meta name=”robots” content=”index, follow” Meschery's Musings of Sports, Literature, and Life Meschery's Musings on Sports, Literature and Life: 2016-06-12

What my musings are all about...

Blogging might well be the 21st century's form of journaling. As a writing teacher, I have always advised my students to keep a daily journal as a way of organizing their thoughts for future writing projects, a discipline I have unfortunately never consistently practiced myself. By blogging, I might finally be able to follow my own good advice.

The difference between journaling and blogging is that the blogger opens his or her writing to the public, something journal- writers are usually reluctant to do. I am not so reticent.

The trick for me will be to avoid cluttering the internet with more blather, something none of us need more of. If I stick to subjects I know: sports and literature, I believe I can avoid that pitfall. I can't promise that I'll not stray from time to time to comment on ancillary subjects, but I will make every attempt to be interesting and perhaps even insightful.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

It's Nut Cutting Time

Game 7 of the NBA Championship tomorrow. Both teams should be pumped and ready to go. The Warriors, surprisingly, are at a disadvantage with Andrew Bogut out and Andre Igudala suffering back pain and definitely not at his best. There ar only two answers for those two problems: Festus Ezeli and Harrison Barnes. Festus must guard the hell out of Tristan Thompson, and Harrison has to step up and play a strong all-around game. As a free agent, Harrison is asking the Warriors for big money; he must prove he's worth it. I've been in his corner since that fabulous power drive of his in his rookie year in the playoffs against the San Antonio Spurs. Wow, what potential, I thought. Now, I think that it's time for potential to become realized.

On the subject of refereeing which is the reason for league fines levied against Steve Kerr and Stephan Curry, there must be parity. If the refs are going to call "ticky-tacky" fouls against Curry, they must call LeBron for charging fouls when he bulls his way over the chests of players trying to guard him. LeBron is one of the strongest players, pound for pound, that ever played in this league. He does not need an advantage. Right now, the refereeing provides him with a distinct advantage.

Were it possible to influence the outcome of NBA games,the one sure way to do it would be through the calls referees make or not make. In today's game in which refereeing is a life's career, this is highly improbable, but not impossible. So here's a message to the refs for Sunday: it's the finals, no itsibitsy, teeny weeny touch fouls. Let the  players determine the outcome of the game. Keep the game under control and call the fouls even-handed. LeBron is not a KING. You do not have to bow down before his throne.

Although the following poem is about baseball, and in context might be considered a mixed metaphor, I think it qualifies as a message for all sports. 

Pastime    by Emilio De Grazia

A girl, nine years of wonder
Still on her face,
Stands directly on the bag at third
Turning amazed fingers along the wrinkles 
O my old leather mitt.
It is the bottom of the ninth
And everywhere in the world
The bases are loaded. 

It is the bottom of the ninth at Oracle tomorrow. All the Dubs have to do is bring her home.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Stand Up For Draymond

I'm disappointed that all of the sports reporters and talking heads, except for Charles Barkley (Go Charles!) have not come to the defense of Draymond Green. They have not even bothered to look carefully at LeBron's actions prior to the "so-called punch" that caused Draymond the suspension. Did they not see LeBron, using his left arm, throw Draymond to the floor? Did they not see LeBron, then, do a step-over-crotch-in-face-disrespectful move over and on top of Draymond's head, brushing Dray's head with his knee? Didn't see that? Really? Have you no eyes to see? Shakespeare is appropriate here.

Draymond swung at that insult, an insult that LeBron clearly knew was an insult. He's lying if he says he doesn't know. It's an insult that, had it happened on a playground, would have resulted in a fight. LeBron knew Draymond would react. The League, unfortunately, didn't.

By refusing to acknowledge that LeBron had provoked Draymond.and by not assessing LeBron a Flagrant 1 for taunting, the NBA demonstrated its lack of understanding of the sport it's supposed to govern.

Basketball has a culture. It is the quintessential American sport. It may have been born in a YMCA gym, but it was raised and nurtured on inner-city playgrounds. The League may think it's taking the High Road by suspending Draymond, but in my opinion, all it's doing is showing how far it has removed itself from the game's origins.

If it had been me instead of Draymond, I would have been off the floor and punching King James right in his pretentious jaw. Instead of being critical of LeBron, most of the criticism has been against Draymond. That's too damn bad. I thought Draymond showed amazing restraint.

If this is a make-up call for the Draymond's OKC step-back-jumper-kick that struck Adams in the groin, then I guess it is what it is. Make-up calls have unfortunately been a part of the NBA for as long as I've been a part of the sport. We've all had to live with them, and Draymond will have to live with it too. It's a shame.

A short poem in closing from my collection, Sweat: New and Selected Poems About Sports. Given the subject of this blog, I believe it resonates.


I didn't trust myself. Imagine
losing a match by one stroke
on the eighteenth green, his putt
longer than mine. He sinks it
for a birdie and I sink mine
for par, and I have my putter
in my hand and a bad temper
and he is smiling at me.
You understand, smiling.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

What More Is There to Say about Setph Curry?

It's hard to come up with accolades for Stephan Curry that haven't been said before in one form or another. One that continues to surface is the notion that Curry has reinvented the game of professional basketball, perhaps all of basketball. But has he? By himself, hmm? Put Curry on a different team, say Chicago or Orlando - both good teams - but without the philosophy of movement, the selflessness, the teamwork of the Warriors, would Curry still have, as they say, reinvented the game?

This is the way I see Stephan Curry: He is one artist, a superb one and undoubtedly the principal representative, of  a movement, like Impressionism or Symbolism. In the case of Impressionism, Curry would be Edouard Manet, and in the case of Symbolism, he'd be Odion Redon. Was it the artist or the movement that was the transcendent force? It is my belief that, until these Warriors, there's only been one other team that reinvented the game, and that was the Auerbach Boston Celtics. So ask yourself, was it Russell or the Celts that changed the way basketball would be played in the future?

Don't get me wrong, I swoon over paintings by Manet and Redon as I do watching Curry's sweet, high, and long-distance jump shots.

On to another subject. Are you kidding me, LeBron James, strong as a bull, fast as a speeding bullet, complaining he's not getting calls when he drives the paint. OMG! When do the refs ever call HIM driving right over a player, knocking him to the ground, stepping over him and scoring? You can't have it both ways, your highness. Didn't figure you to be a whiner. By the way, what was that throw-down of Draymond Green and crotch-step-over (absolutely intentional) all about? Guess Draymond doesn't show you the respect you feel you deserve, is that it?

Whatever our beliefs, shouldn't we, as athletes, give thanks, either as a meditation or as a prayer, for our bodies and our skills?

Prayer   by Henry Charles Beeching

God who created me
   Nimble and light of limb,
In three elements free,
   To run, to ride, to swim:
Not when the sense is dim,
   But now from the heart of joy,
I would remember Him:
   Take the thanks of a boy.