meta name=”robots” content=”index, follow” Meschery's Musings of Sports, Literature, and Life Meschery's Musings on Sports, Literature and Life: 2012

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.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Rethinking the NBA for 2013

I'm looking at the roster of the Timberwolves and the Rockets and imagining them (sans injuries) as playoff teams. Lin and Hardren might turn into one of the great NBA backcourts. Kirilenko of the Wolves continues to show that you can be an All-Star as a defensive player - great hands, great instincts. And he's Russian like me, what more can I say.

When Bogut gets back and in form, count the Warriors into the playoffs and deeper than the first round. You heard it here first.

I don't care how good Nash is, I'm not sold on the Lakers, nor am I sold on the Clippers for exactly the opposite reason: the Lakers have no bench and the Clippers have too much bench. Predictable rotations are essential.

The Heat have a rebounding problem, the Talking Heads say. They may, but LeBron is a powerful force of nature. As I watched the recent Thunder/Miami game, it seemed to me that the players on the Thunder were frightened of LeBron when the big mon made his powerful moves. How to beat the Heat? Let LeBron shoot the long ball and don't let him drive and get cheap baskets. After awhile as LeBron realizes he is being given the free three, he'll start thinking and he's going to start missing.

I do not believe in the Knicks. I am not impressed with Carmelo, nor am I impressed with JR Smith. Great instinctive basketball but no IQ for the game. Kidd might help in that department, but its a long season and he's 38 years old. And Felton is not a starting guard.

The Spurs remain steady and skillful. The key to their winning big will be how healthy the Big Three will be come playoff time. A consistent Diaw, and the continued development of Diago Splitter. I see them upsetting the Thunder and taking Miami to the seventh game. The Winner is: __________________for the NBA Championship.

Chicago. Not this year. But with Rose back, next year might be their time. They should trade to get Korvar back.

What about the Grizzlies? What about them? Pretty predictable if you ask me, which means easy to defend. They can't run with Gasul and Randolph. So Gay, Conley and Allen have to play slow down ball.

Here's a trade for the Grizzlies: The Kings trade DeMarcus Cousins, Tryreke Evans, and Aaron Brooks (Tyreke is a Memphis guy) for Gasul, Randolph and Pondexter? The Kings get a Vladi Devac type player back and a defender in Allen. The Grizzlies could create a running team and clear cap space by getting rid of Randolph and Gasul. Lionel can hire his old teammate Bill Walton to work with Cousins all summer.

What can I say about the Nuggets? Great coach. Faried is fab, but can't shoot a lick. Gallinari is inconsistent. McGee doesn't seem real bright to me, and he's the key to the team going beyond the first round of the playoffs.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Jimmer Fredette might actually learn to play in the NBA.

By the end of the season, barring injuries, the most improved team in the NBA will be the New Orleans Hornets. Vasquez is the surprise point guard of the season for me. The Hornets and the Jazz should trade names. There's no jazz in Salt Lake and probably a lot of bees.

One last thought. If the NBA ever wants to create real parity, it needs to increase the 24 second rule to 30 seconds. The additional 6 seconds will allow for four extra passes. The additional 6 seconds will allow a well trained, disciplined team to execute plays better, create a little more slight of hand, and allow coaches more opportunity to coach. It would not inhibit those teams that want to run and overpower an opponent with athleticism, but it would allow a team that does not have those kind of super, super stud stars to compete. Level the playing field and discourage teams like Miami from loading up. Smarts instead of brawn.

Hilarious poem about boxing

The World's Worst Boxer   Lucilius  translated by Humbert Wolfe

Apis! the men you boxed with, grateful that you
never hit one of them, erect this statue.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Cousin's Dilemma

It's about time the Kings suspended DeMarcus cousins. Phil Jackson is right to recommend psychological counseling. Without counseling, Cousins will wind up bouncing around the NBA, moving out of trouble into trouble, always far short of playing to his potential, and let's be clear, DeMarcus Cousins has enormous potential. The only quick fix I can think of is trading him to the Boston Celtics and let Garnett, Rondo, and Pierce, and Coach Doc Rivers have crack at him. Perhaps, surrounded by strong, intelligent, hardworking superstar players and directed by a coach with a strong reputation, the kid might, (I stress might) get his act together. The Kings could ask for Jeff Green, Jard Sullinger, Avery Bradley and a first round draft choice. They might go for that, or something close to it. The Kings would get young talent and two first round picks in 2113.  The Celtics would be a force with DeMarcus in the middle.

Enough said on the mental health side of things and trades.

Last night as the Cousin's drama was unfolding I was watching NBA Gametime listening to Isiah Thomas talking about how the NBA game has evolved from a center dominated game to a point guard/penetration type game. I knew that, but Thomas provided some extra food for thought.

This morning I read in the sports page that one of Cousin's big grips is that his teammates don't pass him the ball enough or at the right time (the reason he had a fight with Donte Green). Humm, I thought, perhaps the kid has a legitimate grip. As I recalled the King's games I've watched, I came to the conclusion that the ball does NOT go in to Cousins nearly enough. If I had my way, 65 % of the offense would start with the big man. But, that kind of inside/out offense does not fit the new NBA paradigm.

It would be interesting to me to see what would happen if every time the Kings could not create a fast break opportunity (however they wanted to structure that), they started their half court set with a pass to the big man. Cousins is an excellent passer. He has good vision and soft hands. Create a passing and cutting offense, players filling in from the weakside. In and out, set and reset, side to side. The more Cousins becomes a force in the low block the more defenses must collapse on him to help, which opens up outside shooters. Freddette, Brooks, and Thorton shooting without a hand in their face? I like that idea a lot.

As for Cousins, force him to be the player he can be. Make him the lynch-pin of the offense. Tell him exactly what he needs to do: DeMarcus you must produce 18 points a night, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists and block shots. Challenge him to be a triple double man.

Will this happens? Who knows? But, in Cousin's case, it might be good idea to return to the old school post-up offense. Models change all the time. Pendulums swing back.

Here's a small poem I wrote about Michael Jordan.

Michael Jordan   by Tom Meschery

His air curves upward
while all the rest of us,
say we "hang."
Disconsolate and
earthbound, we know
our air merely descends.
He stays aloft,
legs splayed, tongue
a puppy flap.
Happy, so happy
four centuries later
to prove Newton wrong.

Friday, November 30, 2012

A Couple of Days of the Sports Page + etc

Is there any naive soul out there who believes that Bonds, Sosa, and Clemens did NOT take steroids and other physical enhancement drugs? I know what the courts ruled, but check out how their bodies grew while they broke records. Seeing is believing as my Patron Saint, Thomas, used to say. For me, the decision whether these men should be in baseball's Hall of Fame is simple: You cheat, you don't get in. Period. You never get in. End of story.

As for Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star, who said he's voting for them because, "If Major League Baseball took no action against a player during his career for alleged or suspected steroid/PED use, I'm not going to do so in assessing their career for the Hall of Fame." Interesting argument. Actually a Logical Fallacy. What you're saying Bob, is your going to perpetuate stupidity and culpability by adding to it. MLB was wrong back then, now you're going to be wrong. 

Speaking of wrong. Isn't it time for Ndamukong Suh to get anger management counseling?

Hurrah for Rajon Rondo for defending a cheap shot on his teammate Kevin Garnett, although I'm reasonably sure Garnett might have found a way to retaliate had Kim Kardashian's ex-hubby not been ejected. What do you think?

Someone at the Seattle Times calculated what it would cost to take four people to a Dallas Cowboy game with hotdogs, Cokes, parking, and some souvenirs? $634.78. I'm assuming these are decent seats. I'm sure that you can get off cheaper if you're willing to sit in the stratosphere, which can not be better than sitting in a comfortable chair in front of your 50 inch TV with a bottle of brew and guacamole and chips.

Speaking of brew? How is it possible that anyone really buys the swill that the football game beer ads promote? Bud, Coors, Yuk. Boggles the mind and the taste buds. Ah, for a frosty mug of Anchor Steam or Nevada Pale Ale!

Wow, and I'm only on page 2 of today's sport's page.

Any bets that Rolondo McClain's career is over? After football, he might want to open up a gun shop. McClain is a member in good standing of my Knucklehead Club.

Amphetamines? Really? I'm sooo surprised that our boys in the NFL are using them. Now there's talk about Viagra our brave lads are using. You gotta be kidding! The image conjured by a field of football players who've recently swallowedd some erectile dysfunction tabs defies humor. I'd be particularly worried if I were the center, and the quarterback was, how can I say it delicately, "in a state."?

Speaking of quarterbacks, Kaepernick it is, but please don't call him Kap. There is only one Kap in Football - Joe Kapp of the University of California Bears (of The Play fame) and the Minnesota Vikings. This same guy nicknamed "Injun Joe" who said running out of bounds was for "Gringos." And threw 7 touchdown passes in one game., and who was the best street fighter I've ever seen, as some of my St. Mary's buds who tried to crash a frat. party back in 1960 and had to face an angry Kap would confirm.

As quiet as it's kept, the Memphis Grizzlies keep winning. Bravo Coach Leonel Hollins. Watch out for the Minnosota Timberwolves once Rubio is back.

Great Warrior win last night against the Nuggets. I'm completely sold on  the Nugget's Faried. What a hustler. Not only does he haul in rebounds, both offensive and defensive, but he disrupts and gets his hands on balls, which often leads to turnovers. Tips that lead to turnovers or offensive/defensive rebounds should be a statistic. I think Dean Smith used to do just that.

As for Bogut. Micro-fracture is a scary word. If I were the Warriors, even as late and as weird as everything has evolved, I would have Bogut's doctor(s) and physical therapist(s) lay out for Golden State fans exactly what is going on - in medical detail, even if it reveals that Bogut will not be able to play for a couple of months. The Bogut deal is still a good one, in my mind. The Warriors are playing well. Lee, Landry, and Ezili are doing yeoman's job on the boards. What a pick up Landry has been Bravo Meyers! Ditto picking up Jack. If ONLY someone, anyone, could teach Beidrens to shoot freethrows????? I'm tossing my name in the hat. Give me one month with the kid. "Listen to your ego," my wife says. "No," I say,"I'm not kidding. I've studied the kid's form. I know exactly what's wrong. It's not psychological, it's physical."

Aren't Blogs fun?

David Stern is right. People pay good money - in this day and age, with what little entertainment money their budgets can afford - to see great basketball. I think Pop could have supported his argument had he rested only his Big Three, but by adding the young, third year Green kid, it looked more like a mind game he was playing on the Heat players and coaching staff. On the other hand, I don't think any of the fans would argue they didn't see an exciting game. I watched it and loved every minute of it. Right on Patty Mills, Aussie Galloping Gael!

With all the negative stuff happening in professional sports and that includes professional college sports, I've selected a poem about a pure sport: climbing. You hang by your fingers above nothing but death, now that's sport.

The Rock Climbers   by Robert Francis

In this soft age, in my soft
middle age, the rock climbers

Who giving all to love
embrace cold cliffs

Or with spread-eagle arms
enact a crucifixion

Hanging between the falling
and the not-attaining

Observed or unobserved
by hawks and vultures-

How vaulting a humility
superb a supererogation

Craggy to break the mind
on and to cool the mind.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Few Comments

From the Sacramento Bee Sport's Page, November 20, 2012


I'm not arguing that Geoff Petrie shouldn't go, but for Sacto Bee reporter AileneVoisin to write the words, "give Petrie the boot," about a man who put together one of the great sports memories in Sacramento history, lacks, to put in mildly, grace and sensitivity and, perhaps, a misunderstanding of the dynamics that govern the 21st century NBA.

So what if Geoff Petrie doesn't have the Twitter, Facebook, personality that Voisin seems to say defines good management? That sounds like good sense to me, as we are awash in such technological blather. Yada, yada, yada, who cares? The problem that faces Geoff, the one he has not addressed, which is at the core of his downfall - should it happen - has far more to do with an ownership without the financial resources to allow Geoff any flexibility to work the increasingly complicated NBA marketplace.

Sports is like any major organization in business, in politics, in education; the buck must stop at the top, the very top. Geoff is one step removed from the top of the hierarchy. Let's lay the blame where it belongs first, fix that problem, give the Maloofs "the boot," and bring in ownership with financial muscle. If Geoff can't cut it after that, then, of course, he needs to go.


Colin Kaepernick is the 49ers quarterback of the future. I make this statement based less on his maginificent performance last night against the Bears, as on his personality, body language, and leadership demenor. Years and years ago, I remember when Rick Barry arrived at the Warriors training camp, a first round draft choice from the U of Miami. I'd just come off an All-Star year, and was looking forward to many more. It was not to be. It only took me a couple of pre season practices to see that Rick was the real deal, The Star, which he turned out to be. You can feel stardom as well as see it. Ask any athlete. It's not cockiness, it's a kind of electricity. I'm afraid Alex Smith is going to have to come to that realization that Colin is the man.

I've always love poems sports metaphor poems, in which sports and the true subject are intertwined.
Here's one of my favorites.

The Stadium   by William Heyen

The stadium is filled
for this is the third night the moon
has not appeared as even a thin sickle.

We light the candles we were told to bring.
The diamond is lit red with torches.
Children run the bases.

A voice, as though from a tomb,
leads us to the last amen of a hymn.
Whole sections of the bleachers begin to moan.

The clergy files from the dugout
to the makeshift communion rails
that line the infield grass.

We've known, all our lives,
that we would gather here in the stadium
on just such a night,

that even the bravest among us
would weep softly in the dark aisles,
catching their difficult breath.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Another Theory

If a coach wants to find out if his team is going to be competitive or not, here's what he needs to do. He must sit down with a roster of all the teams in the NBA and ask himself the following: Would he substitute four out of five of his starters for four out of five starters on the opposing teams? If he would, then he has very little chance of winning many games. Next, he must repeat the question with the following change:.Would he substitute three out of five of his starters for three of the starters on the opposing team.?If he would, he will win a few more, but not that many more. Finally, he must ask himself if he would sub two of his starters for two of the starters on opposing teams. See where I'm going? The coach should start with the very best teams in the NBA, Miami, the Thunder, etc and work his way down the list of all NBA teams. Clearly most coaches would want to have the players from Miami and Thunder on their teams. But, would the Chicago Bulls, for example, sub their four starters for the four starters on the Milwaukee Bucks? Not. Would the Boston Celtics sub two of their starters for two starters on the Warriors? On Portland?

This morning I looked at the starting five/six players for the Sacramento Kings and went through all the NBA teams. Alas, aside from DeMarcus Cousins, I would sub all the rest of the King's starters for the starters on any of the other NBA teams, and that includes Orlando, Milwaukee, Philly, and Detroit, teams that are not doing well this season. What does this say about the Kings chances of winning this season? I hope I'm wrong, but I don't see a lot of talent on the Kings, beside Cousins and the new kid Thomas, maybe as long as being on a dysfunctional team won't take its toll on him? I like Aaron Brooks, with reservations, and Isaiah with reservations. But, as I said, it didn't take a lot of thinking to sub them for other players I believe are better.

When I played witht the Warriors, I used to love to battle against Tom Heinsohn, Hall of Fame forward for the Boston Celtics.  I'm married to a painter, and I told her about Heinsohn, the painter.
According to her, my one-time rival is a very good painter. Here's a poem for him and her.

Tommy Heinsohn    by Tom Meschery

In Kansas City, in the Nelsen Gallery
I look at the famous nude of Helga
and think of Tommy Heinsohn,
his famous hook shot that curved
more beautifully than Helga's hip
and his right cross that left my eye
bleeding, and how later in the bar
below the Garden he told me
he painted in the Wyeth School.
I was a rookie, and thought Wyeth
was a hotel chain. Today, I write
poems and admire the back-light
in Wyeth's painting of the dog
sunning himself in the window,
two men who made such violence
together, the work of the artist.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Theory About Championship NBA Teams

In order to contend for an NBA championship a team's starting five must be composed of players who can start on the majority of teams in the NBA.

Example: Durant, Ibaka, Perkins, Westbrook, Martin, of the Oklahoma Thunder could play on the starting five on every other team in the NBA, including the Miami Heat. From the opposite perspective, Smith and Horford are the only two players on the Atlanta Hawks who could be starters on a majority of teams in the NBA.

Example: A contending team must have at least three subs who, if they were on a majority of other teams, would be starters. This is a little trickier, and I admit allows for personal evaluation. Nonetheless, I think the reasoning holds true. For example, Sefolosha, Collison, Maynor would be starters on most of the other teams in the NBA. Tell me the poor Hawks wouldn't love to have these three guys playing alongside Horford and Smith. Okay Teague is a comer, but can he shoot a three like Maynor?

Example: Let's examine the Brooklyn Nets. At the moment, the Nets have three players who would be starters on the majority of NBA teams: Lopez, Williams, Johnson. Many teams would love to have Humphries for his tough rebounding, so he's borderline according to my theory. Ditto, Williams. But not on the majority of NBA teams. See what I mean? Then, one look at the reserves and you see that there are definitely NOT three players who could start on a majority of teams.

    Let's take the Lakers. Their starting five are wonderful and could be on any starting five in the NBA. Then, you look at their bench, not a one player could be a starter. Perhaps little Steve Blake. Perhaps.

    All right, you take it from here. Examine the NBA rosters. Enjoy. Don't get depressed if your team doesn't have the personnel needed to get to the top of the mountain.

Here's a poem about Michael Jordan who would have been a starter on any team, any time, any place, any era:

Forty-one Seconds on a Sunday in June in Salt Lake City, Utah    by  Quincy Troupe

                                                                               for Michael Jordan

rising up in time, michael jordan hangs like an icon, suspended in
cocks his right arm, fires a jump shot for two, the title game on the line,
his eyes two radar screens screwed like nails into the mask of his face

bore in on the basket, gaze focused, a thing of beauty, no shadow, or
no hint of fear, in this, his showplace, his ultimate place to shine,
rising up in time michael jordan hangs like an icon, suspended in space,

after he has moved from baseline to baseline, sideline to sidelong, his
shining, wagging his tongue, he dribbles through chaos, snaking
his eyes two radar screens screwed like nails into the mask of this face,

he bolts a flash up the court, takes off, floats in for two more in this race
for glory, it is his time, what he was put on earth for, he can see the
rising up in time, michael jordan hangs like an icon, suspended in

inside his imagination, he feels the moment he will embrace, knows his
is written here, inside this quickening pace of nerves, he will define,
his eyes two radar screens screwed like nails into the mask of his face,

inside this moment he will rule on his own terms, quick as a cat he
time, victory & glory, as he crosses over his dribble he is king of this
rising up in time, michael jordan hangs like an icon, suspended in
his eyes two radar screens screwed like nails into the mask of his face.

Monday, November 12, 2012

What Pro Coaches Can Learn From High School English Teachers.

Actually what coaches can learn from all high school teachers, not just English teachers, but since that was what I did for 21 years after I retired from the NBA, I had to give English teachers a little love in the title. So, what can coaches learn from folks who reside in the educational trenches? Very specifically: never try to be friends with your students (read: players on your team). Coaches who try to be their players' best buddy are doomed to failure. It's extremely difficult for a coach to discipline a player if that player is a friend. Parents often learn this lesson much too late. A player who will not accept discipline from a coach does not respect that coach. Period. End of story.

Why am I blogging about this? I worry that Keith Smart, the coach of the Sacramento Kings, a really nice guy, is trying to be DeMarcus Cousins' best buddy. The recent comments Coach Smart made in the Sacramento Bee following Cousins' stupid confrontation with Sean Elliot, the color commentator of the San Antonio Spurs (by the way, one hell of an NBA star when Cousins was a baby) sound just a bit too wishy-washy to me, too apologetic, too psychological. What was all that stuff about treating Cousins like he treats his 16 year old son? What? Like he loves Cousins like his son? Cousins is not his son, and he is NOT 16 years old. He's an adult. He's a pro. His absence possibly cost the Kings a win over the Lakers. And he's suspended for another game, probably another King loss without him.

I played in the NBA for ten years and been an observer of the league all my life. There are players who never grow up. They play developmentally-arrested; they leave the league with arrested personalities. It looks like Marcus is headed in that direction. Coach Smart could do the young man a big favor by making him face up to his childish behavior. The danger, of course, is that Cousins will throw another tantrum and force the Kings to fire Smart. (As he did Paul Westphal) And, as sad as it may seem, the Kings will do it, since there is no doubt that Cousins is a rare talent. But I don't believe Coach Smart will confront the kid. I'm afraid he's going to continue to try to finesse Cousins. A very bad idea.

This is not a poem but a beginning of a song from one of my favorite bands Houston Jones. I dedicate it to DeMarcus Cousins and all young people who have a way to go before they grow up.

There is no easy life
There's only the long way around.
From the edge of the world
To the heart of a three crow town.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Cheap Shots and etc

I suppose it comes down to this: Did Thomas Robinson elbow Jonas Jerebko after the play was over or did he elbow him in the heat of the moment? If it was the later, the kid can't be accused of being a cheap shot artist - like Ron Artest or Andrew Bynum and, lest it escapes notice, Rick Mahorn, ex of the Bad Boy Pistons who never threw an elbow he didn't like. "I just used my wide body to clear people out," Mahorn whined  in the newspaper this morning. Give me a break! He and Bill Lambier were as dirty a duo as there ever was in the NBA, and believe me, I know dirty. I cleared a few people out with elbows when I played the NBA, (never cheap shots, always in the heat of the moment) but nonetheless elbows that could very well have hurt the person on the receiving end. The NBA has every right to curb cheap shots, but ex-players should be careful not to shoot their mouths without first looking in the mirror of their own game. They could discover a goodly amount of hypocrisy there.

Back in my day, teams policed cheap shot artists on their own without league assistance. If Robinson had played back then, my guess is that sometime during the game (had he not been ejected, and most players were not for throwing elbows) young Mr. Robinson would have found himself on the receiving end of an elbow or found himself on his ass after a well placed pick. Ah, for the good old days when playerws like Wayne Embry were around to straighten things out.

"I'm a good kid," Robinson says, and I believe him. I really like his game. He's tough and quick, and energetic, and will, in my opinion, become a strong 3/4 type forward in the NBA. And have a successful career. Thomas Robinson, if you read this blog, you've got a fan in this old Warrior. Keep it up. That doesn't mean elbows, but it doesn't mean not elbows either. Stay tough, and don't give an inch. AND learn to shoot a jump shot.

Speaking of jump shots, will somebody please, please teach Tyreke Evans to shoot one. What is it with that silly kick-back, slingshot he's trying to pass off as a jumper? If I was coaching against the Kings, I'd play off Tyreke and clog the passing lanes. Let him shoot. I doubt he could make 20% even if he was wide open. However, if he could consistently hit from twenty feet or so, wow! And double wow! With Tyreke's speed and facility to get into the paint and finish, no one could stop him. Tyreke's form is wrong in three major ways. I'm not going to say what they are. But they are so noticiable, that I'm shocked that the King's coaches have not spotted the problems and corrected them.

Sorry to see that Andrew Bogut is down for a week or so. Better that and more conditioning, however, than for him to go on the floor not physically ready.

I watched the Thunder vs Bull last night. What an entertaining game. I'm impressed with both teams. How can you not love Jochim Noah? The Bulls will be fabulous once Rose returns, but will go through a down time as they adjust to his return, as teams always do once a star comes back into the rotation.

As for the Thunder. Has anyone noticed how far Thabeet has developed as a player? Remember, this kid is still very young and seven-foot-four. Once the Thunder coaches integrate Lamb into the line-up a little (this kids has a huge up-side) and Maynard get more comfortable in the rotation, and if the Tanganyikan continues to improve, (Perkins, Ibaka, Thabeet clogging up the paint) I wonder, could the Thunder beat the Heat? Hummmm? I'm leaning in that direction.

I'm not much for hypocrisy in life, which means in sports, as in Rick Mahorn, etc types. Here's a poem that sort of fits my mood.

The Boxer's Face  by Lucilius  Translated by Humbert Wolfe

Olympicus, don't look into a mirror
lest, like Narcissus, you drown yourself - in terror.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Coach Pagano and Other Subjects

It's very cool that the Indianapolis Colt's players are shaving their heads to honor their coach, Chuck Pagano's battle against Leukemia. As someone who has survived a similar blood cancer, I appreciate what Coach Pagano is going through and understand what a boost it must give him knowing what his players are doing. If this was all that made news about Coach Pagano's cancer, I'd stop yakking with a hearty hurrah and good luck from all of us cancer survivors but, I must say, I cringed when I saw the recent half time show of Coach Pagano tearfully addressing his players.

Not that he shouldn't have done it, I cringed because he allowed that personal time between him and his team to be televised. I don't know what motivated him to do that. Was he responsible for letting the cameras into the locker room or was this a tasteless decision by management to gain some kind of perverse sympathy for its team? I watched both fascinated and horrified as an intimate moment between coach and players turned into soap opera. Cancer is not a locker-room pep-talk. Give it one for the Gipper and all that kind of nonsense. Cancer is not theater.

Athletes    by Walker Gibson

The groggy fighter on his knees
Sways up at nine, postpones the count;
The jockey, forty-to-one shot, sees
Them all go by, yet whips his mount;
The losing pitcher, arm gone lame,
Still drops that last one in, a strike -
So you and I play a stubborn game,
Disaster prodding us alike.
So you and I, ignoring odds,
Tug caps, clutch ropes, and flail our whips,
Make sacrifices to the gods,
Breed children and build battleships,
Though ours is not an athlete's doom,
Nor death like any locker-room.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Season is Upon Us

The NBA season is about to start, and I can say with certainty that if Bogut and Curry stay healthy, the Warriors will be in the playoffs, perhaps even make it into the second round. Go Warriors! I need to mention the new kid Harrison Barnes who's going to be a quintessential 3 in the NBA, and Klay Thompson, a fab shooting guard, who's going to come into his own this season. And I'm crazy for David Lee's game, always consistent, with that, "you never know I might just dump 30 points on you if you don't take me seriously, component. The Warriors have depth and a much better handle on team D.

Now to my transplanted hometown, Sacramento, home of the Kings, GM'ed by Geoff Petrie a player I coached when he played for the Portland Blazers. He's a smart fellow who has got himself in a bit of bind since his glory Vlade Divac days. Now he has DeMarcus Cousins, who will either be an Elvin Hayes, Walt Bellamy headache or one of the greatest centers in the NBA. What a talent. But I tremble when I watch his body language and his facial expressions which spell the words I AM SPOILED, PLEASE DON'T DISCIPLINE ME OR I WILL POUT. And what in the world is going to happen to Tyreke Evans? Can he ever learn to shoot a decent jump shot? Doesn't look like it to me, and Coach Smart has him playing the 3 now. Well, playing the forward position requires some different skills than the backcourt. It's not going to happen. Tyreke becomes a liability. Fredette couldn't guard my grandmother. The Kings have cobbled together some decent players, but they go nowhere without a stable, hardworking, mature Cousins. What are the odds of that happening?

Sorry to see Kevin Love go down with a broken hand. The Timberwolves are still my sleeper team for the future. Keep your eyes on the Russian guard, Shved. Kirilenko will perk up the defense. Both Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love will be back in time to make a late charge. But I may change my mind and pick the Houston Rockets as my sleeper. Their additions for this season are impressive: Omar Asik at the post will realize his potential; three great rookies; White, Lamb, and Motiejunas. Motiejunas could turn into an All Star power forward and Lamb an All Start guard. Jeremy Limm is still a question mark for me. I think players have come to realize he has only a decent jumper, and they'll play him for the drive and also beat on him the way Mario Chalmers of the Heat did last year. Houston can fill the net, but can they play D????

The Celtics? Jason Terry will help and Green will be playing with a chip on his shoulder. Great coaching will keep them competitive, into the first round of the playoffs. The Thunder will not make the Finals of the NBA. Perkins is not the answer in the paint. He has no finesse at all, no real post moves.

LA will not produce even with Dwight and Nash because Brown is not a head coach. Their only hope is if Nash takes over the team. I'm baffled by those who say Brown is a good coach. Princeton Offense, my behind!  By the way, I guess Kobe has not grown up yet as I recently thought he had. How bush was it when he badmouthed Smush and Kwame? So, they're not great players, so what, they're teammates. No class Kobe, No Class. If I was a teammate of Kobe's I'd be looking over my shoulder.

Speaking of class: Tom Brady deserves the Class Medal. After being taunted by that silly SeaHawks player, Brady responded by praising him, ending by saying that his father always taught him "to respect his opponents." That's class Kobe. Get a grip on the concept.

I can't see how Orlando or the Hawks have much of a chance this year. Milwaukee will be a tad better with some new post presence with Dalembert while Monta Ellis and Jennings will score. And Ekepe will improve. Utah will be floating in the middle of the pack, maybe a year away. Not sure about Tyrone Corbin's coaching skills.

Detroit will be improved and may turn into a playoff team. Great first round draft choice. I love Andre Drummond. Combined with Greg Monroe, they can own the boards. Brandon Knight is tough. So I pick Detroit for the playoffs. Stucky is tough minded, not the greatest point guard but will do for the time being. Might go beyond first round in the playoffs.
Chicago, always strong with Noah, Boozer, and Deng, but without Rose, they don't beat the Heat or Boston, or maybe Detroit. Will the Knicks do the job? Not with Carmelo. Carmelo possesses an irreparable selfish gene. He suppresses it for awhile, everything looks sweet, then inevitably it returns, like someone on a constant diet who knocks off a few pounds but eventully falls off the food truck. He simply doesn't get it. As for Amare? Well, he has to be in a system because, I hate to say it, he's not the brightest kid in the class.

The Heat? We'll let the gods decide. Probably they'll win the East. Unless Rose comes back strong. The Nets need a great season from Joe Johnson while Brook Lopez must become a defensive center for once in his life.Was it Stanford that turned him into a wus? Those damn intellectuals.

This blog is about basketball, but our Giants are in the finals for the National League title. So here's poem for them and baseball.

The Double Play  by Robert Wallace

In his sea lit
distance, the pitcher winding
like a clock about to chime comes down with

the ball, hit
sharply, under the artificial
banks of arc-lights. bounds like a vanishing string

over the green
to the shortstop magically
scoops to his right whirling above his invisible

in he dust redirects
its flight to the running poised second baseman

leaping, above the slide, to throw
from mid-air, across the colored tightened interval,

to the leaning -
out first baseman ends the dance
drawing it disappearing into his long brown glove

stretches. What
is too swift for deception
is final, lost, among the loosened figures

jogging off the field
(the pitcher walks), casual
in the space where the poem has happened.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Randon Thoughts from September

Have you noticed the increase in NFL post-game player kneel-downs following great plays or touchdowns, or of players crossings themselves, or increased finger pointings skyward in the direction of heaven so far in this early season? I have, and I believe something is going on religiously in this kick-ass sport, and my guess is it started last year with Tim Tebow, tebowing. His overt and public acknowledgement of his Deity has turned into a kind of football tent-revival. I'm not disparaging this movement, if it indeed exists. Prayer circles after games in the NFL have been around for a long time, so this may be merely an extension of a growing religious fervor among the pigskin crew. Anyway, who can it hurt? Maybe, the unbelievers. I worry such religious enthusiasm, if the movement grows, might hurt the players who do not believe God is interested in football and plays no roll in it's action or outcomes. Will these apostates be discriminated against by the believers?

Another thought: if Tebow flops in the NFL, which is a reasonable possibility, he has a job waiting for him as the official minister to football worldwide. It's a made to order TV ministry. Okay, I'm being "snarky."
Sorry, Tim. You have the right to go with your beliefs. Pause. A deep sigh. Just don't bring it into my court.

Another random thought: For years I have been upset by the beer commercials sponsoring sporting events, football in particular. Why? Because, as a great fan of beers, I knew these beers to be some of the worst tasting beers brewed in the world. Gag me! How can these companys dare to call their products beer? Now, I've changed my reasoning. The way I'm figuring it now is that the more people who succumb to these beer commercials and taste these obnoxious brews, the more people will stop buying them. I'm calling it reverse advertising. It's not the label or the numbers of dancing girls, it's the quality of the beer that matters.

Here's a poem I wrote about football.

Football Poem With Random Implications    by Tom Meschery

                                              For Dell

In King Lear, Kent trips Oswald
and calls him a base football player,
base, because it was a sport played
by peasants not by the sons of gentlemen
who, later in English history, attended
famous public schools like Rugby
after which the sport of Rugby is named,
which in rules and action more closely
resembles American football that has,
in recent years, become America's most
popular sport, supplanting baseball,
a sport better suited to statisticians
and novelists. I'm not surprised to learn
about the base nature of soccer, given
the often rowdy behaviour of its fans,
clearly plebs. Such behavior, having nothing
to do with the results of the games, but
with their station in life, would never
be tolerated by graduates of Rugby,
many of whom sit in the House of the Lords.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday Night Football

Do I have to suffer another year of listening to Jon Gruden's fake enthusiasm, his self-important, self-serving, obnoxious analysis? It's particularly nauseating after listening to two professionals, Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth, discussing football intelligently, while providing reasonable insights into the game the night before on Sunday Night Football. Why, for pity's sake does the network think Gruden is at all interesting. Does Gruden believe he is channeling Dandy Don Meredith, the first Monday Nighter? Now there was an original. As for Gruden, he is an unreasonable facsimile of himself.

Thinking of Monday Night Football reminded me that Chet Forte, a basketball player and a contemporary of mine, was the first director of that show. In 1957 at Columbia University, Chet was voted a First Team All-American. I'd just started college at St. Mary's. Forte could shoot lights out from distance, and if the NBA had had a three point line back then, when he played, he might have had a much longer career as a pro.

Looks like the 49ers are for real. And so is Alex Smith who deserves a lot of credit for suffering the slings and arrows of the last four years. As for the Raiders, my old bud, Bill King, former play by play man for the Raiders, A's, and Warriors is turning over in his grave. I'm wondering if this continued carryover of silly mistakes and underachieving defense from the past isn't an Al Davis curse; there's precedence in sports - the curse of the Bambino, for example.

I would like to blog some more, but the Monday Night game is about to start, and I'm off to watch the game without sound. I'm a big Manning fan - both of them - but I have to give a leg up to the older bro.
Longevity counts, at least at my age it does.

P.S. I'm back. Just watched Payton Manning intercepted three times. Hallucinating, I think. And then, to bring his Broncos back in the 4th quarter. Lots of courage. The Falcons better find a running back.

Here's a wonderful old, very old classic poem about football written by Sir Walter Scott. The game of football, soccer to us, was developed in England in the 18th century?

Football Song

Then strip, lads, and to it, though sharp be the weather,
   And if, by mischance, you should happen to fail,
There are worse things in life than a tumble on heather,
   And life is itself but a game at football.

And when it is over, we'll drink a blithe measure
   To each Laird and each Lady that witnessed our fun,
And to every blithe heart that took part in our pleasure,
   To the lads that have lost and the lads that have won.


Then up with the Banner, let forest winds fan her,
   She has blazed over Ettrick eight ages and more;
In sport we'll attend her, in battle defend her,
   With heart and with hand, like our fathers before.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Bad Mittens & Remembrances of West Africa.

As I read about the badminton teams dumping games to gain a seating advantage so as to better their chances to win gold medals, I said to myself, okay, what's new? Why are we exorcised over these pithy failures in human nature, while all around us the big dogs of finance and industry cut corners, lie, cheat, and manipulate the systems to increase their bottom line? The Olympic Committee will ban the badminton players, as they should, and change the badminton rules to avoid further temptations, as they should, but I doubt the cheaters, those denizens of high finance responsible for our current economic depression will ever be brought to justice. The Olympics are a four year blip on our moral and ethical screen. So if it does our hearts good to see these badminton teams lose their opportunities for gold, well, hurrah for small justices. 
I watched the U.S. men's basketball team whack Nigeria, and thought back to my years beginning in the summer of 1963, coaching in West Africa. During those summers some of the African players showed up to practice without shoes. On my first trip I traveled with John Havlick and Casey Jones, two wonderful travel companions. On my second trip Siugo Green of the St. Louis Hawks (now Atlanta) was my traveling companion. On subsequent trips to Africa I traveled by myself. Back then, I counted myself lucky if I found one player per country who might have been able to make an American college Division I team, and I stress the word, might. So, despite the shellacking the Nigerians endured at the hands (or should I say three pointers) of the NBA's finest, I felt a great deal of pride over the great progress these countries have made over the last fifty years, so many of West Africa's finest playing at American colleges and in the NBA.

When Rebecca Soni turned her lovely face to the camera after winning a gold medal in the 200 meter breast stroke, breaking her own world record, I thought to her beginnings as a swimmer and of my own daughter, Megan, who possessed a natural talent for swimming, and of a poem by Phillip Booth.

First Lesson   by Phillip Booth

Lie back, daughter, let your head
be tipped back in the cup of my hand.
Gently, and I will hold you. Spread
your arms wide, lie out on the stream
and look high at the gulls. A dead-
man's-float is face down. You will dive
and swim soon enough where this tidewater
ebbs to the sea. Daughter, believe
me, when you tire on the long thrash
to your island, lie up, and survive.
As you float now, where I held you
and let go, remember when fear
cramps your heart what I told you:
lie gently and wide to the light-year
stars, lie back, and the sea will hold you.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Stars Earn Stripes

This morning I read on the Internet that NBC will produce a television show called Stars Earn Stripes co-hosted by retired General Westley Clark. On this show, celebrities will pair up with members of the armed services to compete at war-like tasks that include long range weapons fire.

Is NBC insane? Movies show graphic depictions of war. Video games are filled with simulations of war played nightly by hundreds of thousands of men and boys. Now were going to extol the virtues of war on television and call it sports. As an athlete I am deeply offended.

We are in the middle of the 2012 Olympics, dedicated to peaceful competition between athletes of all nations, and what do the nitwits at NBC come up with? War sports. Shame, and double shame on them.

If there is anyone out there as horrified as I am, please comment on my blog.

Here is a small poem I wrote about War wondering at some of the stupid games we played at as little boys.

The Origin of War    by Tom Meschery

I stepped forward into the long arc of the branch,
he had stripped of its leaves and meant to hurt,
because we were no longer ten and a dare at eleven
must be accepted no matter what, especially if it were doubled,
which it was. I took the blow on my chest but did not flinch.
Then it was my turn. I swung the branch
from side to side imagining his worst pain.
Walking home together, he screamed,
This is war! Tomorrow, one of my father's
two-by-fours. We'll see who'll cry, have the last laugh.
It started like a lot of games do, with a dare.
I should have known better.
In the end, what else could I do but surrender.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Olympics in Advertising

Okay, so I'm an unapologetic knee-jerk, 1960's/'70's liberal, but wouldn't it be wonderful and inspiring, and peaceful if once, just once, in the history of television, the American public could view the Olympic Games without a single commercial? Uninterrupted action, Yea!

This blog is not about dissing the corps that buy these games' supporting ads. because I understand the financial requirements needed to televise a huge production such as the Olympics. But, here's my suggestion to the corps: Forget the profits! Do the games pro-bono. In the long run, what do you really lose that you can't make up in any number of ways later? And please don't tell me that you're in such dire financial straights that loss of Olympic income will bust you.

Be it ever so humble, here's my rationale for a commercial free Olympics. First, I'm reasonably sure that there are no convincing stats out there that prove corporations' sales increase during or immediately after an Olympics Games. So, in terms of bottom line, are the companies getting their bang for their buck? I doubt it. Second, the corps that own the TV stations may or may not make a profit, iffy at best. Third, it looks to me that the only folks in econ-land improving their bottom-line are the advertising companies. Since I've always felt the advertising industry works on the principal of The Emperor's New Clothes, it wouldn't bother me if their bottom-line suffered through a brief Olympic Games diet.

The Olympic Games only last for a short period of time and then everybody, corps, television, advertisers, could get back to the business of making money, and we viewers, alas, would return to pressing our MUTE buttons during those pathetic beer commercials. But, oh, how pleasant it would be to look back on a glorious, a magnificent, an improbable dream-come-true, commercial-free Olympics.

Just the thought of it makes me shiver with excitement.

As the Olympics begin this week, did you know that in ancient Greece, the competing athletes would hire poets to write victory odes for them should they win?  And that poets attending the games would set up stalls from which they would declaim poems honoring the games?

Here's a funny poem about the Games, by Australian poet, Graeme King

I ran into the stadium, and heard the mighty roar;
the crowd was on is feet and going wild,
no sign of all the field, they were a mile behind and more.
I looked into the audience and smiled.

I ran the final lap and saw those five Olympic rings,
the flame was burning brightly in the sky,
the track was like a cloud, it felt as though I ran on wings,
the people cheered as I went running by.

I turned the final corner, one more straight to win the gold,
the finish line a hundred yards away.
Right from the start I'd grabbed the lead, and kept a stranglehold,
the others couldn't catch, not today.

The Marathon - a test of athlete's tolerance to pain,
so may hours of torture now was past,
I'd buried all the hurt down somewhere deep inside my brain,
and now I'd reap my just rewards at last.

I broke the tape, the world went mad, I couldn't hear a thing,
the cheering washed across me like a sea,
I'd done what I set out to do: a winner in Beijing,
the referee was beckoning to me.

H shook my hand and said, "I know this may sound rather mean,
the field and you was just like cheese and chalk;
if only you had looked behind, perhaps you may have seen
this was the Forty Kilometre WALK.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Top Down for a Successful Sport's Franchise and etc

When I first started teaching high school eons ago, I had a sergeant's attitude towards officers, ie: a teacher's attitude toward administration. When I retired from teaching in 2005 I knew that a high school is only as good as its principal. A lazy, unintelligent, or uninspired principal and you can say so long to the general well fare of your school.

The same holds true for sports. How is it that the Golden State Warriors could have been so dense, made so many bad decisions, were so uninspired that the franchise teetered on the edge of last place abyss for so many years. Clearly, the fault lay with the administration - from owner, gm, scouts, to coach and staff.

As of last year, our Warriors have a new principal and vice principals. There's an administration in place, and they are taking risks, drafting well, replacing average players with effective players, working from the Top down. All of a sudden things are looking up for the Warriors.

We all know that the risks (Bogut & Curry) are still there and Warrior success depends on them being healthy, but how about Thompson, Michael's son, destined to surpass his father's fame?  (No wonder Jerry West likes the kid; the kid plays a lot like him.) Let's not forget the acquisition of David Lee, a blossoming power forward with tons of All-Star possibilities. As for rookies, Harrison Barnes is going to be a winner. Festus Ezeli has great upside, and Draymond Greeen might turn out to be a steal in the low second round. Now, along comes the trade for J. Jack (sounds like a neat whiskey) to complete a solid three man guard rotation. Jack is a solid defender and a consistent scorer. And, he's got passion. Add to that some bench strength in Brandon Rush and Dominic McGuire. The only remaining question is how to dump Biedren's contract after which this looks like a team the Bay Area can get excited about.

But, before I wax too optimistic, let me say that it appears to me that a number of teams that were down last years have improved their rosters through trade and free agency, so it still boils down to what happens after the ref throws the ball into the air to start the game.

Now for Kobe Bryant's silly prediction that the present Olympic Team could beat the Dream Team. I suppose he couldn't very well said, no we're second best, but he could have been slightly more intelligent. Nothing wrong with asking a question with a question. What do you think, Mr. Reporter? Give him a wink and you'd have been off the hook.

Question? If Steve Nash plays as well as he did last season (at 38 yrs young), is it possible that Kobe Bryant could surpass Wilt Chamberlain's 50 pts a game avg record season?

Speaking of Kobe Bryant, remember his learning curve when he entered the league out of high school? He was not the star he is now. I wrote this poem at that time about him. It is in my first book of poems: Nothing You Lose Can Be Replaced.

Kobe Bryant

Three air-balls in a row
and the face of the cock-sure
millionaire becomes the face
of Billy Harris who I told
to take the last shot
for the city championship,
although he was too young,
the only sophomore on the team.

When the ball left his hand
I knew right away its failure
and wanted to climb the air
to pull it back before
it fell two feet short, and the fans
began to stomp their feet
and point that terrible pronoun
at him, as if you, you, you
didn't already understand
he'd never be the same person
he was the day began.

Tonight, on TV against the Jazz,
I watch Kobe and believe
it's my fault all over again
because Billy Harris never
got his shot back no matter
what I did or said to him
for the next two seasons.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Are Sports Fans Really Fans Anymore?

In yesterdays Blog I mused about the Standing Room Only sections of football stadiums and baseball parks. I referred to these areas as social gatherings, which begged the question are the people inhabiting these zones there to watch the sport? I'm not sure I was emphatic enough with my answer. Today I will be. The answer is No. Part of the social media generation, the people in the Standin Room Only sections are there primarily to socialize; they are not there to watch the sport.

Musing, further, on this new phenomena, I found myself thinking how many people in all the other sections of the stadiums, ballparks, and arenas are there actually watching the game? I mean seriously watching the action? Ask yourself, how many times during a game (any of the Big Three sports) are you able to sit uninterrupted in your seat without someone excusing him or herself over you or in front of you or just behind you to go the the concession stands? Or wherever? Never, would be my guess. Throughout the game there are always people leaving or returning. It's my experience that this behavior has increased over the years.

In addition, have you noticed how many people in their seats while the games are going on (not during timeouts) are concentrating on their electronic devices? I bet that after a game has ended, few fans today could provide a clear quarter by quarter, inning by inning account of the event they just saw. Why? Because they really didn't see it; they were buying beer, shmoozing in the lounge, or responding to their Twitter or Facebook.

So, I ask you, can you call today's fans really fans? As you sit in your seat at your next game, look around you and ask yourself that question. I'd be interested to know your answer.

It's the dead of summer and the heart of fishing season. I remember in grad school in Iowa City, oh so many years ago, heading to the ponds in the morning, fishing for small mouth bass and picking Morrell mushrooms. Later frying the bass and sauteing the mushrooms in butter and garlic. All of us, young and sassy, washing the meal down with cheap wine.

The Pike   by Theodore Roethke

The river turns,
Leaving a place for the eye to rest,
A furred, a rocky pool,
A bottom of water.

The crabs tilt and eat, leisurely,
And the small fish lie, without shadow, motionless,
Or drift lazily in and out of the weeds.
The bottom-stones shimmer back their irregular striations,
And the half-sunk branch bends away from the gazer's eye.

A scene for the self to abjure! -
And I lean, almost into the water,
My eye always beyond the surface reflection;
I lean, and love these manifold shapes,
Until, out from a dark cove,
From beyond the end of a mossy log,
With one sinuous ripple, then a rush,
A thrashing-up of the whole pool,
The pike strikes.  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

New Edition: Knuckleheads Club

As of today I'lll begin posting as part of my regular blog commentary on stupid stuff in sports and life entitled The Knuckleheads Club. (notice plural, not singular). This will not be a regular feature of my blog, but one that will appear from time to time as the mood strikes me.

Knuckleheads Club Post #1: I read in the Sacramento Bee this morning that community colleges in the area will restrict repetition of recreational courses. Here's the quote from the Bee: "In the wake of recessionary budget cuts, the new rule is designed to shift resources away from courses such as tennis and painting in order to free up funds for more basic academic classes." What Knucklehead linked "painting" (we're talking art classes) with tennis? My wife, Melanie, taught art for years at Sacramento City College, and I can assure you that "art" is NOT recreational, but the hardest of disciplines. That's not to denigrate tennis. Learning how to play a sport is difficult and requires a lot of energy and time. But, it is, nonetheless, sport, and not academic by nature. The powers that be will do what they have to do to deal with budget cuts, but let's not bunch art, sculpture, music, and poetry with tennis, badminton, volleyball, and swimming. We're talking apples and oranges here, and some knuckehead numbers crunchers don't know the difference.
Why is it that the Knuckleheads always consider right brain activity such as art (and sport) less important to human growth than left brain courses, such as math and science?

I'm intrigued by the new trend in baseball and football to create standing room only areas in outfields and in the high cheap seat sections of stadiums where people can watch the action on the field either directly or on a large tv screen while eating, drinking, and shoomozing with friends. Sports thus turns into a social club not a sporting event. In one stadium, people are given the choice of buying season tickets for the standing room only section. As this way of being part of the sport scene increases in popularity, I predict tickets prices for standing room will increase as management realizes its bottom line potential. As this trend continues, are sports bars doomed to extinction?

By the way, don't you think at some point some boozer will eventually take a header over a railing as he or she leans over for a better view?

I can't say that I'm exactly against this standing room only strategy. I've always thought the cheap seats value at any sporting event is a huge rip, vis-a-vis any chance of truly watching and enjoying the play on the field or court being that the players, from that distance and height, look like Lilliputians. (There are very few seats in a modern arena or stadium that are better than my easy chair in front of my 48 inch tv screen. And my seat is virtually free.)

Do you know that in Rome, the vast majority of spectators stood. Only the emperor and a few dignitaries had the privilege of seats. Besides, why would anyone want to sit down and miss a Christian being torn to shreds by a lion?

Just a brief comment on the 2012 NBA championship. I do not believe that the Heat and the Thunder represent a new trend in professional basketball, ie: small ball. Granted big, slow footed centers will not cut it in today's game, but an active shot blocking center will always make the difference between excellence and greatness. The 2012 Heat were marginally great. Keep in mind as a standard the Lakers with Jabbar and Wilt; Portland with Walton, and the 76er's with Malone, Boston with Russell. Those were excellent teams.

Congratulations to Serena Williams wining Wimbledon. Terrific physical and emotional comeback. Let's hear it for comebacks! This is a lovely tennis poem by Frank Higgins

Tennis in the City
      for Arthur Ashe

He could help us out
selling papers or sacking groceries
but that's what I did growing up.
Every day he's in the alley
knocking the ball against the building.
Whomp    take that     Forest Hills
whomp    whomp    take that    Wimbledon
whomp      whomp       whomp
all         day      long,
the wife tells me so.
Says she watches him from the window
when the bossman has her clean 'em,
says she doesn't know about that boy.
But I know about that boy
and i know this ball's worn
and I know this racket's gonna split
no matter how much tape you put on,
so tonight after super
we're going for new ones, son.
And I want you to start staying
in that alley an hour longer, hear?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Warrior Ist Round Pick and post travels catching up

Just returned from a month's vacation in Italy and Croatia, part of it spent on a cruise where I couldn't get a lot of American sport's information, and where I couldn't find a Ricky Rubio shirt in any store in Italy. It's soccer or nothing. They way the Italians played against Spain for the Euro Cup, they would be better served if they paid a little more attention to hoops.

So there I was getting NBA withdrawals as draft day approached. Two days later I got the result. Harrison Barnes, soph from N. Carolina to the Warriors. Interesting choice since it creates a serious log jam at the three position. The times I saw Barnes on TV, he certainly looked like he had a stroke. But the question is is he more than a catch and shoot guy? It seems to me the Warriors desperately need a three who can create his own shot, a player who can penetrate off the wing. I thought Rush managed a little in that area. As for D Wright, he is definitely mostly a corner shooter, Richard Jefferson, close to retirement, is a step slow, and not too smart according to Coach Don Nelson.

Anyway, if Barnes does prove to be the offensive three threat he is supposed to be, the Warriors will have plenty of fire power. I was hoping the Warriors would pick up Jason Kidd but he's heading to the Knicks, a smart move by the Knicks. Kidd can mentor Lin and still has plenty of legs left to give the Knicks strong minutes as a reserve. I wouldn't be surprised if Kidd winds up playing significant minutes.

I was sorry to see Nash go to LA only because I have so little respect for LA's coach Brown. I think he'll screw up whatever chance Nash has of going out in style. On the other hand, if they simply ignore Brown, let Nash run the show, Kobe could wind up breaking Wilt's 50 pts per game season average.

I like the Warriors' next two picks, Festus Ezeli and Draymond Green. Green is undersized for his position, but so was I at the power forward. So I'm pulling for him. Rebounding has a lot to do with desire, instinct, and body positioning as much as it is about strength and jumping. So I'm pulling for the kid. As for Festus Ezeli, at 6'11 and 260 pounds and very little experience, he looks like he has a lot of development left in him before he reaches his potential. He's a worthy gamble.

In the end, the Warriors' season depends on the gamble they took trading for Andrew Bogut and their bet that Curry is due some years sans ankle injury.

Rookie Harrison Barnes says he's a big fan of Michael Jordan. Here's poem for our first rounder about his hero.

Forty-one Seconds on a Sunday in June, in Salt Lake City, Utah.   by Quincy Troupe

rising up in time, micharl jordan hangs like an icon, suspended in
cocks his right arm, fires a jump shot for two, the title game on the line,
his eyes two radar screens screwed like nails into the mask of this face

bore in on the basket, gaze focused, a thing of beauty, no shadow, or
no hint of fear, in this, his showplace, his ultimate place to shine,
rising up in time michael jordan hangs like an icon suspended in space,

after he has moved from baseline to baseline, sideline to sideline, his
shining, wagging his tongue, he dribbles through chaos, snaking
his eyes two radar screens screwed like nails into the mask of his face,

he bolts a flash up the court, takes off, focuses in for two more in this race
for glory, it is his time, what he was put on earth for, he can see the
rising up in time, michael jordan hangs like an icon, suspended in

inside his imagination, he feels trhe moment he will embrace, knows his
is written here, inside this quickening pace of nerves, he will define,
his eyes two radar  screens screwed like nails into the mask of his face,

inside this moment he will rule on his own terms, quick as a cat he
time, victory & glory, as he crosses over his dribbe he is king of this
rising up in time, michael jordan hangs like an icon, suspended in
his eyes two radar screens screwed like nails into the mask of his face.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Few Notes Before the NBA Finals Begin

Thank God, no more EJ, Shaq, Charles, and Kenny blather. Weren't they becoming predictable, boring, and silly? For the finals, we'll be able to listen to basketball talk, possible strategies, match-ups, personel evaluations, etc, important stuff, that the above mentioned TNT foursome felt was irrelevant.

My prediction: The Thunder in six. Reason? The Thunder is too deep at all positions. The odds favor the Thunder bench out producing the Heat's bench. Any caveats? Yes, if Mario Chalmers can have an exceptional series, shooting and defending, the Heat have a chance.

Basketball    by Louis Jenkins

A huge summer afternoon with no sign of rain.... Elm trees
in the farmyard bend and creak in the wind. The leaves are
dry and gray. In the driveway a boy shoots a bastetball at a
goal above the garage door. Wind makes shooting difficult
and time after time he chases the loose ball. He shoots, re-
bounds, turns, shoots....on into the afernoon. In the silence
between the gust of wind the only sounds are the thump of
the ball on the ground and the rattle of the bare steel rim of
the goal. The gate bangs in the wind, the dog in the yard yawns,
stretcthes and goes back to sleep. A film of dust covers the
water in the trough. Great clouds of dust rise from open fields
that stretch thousand miles beyond the horizon.

Monday, June 4, 2012

On Recent Sporting News and etc

Dear Readers, were you as thoroughly disgusted with the numbers of commercials that interrupted Sunday's Memorial PGA golf finals as I was? One of the nicest things about watching golf on TV is it's peaceful transitions from the T to fareway to green with few interruption except for the calm and subdued voices of the commentators.

I have recently become a fan of golf playing and watching coinciding with my first feeble attempts at this frustrating sport, and I take back anything I ever said about golf not being a sport. I don't think I have ever seen a golf shot as difficult as the one Tiger made on the 16th to cinch his lead. Let's hope Tiger has finally conquered his demons and will go on to surpass Sam Snead's record of 82 PGA tournament wins. What a great athlete he is.

Speaking of sports commentators. What in the world does Shaq add to the EJ, Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley triumvirate? Sir Charles is far funnier and Kenny more knowledgeable. All I can tell that Shaq does is add to the now interminable guffaws and confusion that prior to Shaq's arrival was manageable and endurable. I haven't heard one interesting insight into the game of basketball yet from Shaq. And all the back and forth between him and Charles is finally annoying and distracting. Adios Shaq and EJ. I'm tuning in to ESPN's Magic, Barry show for real basketball talk.

Despite my desire to see the "old guys" the Celts and Spurs win, I'm fascinated by a Heat Thunder match up. I'll be pulling for the Thunder. I like the steady and smart way they drafted and traded their way to a championship team. Mind you, I'm not against a bunch of good players getting together to play ball, but it's a bit like stacking the deck, isn't it like those playground days when all the best players chose each other so they could kick everybody else's butt and stay on the court.

Lots of ball players heading to the big game in the sky recently: Jack Twyman and Orlando Woolridge. To them I dedicate this poem. Not the most uplifting, but very interesting.

The Advantages of Being a World Class Athlete  by  Anthony Lacavaro

In the end when the doctors circle around
Like doctors, they can find nothing wrong,

A perfect body they murmur over
And over like a prehistoric discovery,

Nothing wrong, nothing wrong except it's dead.
There will be no reason for this tragedy

Which catapults your death into the world
Of public myth: were you too good

for us, did they take you, or were you not
Of this earth to begin with and just returned.

The results of the tests say nothing about it,
Though one of the doctors speaking

Out of turn, will say softly,
"One foot appears to be larger than the other."

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Warrior's New Arena

In response to Monte Poole's article on Thursday May 24, 2012, in the Mercury News, Oakland Tribune, and Sacramento Bee, "In the NBA, it's not location, location, location,"  I wrote the following response and sent it to the sport's editor of the Oakland Tribune, for whom Poole works.

No one believes and certainly not the Warrior's administration that a new arena will "magically" provide a winning team. Such an assertion is silly. Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, the new owners of the Golden State Warriors, simply see an opportunity to create a state of the art structure to house the winning team they are trying diligently to assemble (witness the gutsy trade of Monte Elis.) They have that right. They have no hidden agendas. From the start, the new owners have been completely transparent about their goals.

When I played for the Warriors, our jerseys read San Francisco. When Franklin Mieuli, the owner, changed the name to Golden State and moved to Oakland, there was little hue and cry over the move. San Francisco, peninsula, and Marin County Warrior fans jumped in their cars and drove to the East Bay to support their team. (The Trip has become easier these days with BART.) I'm certain Warrior fans from the East Bay will show the same good sense and loyalty. (Bart Travels west as well as east.) We are all the Golden State Warriors.

For more on the subject go to my blog: Meschery's Musings of Sport, Literature, and


Here's the MORE:

I wanted to keep my letter to the editor respectful, so I didn't respond to Poole's use of the word "superficial image" when talking about San Francisco. There's nothing superficial about my home town. We grew up there, went to elementary schools and high schools there, rode on its Muni. buses, and played in the city's streets and gyms. As for the "world class restaurants" in San Francisco Poole refers to, as if that is one of the reasons the new owners are making the move to San Francisco, sure, there are great restaurants in my city, but how many basketball fans will be going to those gourmet restaurants prior to a game? Come on, Poole! It's pizza and dogs before hoops. As for "profiteering off new gear," the owners have already stated they're not changing the name of the team.

I'm surprised by all the whining going on. This is not at all like the Sonics leaving for OKC or the 49ers leaving their fans behind for San Jose. Or the poor Sacramento Kings fans who will probably lose their team to some city. If it's Seattle, let's hear it for irony.

Another writer, Marcus Thompson II's, recently wrote that the Oakland fans have been "jilted". As in,
at the alter? Not sure the metaphor works, dude. Oracle Arena and the Warriors have had a 46 year old marriage. And that's where the extended metaphor should end.

Thompson's lame whine that it was the way the owners announced their intention to move to San Francisco and not the move itself that was wrong doesn't wash. Joe Lacob and Peter Guber put together a splendid coming out party with the Bay Bridge in the background, the bridge as a reminder that all the communities of the Bay Area are connected, such a connection that most people in the Bay Area historically understand.

Let's get real. Oakland had no problem when Franklin Mieuli moved the San Francisco Warriors to Oakland's new state of the art Oracle Arena. Well, maybe they whined a little, but in the end they got in their cars and drove to Oakland to support their team.

While this talk of a new arena is swirling about us, the war in Afghanistan is still going on and baseball season continues its journey to October.

Baseball    by Linda Pastan

When you tried to tell me
baseball was a metaphor

for life: the long, dusty travail
around the bases, for instance,

to try to go home again;
the Sacrifice for which you win

approval but not applause;
the way the light closes down

in the last days of the season -
I didn't believe you.

It's just a way of passing
the time, I said.

And you said: that's it.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Grumpy Old English Teacher

I've been told that professional athletes can't help it if they speak the English language improperly; it's the way they've been raised. Because I was an English teacher for twenty-one years, this drives me crazy. So, at the risk of sounding elitist, I suggest that the vast majority of people no matter their culture, race, or economic condition can learn, if they want to, the rules for basic English grammar. They can learn that double negatives such as a recent quote by LeBron James, "I'm no monster; this ain't no horror movie. I'm not trying to scare nobody," is a double negative and flat wrong. So is "Me and coach have been together for nine years..." as spoken recently by D Wade improper grammar. It should be coach and I. James and Wade are athletic super models for a ton of youth and constantly on radio and television. James has recently sponsored a wonderful t.v. ad promoting school attendance, which I vigorously applaud, but he could walk his talk more by putting in a little time studying English. It is really not that hard, I promise.

Track and Field doesn't get nearly as much publicity as the "Big Three" sports. So, bravo to the University of Oregon's Women's Track Team for winning the Pac 12 title and to all other winning track and field programs. The Summer Olympics are coming. Your brief time to shine is almost here. Perhaps the interminably long NBA season will be over by then, while the interminably long baseball season continues on, followed by the interminably long football season.

What ever happened to the first round of the NBA Chmpionship being a five game series? Ah, I forgot about the interminably long need for more $.

Pole Vaulter   by  David Allan Evans

The approach to the bar
is everything

unless I have counted
my steps     hit my markers
feel up to it     I refuse
to follow through
I am committed to beginnings
or to nothing

planting the pole
at runway's end
jolts me to my task
out of sprinting
I take off     kicking in
and up    my whole weight
trying the frailty
of fiberglass

never forcing myself
trusting it is right
to be taken to the end
of tension    poised for
the powerful thrust to
fly me beyond expectation

near the peak
I roll my thighs inward
arch my back    clearing
as much of the bar as I can
(know the best jump
can be cancelled
by a careless elbow)

and open my hands.


Friday, May 18, 2012

2012 NBA Playoffs, Early Rounds

Two All-Stars doesn't make a team. This is the hard lesson the Miami Heat is learning. Bosh went down with an injury, and guess what, the coaching staff is struggling to figure out how to fill the void. It should have been obvious to them from the get-go. A team means five starters who matter, not two starters and three players who don't matter, a bench that has no collective umph because they too know they don't matter. All offense goes through D Wade and James. They remaining trio and the bench are players of last resort. When the Heat added Battier and a healthy Miller, I felt at the time, they had added enough pieces to take them to the Eastern finals and perhaps win it, even with a healthy Chicago Bulls. But the Heat coaching screwed up big-time. The didn't create A TEAM. Miller, Battier, Haslam, and Jones have been relegated to after-thoughts. No championship for the Heat. The Indiana Pacers, A TEAM, will beat them. Then another TEAM, the Boston Celtics will beat the Pacers, but many kudos to the Pacers; they play bball they way it should be played, unselfishly.

In the West the best TEAM, the San Antonio Spurs, will play the Celtics for the NBA Championship.

One of the great TEAMS to win the NBA Championship was the New York Knicks of Willis Reed fame. I wrote this poem for one of the penultimate team players, Bill Bradley

Bill Bradley   by Tom Meschery

The sameness of your jumpshot
was your secret. I know
that now. Age has taught me
how repetition wears a person down.
Newspapers wrote about your habits
shooting hundreds of shots
from exactly the same place
on the court, top of the key,
free-throw line extended until
you knew those spots by heart.
I had a coach who called it
muscle memory: what you must do
to be great. Today, that dedication
wears me out.I"d rather think
of Dick Barnett, your teammate,
who never kicked back the same
crazy jumper twice, and one time
from half court, the moment
the ball left his hand, turned
to one of those recorders of the game,
keeper of the clock and said,
"Baby, we are in oo-ver-time."

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

NBA Playoffs

Is anyone concerned about how many no call blocks and strips there are during a game? Are players that talented these days that they can slap the ball cleanly out of an opponent's hands without whacking the wrist? (I understand hand is part of the ball, but the wrist isn't, nor the forearm.) Ah, well, it is the playoffs. Still, these no calls bother me the most when a player struggles mightily to grab an offensive rebound (not an easy thing to do) then goes up and an opponent slaps the ball (quesionable) the wrist (very likely) and forearm (also likely) while body slamming him to the floor. Offensive rebounders unite!  You're losing points on the line. Do you know that one offensive rebound could be valued at six points, even as high as 8? If you ask me, I'll tell you.

What I love about the San Antonio Spurs is their dedication to teamwork on both ends of the court. I don't know if the Spurs will win the championship, but there chances the way they're playing looks good. Miami should win the East, and OKC and the Spurs should play off for the West.

My pick for NBA Champs is the San Antonio Spurs.

Isn't it great St. Mary's College fans that Patty Mills has found a home in San Antonio? The Galloping Gael Aussie has loads of talent and being mentored by Tony Parker will be a plus.

Was anybody puzzled during the NFL draft, that many of the college players were sporting huge diamond studded wrist watches. Unless those were zircons, were talking big money. Amateurs? Not really. The NCAA better figure out a better definition for college athletes.

Nothing to do with sports, but was anybody troubled by Charlie Sheen's ex getting $55,000 per month to raise her children? What does it cost the rich - that includes professional athletes - to raise their children?

Really scary message printed in the inside of football helmets; we're talking about the manufacturers of helmets warning us not to play the game because it's too dangerous.

Why is this college basketball draft being described as a good year? I can't see a franchise player (ie: a starter who makes a difference) in the whole bunch.

Will Tyreke Evans ever learn to shoot a consistent jump shot?

Will Steph Curry ever have an injury free year?

How about this trade? Jeremy Lin for Steve Nash. (Nash lives off season in the Big Apple) Suns get youth, the Knicks get a shot at a championship.

How is it that Shaq can have an EdD and still use double negatives when he speaks?

How to Play Night Baseball   by Jnathan Holden

A pasture is best, freshly
mown so that by the time a grounder's
plowed through all that chewed, spit-out
grass to reach  you, the ball
will be bruised with green kisses. Start
in the evening.Come
with a bad sunburn and smelling of chlorine,
water still crackling in your ears.
Play until the ball is khaki -
the girls' bare arms in the bleachers are pale,
and heat lightning jumps in the west. Play
until you can only see pop-ups,
and routine grounders get lost in
the sweet grass for extra bases.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Congrats to Shaq

This morning's sporting page carried a short announcement that Shaquille O'Neil has received an EdD doctorate in education, a 54 credit hours degree specifically in the area of Organizational Learning and Leadership. Shaq completed his undergraduate degree at LSU and later earned an MBA. Right on! As an NBA player who devoted his post basketball life to education, I applaud Shaq's interest in higher learning. I remember somewhere hearing that Shaq is also an honorary sheriff, and was considering going into law enforcement. Although his 7 foot body and huge bulk might have helped to lower the crime rate in Florida, I'm delighted Shaq chose to go forward in education.

However, I was sorry to read that the big man is not going to use that advanced degree and his expertise to improve the lives of our young people, that is, to actually go into the field of education and join teachers and administrators in the trenches. These days young people need models desperately, and well educated professional athletes are a group of men and women who could provide such models. Can you imagine the impact Shaq would have if he taught in a high school where there were lots of at-risk type students? Imagine O'Neil walking down the halls towering over the students, all of them looking up at him, probably smiling, laughing, and joking with him. Consider what a leg up he would have dispensing advice to students who need to hear sound advice. Shaq and any other retired pro athlete would have to take monumental pay cuts, but certainly guys like Shaq don't need more money. It's time for the great stars to give back to the communities that nurtured and idolized them. It's time for them to get into the hands-on business of helping youth. Having foundations are worthy efforts, but not enough.

When I was a teen in San Francisco my buddies and I used to play a lot of pool. I've always believed playing pool helped me with depth perception, which in turn helped me shooting baskets. But I might have been rationalizing because I enjoyed hanging out in pool halls, leaning on cue sticks, acting  tough, and occasionaly sneaking a cigarette and a slug of beer with adults who didn't care that I was underage.

Here's a poem for Pool and my short life in pool halls.

Pool is a Godless Sport  by  James Haug

I like the articulate crack
the cue ball makes
on impact, how it drops
what it's after and backspins back,
the chalk skids
on its bald surface, blue
and hard as water
or your eyes, keen straight
down the line of the poolstick,
how the clogged air of lies
and smoke clears as you circle
the table, the next shot
plump on the rail, a duck.
You're on a roll, playing
collisions of intent and dumb luck.
We don't talk as I gather
a new game in the rack;
no one's put down quarters.
We could shoot hours here.
The bartender yawns and looks on,
pinball bangs a free ball.
We play off the angles, combinations,
the felt before each break
fresh as a promise,
and let the rolling goemetry
plot our next move.

Friday, April 27, 2012

On Metta Non Peace and etc

   As a player who threw his share of elbows and wound up in a number of fights in my ten year NBA career, the most interesting and futile being the one I against Wilt Chamberlain, I was, none-the-less, sickened by Ron Artest's (Let's no longer call him Peace) vicious elbow to the head of James Hardin, a blow that seemed entirely random and unnecessary.
    However, as much as I found such brutality repulsive, I found myself, as I watched ad infinatum replays of the incident, becoming more and more offended by the passivity of the Oklahoma Thunder players immediately following the attack.
   Okay, Meschery, take a deep breath and stop pretending it's the Sixites, a time in the NBA in which players would have flown to the defense of their fallen teammate, unlike the Thunder who merely stood around, glaring and exhaling a lot of hot air.
   Perhaps today's players are a different breed. Perhaps this is a different league, a kinder gentler one. Perhaps back in our day, we didn't have that much to lose financially that it didn't matter if we swung a punch or two to defend a fallen teammate, or perhaps the League understood the need for a player or players acting in self-defense, or perhaps we lived by a different code of honor?
   I know in my heart that if anyone had hit me the way Artest brutally and intentionally hit Harden, our Warrior bench would have cleared to come to my defense, but by then it would have been too late because Al Attles would have torn the dude's head off. After such dust cleared, I'm not sure what action the League back then would have taken. Probably not much. That's the way it was; we took care of our own.
    As I am writing this, I am already apologizing to mothers and fathers of future athletes. There is so much violence in the world, that it is difficult to justify it in sports. And I know it is difficult to pick and chose which act of violence needs retribution, but all one has to do is look at replays of the Artest elbow, the way it was maliciously aimed and the frightening look on Artest's face to know that the players on the Thunder needed to do more. It seems that the "more" I'm suggesting, the Old Testament Eye for an Eye solution, is impossible in today's game, but it would sure have been satisfying to teach that bully a lesson.
   Harden claims he is feeling fine. Perhaps, perhaps not. We will see once the playoffs begin. And I hope he doesn't take another blow to the head which could happen inadvertently as basketball is, indeed, a contact sport.
    The commissioner of the NBA wagged a Stern finger and suspended Artest for seven games. Only seven games for an act that could have ended Hardin's career? I do not believe a longer suspension will solve Artest's brand of misdirected explosive violence, but suspending him from the playoffs might limit the damage he could inflict on other unsuspecting players. The playoffs are a pumped up time, a dangerous time to test Artest's ability to control himself.
   I do not believe this is a kinder and gentler time in history nor is it, in my opinion, a kinder and gentler time in sports.
   Let's not forget Andrew Bynum's cowardly attack on little JJ Barea and the recent headhunting scandal going on in the NFL. So as I write about violence, I offer this terrifying poem by the great American poet James Wright

Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio

In the Shreve High Football stadium,
I think of Polacks nursing long beers in Tiltonsville,
And gray faces of Negroes in the blast furnace at Benwood,
And the ruptured night watchman of Wheeling Steel,
Dreaming of heroes.

All the proud fathers are ashamed to go home,
Their women cluck like starved pullets,
Dying for love.

Their sons grow suicidally beautiful
At the beginning of October,
And gallop terribly against each other's bodies.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Sacramento Kings' Crisis

Now that my beloved Warriors are in the hands of financially stable, energetic, and committed owners, Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, I turn my attention to the desperate condition of the Sacramento Kings, the team that represents the city in which I live. Financially stable, energetic, and committed are not adjectives that can be used to describe the Kings' owners, the Maloof brothers. I can think of more appropriate adjectives. Slimy comes to mind. And devious. How  about manipulative?

Harsh? I don't believe so. Here's why. It seems clear to me and increasingly clear to the Sacramento public, as it must to all the parties concerned regarding the recently crafted agreement to build a new arena, that the Maloofs never intended to honor their handshake deal with the City of Sacramento, the NBA, and AIG.

Why, then, did the Maloof brothers return to Sacramento and declare there were no deal breakers? The terms were all spelled out in black and white. Do they have a reading problem? Why did they stand in the center court of Power Balance arena with their hands raised, tears in their eyes, and proclaim victory? Do they have an honesty problem? Why on that same Power Balance court did they hug Mayor Kevin Johnson knowing full well that they had no intention of paying $3.6 million dollars in predevelopment costs, (and other costs) that their handshake deal called for?

The answer is simple. They are belly-crawling around for a better deal, and in the Maloof swamp its okay to mislead as long as it benefits the Maloof family. I can not prove it, nor can anyone else, but I am convinced the brothers planned this manipulation from the get-go. They are gambling (They are gamblers, are they not?) that with so much time, energy, and reputation committed to the arena project, the NBA, the City, and AIG will cave in to their demands. I suspect that the Maloofs feel they are in control. Worse comes to worse, they can sell the team, and from what I've read there seems to be a number of takers, especially now that Sacramento and the NBA are committed to a new arena.

(New arena = new ownership interest = higher profits from sale of team for the Maloofs; No new arena = no new ownership interest = financial trouble for the Maloofs. GET IT?)

Even if they don't sell the team - and I'm convinced this is what their plan is - if their bluff works they will wind up with their team in a better financial position and a new arena at a lower cost to them. And they can continue to sit courtside and play big time NBA owners.

We're talking manipulation at the highest level. We're talking about David Stern of the NBA and Mayor Kevin Johnson like laundry being hung out to dry.

My only hope is that David Stern turns his well-documented fury on the Maloofs, in which case the City of Sacramento might have a chance of retaining their beloved Kings and building a new arena in which to watch them. And Kevin Johnson might be more than a one term mayor.

Although I'm not a great baseball fan, I am a fan of baseball poems. Here's one oldie but goodie:

Hits and Runs    by Carl Sandburg

I remember the Chillicothe ballplayers grappling the Rock
         Island ball players in a sixteen-inning game ended by

And the shoulders of the Chillicothe players were a red smoke
         against the sundown and the shoulders of the Rock
         island players were a yellow smoke against the sun-

And the umpire's voice was hoarse calling balls and strikes
         and outs, and the umpire's throat fought in the
         dust for a song.