meta name=”robots” content=”index, follow” Meschery's Musings of Sports, Literature, and Life Meschery's Musings on Sports, Literature and Life: 2017-06-11

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.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Some Thoughts on the Dubs NBA Championship Game Five

The sun is shining (All Gold Everywhere), the air is fresh, a gentle breeze is blowing in from the delta and the Golden State Warriors are once again Champions of the NBA. 

The Finals ended in Victory last night, and I was as exhausted physically and mentally as if I'd been one of the players on the court. This is how close my identification with my old team has become since the new ownership brought a winning spirit back to the Bay Area.

Melanie, my wife, not to be outdone by my exhaustion, wore two Warrior T shirts, one over the other, for the game. We both agreed the Warriors might not have won had she worn only one T-shirt.

In my Blog yesterday, I stated that all things physical being equal, the smarter team would win. It did. I site, for example, the numbers of easy baskets the Warriors made, particularly by way of the the pick and roll, screener rolling to the baskets, and the unguarded back doors.

LeBron was a bull, but Kevin Durant was Muhammed Ali's butterfly. Steph Curry was the slight-of-hand magician. Draymond Green was the heart pumping blood to all the other parts of the Warrior body. Klay Thompson, who rounds out the newly christened Fab Four (I like the sound of that), was the shadow Kyrie tried to shake all night and finally couldn't. So much for mixing metaphors.

But lets not forget four players: ZaZa, Rocky Marciano, Pachulia, the future president of Georgia, David West, who chased his dream of a ring and earned it with clutch shots and stalwart D, Shawn Livingston, Mr. Calm, (a team must have a player  with a steady hand like that) and Andre Igudala.

Igudala deserves his own paragraph. What is it about the genetic makeup of this athlete that he produces such clutch performances at exactly the right moment? It's as if he doesn't just see the opportunity, he smells it in the air, feels it, tastes victory, hears his name being called. I swear its like that. I think I remember such a brief moment in my own career in game five against the 76ers. And it's absolutely something spiritual.

Let's not forget the other Dubs. Although they may not have contributed a great deal during this last series against the Cavs, their performances during the regular season and in conference post-season were enormous. They earned their rings. And the right to be called Warriors.

I continue to be amazed by Steve Kerr. If any fans of the game ever doubted that coaching an NBA team is much more about personality and psychology than it is about X's and O's, watching Coach Kerr will dispel that notion. Intelligence, yes; preparation, yes; instinct, yes. But how you draw your players in so they identify with your spirit--that's at the heart of superior coaching. One might ask, how can you tell? Well, you do. Look in the eyes of the players, at their body language, listen to their words of praise that always fall short because they are really at a loss for words. Such it is that defines the coaches at the top of the Pantheon of NBA Coaches, starting with Red Auerbach and ending with, yes, Steve Kerr.

So, who have I left out? I'm so pumped that I can't stop praising. There is Bob Myers, who's got to be one smart GM, whose instincts have to be as razor-sharp as the players' on the court. A good GM has to feel what's right, not just gather stats and analyze. And there is Jerry West, consultant. Dare I say Consigliere to the Warriors' Godfathers: Joe Lacob and Peter Guber? I dare. Good advice well received as in: 'there's a kid playing at Washington State the Warriors should look at--advice like that is worth a franchise. And a huge shout out for the coaching staff, particularly Ron Adams and Mike  Brown. Think of them as book ends, providing Coach Kerr with the input a head coach requires to make the right decisions in practices and during games.

Does the Warrior physical fitness/trainers team deserve praise? You bet. The Dubs came into this series healthy. It's not a coincidence they did. Does the entire organization: Rick Welts and his team and Raymond Ridder and his team deserve praise? Absolutely. They too are coaches, coaching the environment in which the game is played and the players live. Take for example how hard it is to live in a run-down neighborhood, (I'm guessing lots of folks can identify with that), but if that neighborhood is clean and modern and stable and organized, then that's where players want to make their homes. Ask Kevin Durant. I'm reasonably certain his decision to come to the Warriors was not entirely based on basketball.

Am I through? Not yet. There are the fans. They've been there for the Dubs since the Dubs were the Dubs, every seat in Oracle taken, a sea of gold and Warrior blue. Tickets are not cheap these days in the NBA, but Bay Area fans keep opening their check books because the organization from top to bottom has made attending games worth it. Is there better value for your dollar? In the big scheme of  life, sure. But in the fun things of life, it's money well spent for a season of pleasure and a chance to identify with greatness. And the best damn hotdogs in any arena.

Here's a poem I wrote a long time ago for Jerry West that is in my first collection of poetry called Nothing You Lose Can Be Replaced. It seems fitting, given Jerry's contribution to the Warriors Championships.

Jerry West

That nearly full court buzzer-beater
that kept the Laker's playoff hopes alive
was never in doubt. I knew its certainty
from fingertip to rim. Jerry, as sweet
as that shot was, I want to tell you
about another shot far sweeter:
Night was falling and the cross-winds
of San Francisco were full court pressing
All City Ray Paxton, postman
with the soft touch we depended on
in the clutch. He "called it"  (something
you forgot to do) seconds before the rain
would have ended the game with nothing
resolved, summer over, the lucky players
off to college where they'd play to big crowds
indoors, safe and dry while Ray, 
bag over his shoulders, walks his rounds.


Monday, June 12, 2017


During a recent interview on TV, Cavs' Coach Tyronn Lue must have used the word physicality at least twenty times. He was no doubt very impressed and happy with his team's "Physicality" in game 4 of the NBA Championship series in the Q.

As an old English teacher, I rushed immediately to my Merrian Webster Dictionary and looked up the word: PHYSICALITY. I was skeptical that it was a word in the English language. My dictionary proved me wrong. Physicality is indeed a word, and it dates back to the 16th century.

However, it seems to me that the Golden State Warriors, as they head into Game 5 of the series, should take into account the full meaning of the word according to Merrian Webster:

PHYSICALITY:  predominance of the physical at the expense of the mental, spiritual, and social.

If  the Cavs continue to play within the scope of the definition that Coach Lue is so proud of, it is something the Golden State Warriors could take advantage of. No doubt, our Dubs need to be more physical in tonight's game. They can not allow the Cavs to attack first, and if the Cavs do, they must attack back instantly and with the same intensity.

That said and all things physical being even, the outcome of the game will be due to which team plays smarter. MENTAL TOUGHNESS will win this game, not PHYSICALITY

I am confident that the Warriors understand this.

How about some LOVE for Bob Myers, the very astute GM of the Golden State Warriors. Lot's of kudos heading the players' way,  Steve Kerr and the coaching staffs' way, and in the direction of Jerry West and Ownership, but not enough in the direction of Bob Myers. He seems to be a pretty low key kind of guy who abjures the spotlight. I don't read the Chronicle every day, so I may be wrong about this. There may be tons of stories praising him. Whatever the case may be, I want to make sure my Blog pays him the praise he deserves in putting together this fabulous basketball team. Go Bob, more power to you and for years to come. And, lets hope Draymond remembers what you said to him when you two were sitting together last season watching Game 5 on TV, Draymond having been suspended from the game for swatting the King in his Jewels:. "Let's not let this happen next year." Wonderfully understated.

Spain's Rafael Nadal wins his 10th championship at Roland Garros.The King of Clay deserves a tennis poem:

The Tennis Player   by Ronen Sigan

On a lucky day I found a genie in a bottle.
Out he came thankful and free granting me three wishes.
My first wish is to have a decent backhand - 
that is really all I need.
Too many times I missed such easy shots. 
It's about time I got a backhand.
The genie was stunned - what about fame,
fortune and the pleasure of the flesh?
I am a tennis player and this is my first wish.
My second wish is to have a killer server.
layer will fear it as it flies and swerves.
A killer serve it is! The genie sighed
An let me guess your third wish 
is the strongest forehand in the world.
Far from it, give a decent backhand 
and a killer serve to my opponents.
For what is a game without a challenge.