans and other immigrants thieves, killers, and terrorists in the White House? Do Americans want a man who played a role in a Playboy soft porn movie in the White House? Do Americans want our First Lady to have taken part in a girl on girl porno photo shoot? Do Americans want a man who, in just three years, was a party to 2,000 lawsuits in the White House? Do Americans want a man who is party to 75 still active lawsuits that he will have to go to court for during his presidency in the White House? Do Americans want a man who ridiculed people with muscular dystrophy, mimicking them in front of an national/world-wide audience in the White House? How can our president-elect possibly  represent us: AMERICA--all of us in America--black, white, brown, Asian, female and LGBT?

The answer to the questions is he can't.  The majority of Americans voted for the other candidate.  Clinton won the popular vote, but not enough to swing the Electoral College. In stead, Americans voted to put a sleazeball into arguably the most powerful political position in the world.

After I retired from playing professional basketball, I taught high school for twenty-five years. If at any time during those years I encountered a student who spoke or acted the way Donald Trump did during the campaign, I would have had that kid in the Principal's office in a nano-second and would have been on the phone with that kid's parents.

In our high schools, we do not allow students to grope our female students; we do not allow our students to call people of color names; we do not allow our students to make fun of our students with disabilities. In all the high schools of this country of ours, we expel knucklehead bigots like Donald Trump. We enroll them in alternative schools isolated from the general population of students.
We do not want Donald Trump-like students to taint our good and hardworking young people..

It saddens me greatly that a huge number of citizens of the United States felt it was OK to have a slime-bucket for a president. I am an immigrant who came happily to the United States with my family after the Second World War. We were Russians fleeing the Communists. We suffered the indignities of the McCarthy period - the names calling, the Red baiting. When Americans rose up against the demagoguery of McCarthy, I raised my hand and took the oath of allegiance to the United States. I became a naturalized American citizen. I made a life for myself and my own family here. I played in the NBA. We are a league that does not discriminate.

The NBA is a model for the entire country. We do not allow bigots to own NBA franchises. I am a basketball player and a teacher of young people. I  am proud to be an American. But with the election of Donald Trump, I am in deep mourning for our country.

So intent on getting this blog out, I forgot a poem. Here's one about baseball that is sad, which fits my mood.

Nothing but Bad News  by Jennifer Richter

as the man next door on his porch
too small for bleachers or an ump
rolls up his shirtsleeves
grips the stick with both hands
raises it over his head to stretch
and the lovers downstairs
fire What What What
one-word argument that's lost the question
with the name the doctors gave yesterday
to what's been eating you,
curve ball that pushes me 
back from the plate
the man next door taking one hard swing after another
the dusk thickening
with fog, sweat, grill smoke
too much goddamn cheering
too many out there
laughing themselves sick