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

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, December 5, 2017

The Ball Dad

Okay, I know parenting shifts from one generation to another: stricter to more lenient, moderate to indulgent, or in the case of Spain, over-indulgent - parents trying to make up for the rigid over parenting mandatory during the Franco era.

So, how does one describe the parenting of LaVar Ball, testosterone dad of Laker's Lonzo Ball and DiAngelo Ball? Ball, the parent, is going to take his son, DiAngelo out of UCLA because the university decided to suspend the young varsity basketball player and his two team mates for two months because they shoplifted while on a basketball trip to China. The boys did not shoplift a couple of porno mags, they went after some very expensive eye wear. A two month suspension doesn't sound too great a consequence for them to suffer; they are only freshman and have three more years as basketball players at UCLA.

Therein, however, is the rub. Uber Dad probably is thinking that his Uber son is a One and Done, so the kid will lose some visibility this season.

It is not about education, let's be clear about that. UCLA did not withdraw the athletes' scholarships. The young men can attend classes, and receive (say it isn't so) some knowledge. Toward a (say it isn't so) a degree in four (say it isn't so) years.

LaVar Ball, I caution you, stop with the Uber-Dad business. It is not psychologically beneficial to your sons. They should not have their lives at their age micromanaged. DiAngelo must come to grips with the fact that there are consequences for bad behavior. Your behavior is going to come back some time in the future and bite you in the buttocks, and I suspect it will be your progeny that will be doing the biting. Sorry to say that, but life bears this out.

A quick note to vote in favor of an eight-team College Football Playoff as described by writer, Chuck Culpepper of the Washington Post this morning. It's syndicated so, the teams should be in a number of papers. The teams themselves will vary season by season, it's the format that matters, and the NCAA should get off their collective duffs and put this in place. It's a total win/win scenario all around.

Perhaps one of the more meaningful poems about sports I've ever read is the following:

The Jump Shooter   by Dennis Trudell

The way the ball
hung there
against the blue or purple

one night last week
across town
at the playground where

I had gone to spare
my wife
from the mood I'd swallowed

and saw in the dusk
a stranger
shooting baskets a few

years older maybe
thirty-five
and overweight a little

beer belly saw him
shooting there
and joined him didn't

ask or anything simply
went over 
picked off a rebound

and hooked it back up
while he
smiled I nodded and for 

ten minutes or so we
took turn
staking shots and the thin

is neither of us said
a word
and this fellow who's 

too heavy now and slow
to play 
for any team still had

the old touch seldom
ever missed
kept moving further out

and finally his t-shirt
a gray
and fuzzy blur I stood

under the rim could 
almost hear
a high school cheer

begin and fill a gym
while wooden
bleacher rocked he made

three in a row from
twenty feet
moved back two steps

faked out a patch 
of darkness
arched another one and 

the way the ball 
hung there 
against the blue or purple

then suddenly filled
the net
made me wave goodbye

breathe deeply and begin
to whistle
as I waled back home. 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Cal Bears vs Saint Mary's Gaels and This and That

Bill McClintock, a University of California Bear, one of the fiercest power forwards I ever played against, and that includes a bunch of my NBA opponents, and I, with our wives, are going to attend the Gael/Bears basketball game tonight on the Cal campus. Dinner first, which will as a matter of tradition, include a few beers for me and Bill.

McClintock was the starting forward on the great Cal team coached by Legendary Pete Newell that went to the Final Four in 1969 and won the '68/69 NCAA Championship by defeating Jerry West's West Virginia team. They got to the Final Four by defeating my Gael team in what would now be called the Elite 8 and was then called the Western Regional Finals.The following two seasons Bill and I battled against each other, giving and taking elbows. Bill was not only a physically tough player, he was a cerebral player. The combination of smarts and toughness is rare, and I only found such a combo in a few of the power forwards in the NBA. My teams never had much success against the Bears, but perhaps tonight's Gael squad will give us old Gaels something to cheer about. Bill and I are planning on wearing our college caps. I think our Gael logo is more artistic than the Bears one. That's a win for us. Now the Gaels need to win on the court.

As for McClintock and Meschery beer completion, Bill is on the first team and I'm on the second team. I'll grant him his superiority, with the caveat that he has an edge since being raised in Wisconsin. Never knew anyone from Milwaukee who couldn't handle his suds.

If there are basketball fans who've never seen that great Cal team, do yourselves a favor and find some footage. They were superb.

THIS AND THAT

I'm a little concerned at the hoopla given NBA players who achieve double/doubles. Think about it. A double/double could be 10 pts and 10 rebounds. In the case of a power forward 10 pts and 10 rebounds is no big deal, or shouldn't be. The points are the problem. 10 or 11 or 12 are not worth making a fuss over? And ten boards for a power forward and a center are not worthy of much excitement. If you're a power forward or center worth your salt, you should be getting 10 pts and 10 boards most nights. Now, if a shooting guard gets 10 boards, that is something. Ten steals, ten assists, those are worthy stats. But ten points , well, I don't think I'd call Sports Illustrated over it. I'm just saying, be a little skeptical of double/doubles. Now Triple/doubles, that's something.

I loved reading about the Warriors game against the Magic and was indeed proud of their 46 team assists. Good for you Dubs. Keep it up, but don't forget, fellows, that your defense has historically been what puts you at the head of the class.

In the Life Section of this Blog: HooWah! Mueller snared another traitor to the United States, so-called General Mike Flynn, and it looks good that he'll indict Jared Kushner, Trump son-in-law, (are we suffering any nepotism vibes lately?) who should have his security clearance yanked, pronto.

Who's next to fall? Let's get these embarrassments out of the White House. Just speculating, but if Trump goes down, it's will be Pence at bat. He's our VP who, during his run for Congress in 1990, used political donations to pay for his home mortgage, personal credit cards, golf fees, groceries and wife's car payments. Honest guy?? But, if Pence goes down as well, along with his Prez, it will be Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House of Reps to step up to the plate. As a liberal, I worry about anybody who is a disciple of Ayn Rand. But I can live with it. However, one little thing out of his history does bother me a lot. In his senior year in high school, he was elected by classmates as BIGGEST BROWN NOSER of the class. I'll leave it up to you, dear readers, to decide how to interpret that.

And, if anybody out there in Middle Class financial land believes this Republican Tax Plan is going to help you, I've got the Golden Gate Bridge to sell you.

Here's another short poems I wrote about sports in the writing style of one of America's great poets.

After Emily Dickinson   by Tom Meschery

I ran and ran until I caught
myself and passed me on the right
T'was on the way to triumph
At the finish line I crossed into the night.


  






Thursday, November 23, 2017

Rookie in the White House

Reading D Trumps rants about Lonzo Ball's dad and other rants about NFL football players, and pathetic needs to be acknowledged for every little things he does or says. Jeez! Fellows, does he remind you of an insecure free agent rookie at his first training camp. Just saying.

Speaking of Lonzo. I love the kids passing instincts. Gets the ball into teammates hands at exactly the right time for them to shoot in rhythm.

Sac Bee sports page got it right with this headline: Warriors Turn Every Game into a Big Deal. Opponents have been coming out in the first quarter with fire in their eyes. Warriors startled by the intensity. Better get used to it, Dubs. You've got a targets on the backs of your jerseys. Got to deal with it. It might take some ass-kicking ie: last night's romp by OKC, etc. for the light bulb to click on.

Still, how often will Warriors face three guys accruing 90% of total points. Steady Paul George, but not Carmelo, and not Westbrook.

Glad to see CJ Beathard will start for 49ers. My gut tells me he's a winner. Galapagos could be, but no telling about foreign islands. Bad pun, my wife says.

Looking back over a lifetime on this Thanksgiving Day, 2017, I am and always will be, as an immigrant and naturalized citizen of this great country, eternally grateful for sports, and for particularly for basketball that provided me with a pathway to identity. Let's hoop, not war; let's hoop, not casts slurs; let's hoop and cooperate; let's hoop and be generous of spirit; let's win a championship for the human race.

 Okay, so I'm a little sentimental this morning. I can't help but post this old quatrain, a lesson that I, perhaps, never learned well enough, hating losing the way I did.

Who Misses or Who Wins    by William Makepeace Thackeray

Who misses or who wins the prize
Go lose or conquer as you can;
But if you fall, or if you rise,
Be each, pray God, a gentleman.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Let's Get One Thing Straight

Whoever thought up the oft-said and dishonest, "It's not who I am," must be the winner of repetitive, sorry-ass, apologies for abusers, racists, and gropers in America, Donald Trump being the leading example in the later category.

This morning Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, used this statement to explain he is not a racist for a racist comment he made in 2013. Please note, not 1965, or 1980, but as recently as the first four years of Barrak Obama's presidency. By now, shouldn't you know better, or maybe not.

Let's get one thing straight, if you abuse anybody, you're an abuser; if you make racist comments or jokes, you are a racist; if you grab a women's genitals you are a sexual predator. It is who you are, not who you're not.

Here's Jone's statement made on video for a man who asked Jones if he'd tape a message for his fiancee. "Hey, Jennifer, congratulations on the wedding. Now, you know he's with a black girl tonight, don't you?" Joking, yes. But the color slipped out of your core prejudice, Jerry. In your mind, whether you knew it or not, the girl's skin color made your stupid notion of infidelity a greater sin, which was the point and beside the point of your message. Ha, ha. No one is laughing, except other racists.

So as not to end on a foul subject, here's a lovely poem about love and competition in the guise of a game we've all played.

Playing the Game      by Barbara Goldowsky 

You stick out your fist: stone
breaks my two fingers playing scissors.

You offer your hand, open.
I shred the palm: it's paper.
I am sill scissors.

Have you no heart? you ask.
But I am stone.

Your hand is still paper,
you wrap me up:
closer than blades,
harder than hearts.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Stats and etc

Don't you just love sports statistics? Take for example: Boston is working on a 13 game win streak for any team that started 0 -2. Geez. Has anybody figured out what the record is for consecutive wins following an 0-3 start, or an 0-4 start? I don't have access to the league office to find out or the patience to sift through online crap, but is it at all possible that the Sacramento Kings hold one of those records. I'm reasonably sure they lost a bunch of games in a row at the start of the season(s). I'm just saying. I don't mean to be snarky, but stats and analytics drive me nuts. It's all about technology. Recently, I heard some smart person created a room in which people with tech issues could pay a fee, go into, and using a bat provided to them, beat the hell out of technology. Sign me up.

Is there a won and done high school somewhere? There must be, funded by the Coach Calapari Foundation. Last night's game agains Kansas Calapari started five freshmen. Gonzaga beat up on Howard last night, but Howard is an intellectual school, and the Zags, well not so much.

Garapolo, or as my wife, the foodie calls him, Gorgonzola, wins the award for most handsome QB in the NFL, but I'm thinking the 49ers need to give CJ Beathard a serious look. QB is alll about the O-Line. When the Hawkeye standout got protection he stayed up and stood out.

I hate Tom Brady's Trump politics, but he is the best quarterback in the NFL and could wind up ranking in the top five, ever. I keep in mind, Picasso was a great painter, but a real jerk.

I see where the Raiders broke ground for their new stadium in Las Vegas. I've finally reconciled the move, and figure, if it had to be, Vegas is the only place the Silver and Black could have gone. Vegas Raiders has a certain ring to it, and Vegas being what it is, there'll be plenty of Oakland folks willing to fly down and keep the legacy alive. How about the team providing day-of-game charter planes? Charge a small fee, serve booze. My wife says to sign her up. She'd go just to see the costumes and the people, forget the booze. But don't forget the blackjack tables.

Here we go again, as Ronald Reagan used to say: Donald Trump admiring the Philippines' Dictator President Rodrigo Duterte, who's got one of the worst human rights records on our planet, and recently implied that it's ok to snuff reporters. Vladimir KGB Putin, now this madman? The only silver lining I see in this ominously dark trump cloud is that once he and all his cronies are behind bars, perhaps the Middle Class in America will finally get it that the Republican Party has never been, is not, and never will be, on their side.

Sherman Alexie, a Native American, is one of his homeland's great writers. I particularly love his short stories and poems. Here's one about basketball.. I hope the Ball family kids read this poem.

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-
ing up and everything
they can possibly hold.