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

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, May 18, 2017

From Athens to the Warriors

Back from a fabulous vacation to Greece - Athens and the Cyclades, drawing, writing poetry. Couldn't have been better. The only drawback was getting ongoing news about my Dubs. I wasn't that worried. I didn't believe the Blazers or the Jazz were going to be a problem, so I got my Parthenon fix, which included along with the historical sights, some of the best bread I've had since the non Monsanto conspiracy to GMO our wheat started in the USA. Imagine locally baked bread with a real taste. I gained 10 pounds. Well, it was not entirely the fault of the bread. The Greeks have a few tasty brews. Athos was my favorite. If my old beer drinking buddy and nemesis from the NCAA Cal Bear Championship basketball team is reading this, let's order a couple of cases.

Back to the Warriors. Curry and Durant shirts are on sale big time on the streets of Athens. More than the Greek Freak's jerseys, which I found curious and slightly traitorous. I'm surprised there aren't more Greek NBA players as Greek men appear to me to be naturally tall. 

Last night, still exhausted from 30 hours in transit from Athens to San Francisco, I watched the Warriors destroy the Spurs. Luckily the Dubs were so far ahead that I could close my eyes before the game was over, which it was by half time. I woke up this morning reasonably refreshed. It was fun to get back to a US sports page. I particularly enjoyed reading Ron Kroichick in the Chronicle. Great article, but I'd like to amend his ending: "So savor the show. It won't last forever." He was talking about the Warriors, but particularly about how the Warriors' brain trust put the team together, drafting smart, taking trading risks, being patient, finding good coaches and GM's. So, my question to Ron is why does it have to end. The ownership is not going anywhere and as long as they're there, the smarts remain solidly in place.

Yes, the names on the backs of the jerseys will change. Sadly, even Steph Curry will age and retire. New numbers from this team will wind up in the rafters, looking down on new players. Will any future Warrior ever be as good as Curry? In some ways, maybe. There will never be as good a shooter. And perhaps there will never be as versatile a player as Draymond Green. But as long as the ownership stays the same, I have no doubt the Golden State Warriors will continue to field championship teams.

Here's a haiku I wrote in Greece

Curry and Durant
Jerseys for sale in Athens
Below the Parthenon



Sunday, April 9, 2017

Odds and Ends

If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, and swims like a duck, it's a damn duck. If a golf club has two female members, and a two black members and is an invitations only membership, and not making any plans to add any more women and people of color, it's a racist and misogynist golf club. Yeah I'm talking about the Augusta National Golf Club: 99% of membership white males. And, really, up to the turn of the century all caddies had to be black? Yes'm masta. What is up with white guys? I'm a white guy and I'm getting really ashamed of my race.  So, I wonder why the golfers over the years haven't brought any real pressure to bear on Augusta? Probably because the vast majority are white. Hey, I wonder are there any Asian members? Am I being sarcastic? You bet.

I'm pulling for Sergio at the Masters. As great a golfer as he is and no majors??? I'll settle for Ricky
Fowler. You gotta love his orange Oklahoma State trousers. Watch out for Rose. The Englishman is so damn steady. 

Baseball season is on its way. Here's an off the wall and little known book of collected stories about baseball called KILL THE AMPAYA!  The Best Latin American Baseball Fiction . Edited and translated by Dick Cluster. Terrific fun read.

Watched Kevin Durant's first game back after injury. Looks like KD will be ready to be the old KD in time for the playoffs. It's going to be real interesting to see how Coach Kerr adjusts his rotations. My wife and I are going to be traveling in Greece during the first round, so I'll have to find a taverna with a TV, but then I might become distracted by a glass of ouzo and a plate of dolmas. Good luck, Dubs!

Teams in the NBA other than the Big Boys that will be better next year, not in any particular order:

1) I like the Suns's young players to mature and become competitive. Booker and Chriss,
     and Bender with a summer to improve.  Lem incrementally better. High energy wide body
     in Williams. One more solid draft choice away, but could surprise even without one.    

2) Portland Blazers. They've finally got a big who can score and protect the paint and a summer to
    find a little more muscle and an effective reserve point guard. 

3) I have to give the Timberwolves some love. They just have too many athletic and talented players
    to continue the status quo. If they can take Thibidaux's gruff personality and accept that they must
    play D for 4 quarters, they're bound to be be contenders for a playoff spot.

4) I'm giving a nod to the Sacramento Kings. A summer of improvement for their young core: Cauley
     Stein, Hield, Labisierre, Richardson, and Papagiannos. They still need a bona fide point guard,
     but even if they have to go with the steady if not brilliant Collison, they should be improved.

5) I don't see much improvement in the East, but will take a chance on Washington Wizards. With
     addition of Bogdanovich to stretch the floor. With a training camp, he might be the difference
     maker for a roster that contains lots of talent. Sometimes it only takes one addition.

6) Philly, but only if Embid comes back healthy and can stay healthy. He is indeed a stud.

Why I Never Played Golf    by Tom Meschery

I din'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.


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Raiders to Vegas and etc

Our talented sports writer Ailene Voisin in this morning's Sacramento Bee said it succincly, but not as colorffully as I'm about to do: Mark Davis is an ungrateful shithead. Oaklanders should bycott all the games next football season. Do not put one dollar in the asshole's pocket. And, Oakland should sue to keep the Raider name. The Vegas team should be renamed the Los Vegas Dice? Or how about the Los Vegas Strippers? Or how about Los Vegas Hookers? One needs to remember that Los Vegas was built on water they stole from California.

Alas, Mark Orr has left his post as Athletic Director of Saint Mary's College. He will be greatly missed, having done a fabulous job in his nine years at my alma mater. He becomes the AD at Sacramento State University. The school could not have found a better man for the job. You Sacramentans can count on great days ahead for Hornets' sports. First predication: in one year, Mark will announce he has put together the financing of a new multi-purpose arena to house basketball and other sports and events.

UConn Women's basketball team routed the Oregon Duckies. My wife, a Duck grad, is in mourning. It was inevitable. The Lady Huskies are, as usual, awesome. What Gene Auriama is accomplishing with his team, with each win, is making sports history. It needs to be pointed out, and not on the inner pages of the sports' section, that this record win streak is in the same class as the great Bill Russell Celtics, and Wilt Chamberlain's 100 point game.

I agree with this morning's observation by Sac Bee's Matt Arrows that Kap, prior to his protest, was an injured player. Is he being blackballed? In this awful political climate with so many of the NFL's owner's conservatives, it's possible, but unlikely. Kap has a lot of football proving to do before teams are going open their pocket books. Let me say, on Kap's behalf, he opens up his pocketbook to support causes he believes in. In this regard, the man walks his talk. At some point in his career, the next team or the team after that, baring injuries, Kap will become an elite QB. Go Kap!

Love the Jeanie and Janie LA Lakers' show. A tough minded female boss, why not? Is Magic the right person? Not a good coach, but maybe a good consultant.

The Sacramento Kings have won two close game against two playoff teams with a team of youngsters and arguably vet non-starteers (on other teams). The youngsters are Buddy Hield, Willy Cauley Stein, Skal Labisiere, and George Papagiannis. One the bench, recovering from injuries, is Malachi Richardson. I do not mean to demean the other guys. They are playing tough and as a team and having fun and listening to their coach. They compete. Bravo.

On to the LIFE section of my Blog: Donald Trump, pay attention. I'm a Russian immigrant. Our family came to the United States after the Second World War. I became an American citizen, gratefully, at the age of sixteen. I love my adopted country. My parents loved their country, Russia, until the Bolsheviks (Communists) took over after the revolution of 1917. Most of my parents' family, my cousins and Granndpa and other kin, were executed by the Communists. Vladimir Putin is a Communist and an ex KGB agent. If you think he suddenly became a believer in democracy, I'd like to sell you the Golden Gate Bridge. If you and your minions are working with this Communist sonavabitch, in any shape or form, you are TRAITORS to the United States of America and should be imprisoned. 

Before ski season ends, here's a small poem I've always gotten a chuckle over.

Winter Trees  by Conrad Diekmann

I think that I shall never ski
Again against so stout a tree.

A tree whose rugged bark is pressed
In bas-relief upon my chest.

A tree that with bacchantic air
Wears ski poles in its tangle hair.

I've learned my lesson: Fools like me
Should never try to shave a tree.





Monday, March 20, 2017

Democrats Need Draymond Green

The Democratic Party has got to stop being so weeny and expose the Republicans for what the are: reactionary, frightened, homophobic, intellectually lazy, xenophobic, elitist, greedy, Putin puppet, lying white supremacists. Did I leave anything out? And if the Democratic Party doesn't have the gumption to stand up to the Trump crew, let me suggest that they take a crash course on toughness from Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors who has been playing David to Goliath his entire NBA career and winning.

Russell Westbrook has got to grow up. Doesn't he realize that if Kevin Durant was still on the Thunder, he (Westbrook) would have had no chance to surpass The Big O's triple-double NBA record. Zero chance! Westbrook should embrace Durant and thank him for helping him, by his absence, insure his induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

I read two marvelous articles in today's Chronicle Sporting Green. The first was a short history of the life of Zaza Pachulia of Georgia and the Golden State Warriors. It is a story of family togetherness, how his father and mother worked together to give their son a chance at basketball greatness. The second story was about Patrick McCaw, the rookie combo guard of the Warriors. It too is about family, specifically about how influential Patrick's father has been in his life as a model to emulate.
It has been the case since the Warriors new ownership of Joe Lacob and Peter Guber that the idea of the team as family has been stressed. It was the case back in my day under the ownership of our beloved Franklin Mieuli. Zaza and Patrick have been great additions to the Dubs family.

Perhaps I'm not the first, but I haven't read or heard it said anywhere else, the King's 2016 first round draft choice  George Papagiannis has a chance to turn into a fine NBA center. He is more athletic than critics think. He's got length and strength and toughness. He finishes at the rim. He has a nice jump hook. And like all European bigs, he can shoot from distance. Needs to work on his footwork and lateral movement this summer. And, don't forget, he is only 19 years old.

Recently, Skal Labisiere has been showing that he too was a good draft choice. He has the ability to be a solid power forward. Malachi Richardson, before he was injured, was coming along nicely as a two/three combo. Buddy Hield is the shooting guard the Kings have been looking for. Finally, Willy Cauley Stein, once he learns to control his tempo, has a chance to be an explosive interior force, either at the post or at the power forward. So, the Sacramento Kings' fans should not lament the absence of the gloomy talented, personality afflicted Cousins, and take a look at what they have in place - some damn good youngsters to build for the future. Young smart coach. Players having some fun. Things are looking up in River City.

And, Pleas, please, Management, don't go out and get a bunch of old worn out All Stars in free agency. Let's stay young. Let's grow our own All Stars.

I continue to be a huge Coach Pop fan. Here's a haiku I wrote for him. I think it says a lot about what it takes to be great at anything you do.

Pop

One thousand wins
    And one loss keeps you awake
Staring into the abyss.





Saturday, February 25, 2017

Duratnt is right about Shaq

Kevin Durant is right that Shaq is acting childishly for criticizing JaVale McGee, not once, but on a number of different occasion. So, what in the heck is the deal? Did McGee do something to Shaq that we don't know about? It would have to be some form of disrespect for Shaq to be so vindictive.
Because it is vindictive when you question a person's intelligence, when you continue to mock his performances. As Durant, JaVale's Warrior teammate, said, McGee has come to the Warriors and done everything they have asked of him. Durant twittered:"He (JaVale) only wants to be respected just like anybody else," Amen, Kevin.

I thought Shaq was a Ph.D? If that's the case, I guess it proves you don't have to be a sensitive and caring human being to earn one of those.

Let the young man alone, Shaq. Don't be such a bore. And, JaVale, you've answered back, so now leave it alone; let Shaq alone to embarrass himself.

On to a different subject. DeMarcus Cousins has stated for the press that Vlade Divac and owner Ranadive acted in a cowardly manner, first promising him he was not going to be traded, then trading him without any warning. I'm sure DeMarcus felt he was hoodwinked and, at first, I believed him. I have no particular confidence in King's management. But as Vlade explained in the newspaper this morning, he (Divac) and owner had little choice. They had shopped DeMarcus (the kid's agent must have known that) and found little interest. (No surprise, given the emotional instability of DeMarcus). According to Divac, the Pelicans deal came into play at the last minute as the trade deadline was about to expire, and they had to make a decision quickly.

That's the business end of the NBA and these kind of last minute deals have happened since the league began. Unless there is a written clause in a player's contract that states, he (the player) must be informed about being traded, (a la Carmelo) then management has no responsibility to do so. A GM and an owner have only one responsibility and that is to the team as a whole, to put together the best team, to provide the best entertainment for the community, one that is competitive with playoff possibilities.

DeMarcus' hurt feelings comes from his own insecurity, emotional instability, and lack of understanding of the business of sports. 

I was on the Warriors team when our owner Franklin Mieuli traded the single greatest force in NBA history, Wilt Chamberlain, to the Philadelphia 76ers. Did Wilt whine? He packed his bags, left, arrived in Philly and later lead the 76ers to the NBA Championship against, you guessed it, the Golden State Warriors.

The difference between Wilt's reaction and DeMarcus' is that Wilt was an adult, and DeMarcus is not. Not yet, at least. As I've said on numerous blogs: Grow up DeMarcus!

Spring Training. Can hot weather and hotdogs and cold suds be far behind? Lot's of baseball poetry for me to chose from. Here's a wonderful little poem, full of innocence.

How to Play Night Baseball    by  Jonathan 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 you 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.



Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Two Bottom Lines in Cousin's Trade & etc

Bottom Line #1: Will DeMarcus Cousins somehow changes his personality when he plays for the Pelicans, not just for this season, but for the foreseeable future? If he doesn't, he will poison the team. That's the bottom line. If he does wake up and grow up, the Pelicans will be a force in the NBA.

Bottom line #2: Will the Kings make the kind of smart basketball decisions that will indeed lead to a competitive NBA team. (That's all the Sacramento fans are yearning for.). I wish I felt a little more confidence in Divac and Ranadive. Still, I remain convinced that trading Boogie for an unnamed draft choice would have been better than trying to build a championship around a young man who is so out of control emotionally.

Lou Williams to the Rockets? How many 3 point shooters is enough? You'd think they'd tried to do something to shore up the paint.

Just a thought, Rose and Carmelo gone from the Knicks. Rose who dominates the ball, for primo point guard Ricky Rubio and a first round draft choice. Carmelo who dominates the ball for a first round draft choice. Carmelo gone clears cap space. Hey, I'm sounding like a GM.

Spring Training on. I wonder how many MLB players south of the boarder Trump would label terrorists and rapists. Just wondering.

Here's a baseball poem that I've kept since my days in the Iowa Writers Workshop. Michael Ryan, now one of America's premier poets, submitted it to one of the workshops for comments. I'll not include my marginal notes, which sound after all these years as not very helpful. If you don't know what a fungoe is, you've never lived in a big city.

Hitting Fungoes   by Michael Ryan

Hitting fungoes to a bunch
of kids who asked me
nicely, I'm afraid the hard
ball they gave me might
shatter the stained-glass
window of the church
across this abandoned lot.
I see it all now, in 
the moment the ball leaves
my hand before it smacks
the bat: we scatter
in every possible direction
but the pastor, sensing
a pervert, screams
to the cops to chase
the big one, and there 
I am trapped. I pull
my old Woodrow Wilson
Fellowship Letter out
of my worn suit pocket,
swing it wildly, but they
smell last night's sex
on my breath, condemn
me to jail for failure
itself. I swing without
thinking, the only way,
and the crack is the scream
of a hip-bone ripped
from its socket
on the rack. Not bad.
Not too deep, but nice
arching loft. One kid,
who runs faster than the others,
makes a spectacular 
diving catch & throws it back.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Boogie Trade Dissers Missing the Point

DeMarcus Cousins for Buddy Held plus a first round and second round draft pick? Doesn't look like value for value, does it? Rookie Buddy Held, a good shooting guard with the potential to be a great shooting guard vs the best low post center in the league, a two year All-Star, and an Olympic medal winner. So far this morning I've not read one sports blogger who isn't dissing this trade.

Not this blogger. I welcome the trade as the first step toward sanity and a chance (although a daunting one) to actually start building a cohesive and competitive team.

In New Orleans, Cousins may grow into an adult and that, of course, would be awesome for the Pelicans. However, I would not put money on it. In Sacramento, Cousins had zero chance of growing up. Ownership and management had already treated him with such kid gloves, his ego and emotional instability was out of control.

So, seeing this as a great trade for the Pelicans is missing the point vis-a-vis the Kings. Cousins, in his present state of being, was poisoning the court and the locker-room with his childish antics, his referee baiting, his dominating ego, and his gloomy disposition.

Granted, without The Boogie (a nickname he never lived up to with his lumbering up and down the court), there is not a whole hell of a lot of talent left on the Kings. I have high hopes for Willy Cauly Stein and reasonable expectation for Malachi Richardson's development into a solid NBA player.  Add Held at the two, and Collison at the one. After that, it's all up for grabs and will depend on the two first round draft picks, the talent of Bogdan Bogdonovic, if he is indeed a premier NBA caliber player. Rudy Gay might bring them another low first round or high second round draft choice. The big Greek rookie is a crap shoot, but he's more athletic than I thought in the past and he is 7'2" Labisierre, at this point looks awfully soft. As for the other vets on the Kings, they're up for grabs: to keep or not to keep for bench strength.

Let's not forget that without having to pay Cousins, the Kings have some bucks to go after free agents.

Let's not forget that as this team rebuilds, it does so with the best coach it has had since the team foolishly let Rick Adelman go.

So, let's see how things shake out before deciding if this trade was a loser for the Kings. Losing Cousins might be the start of the Kings wining.

I'm thinking that watching street lights going is more exciting than watching the NBA All Star Game. So, I've come up with a few suggestion for the future that will make the All-Star Game more exciting and more interesting: 1) Create a 4 point shooting line. 2) Create two 4x4, 5 point shooting blocks positioned where the half-court line meets the sideline. 3) Allow players to shoot free-throws from the top of the key for double points. 

Snow is falling on the Sierra. The ponds are frozen. Here's a fine winter poem.

The Skaters   by John Williams

Graceful and sure with youth, the skaters glide
Upon the frozen pond. Unending rings
Expand upon the ice, contract, divide,
Till motion seems the shape that movement brings,

And shape is constant in the moving blade.
Ignorant of the beauty they invent,
Confirmed in their hard strength, the youths evade
Their frail suspension in an element,

This frozen pond that glisters in the cold.
Through all the warming air they turn and spin,
And do not feel that they grow old
Above the fragile ice they scrape and thin.



Monday, February 13, 2017

This and Taht in Sports Monday 2/13/2017

After getting dinged with his 17th technical foul, DeMarcus Cousins stated, "It's obvious I can't be myself. Me playing how I play is what makes me the player that I am Obviously it's not acceptable, so I'm trying to find a way to, you know, do what these guys are asking me to do. . . "

So, how would the officials like for you to play, DeMarcus? How about not questioning them on every call. How about not waving your arms in disgust and embarrassing them. How about not smacking an opponent in the face (okay, last night's face slap was inadvertent, but the refs called it anyway).

Bottom line: how about not leading the league in technical fouls very year.
 
This is NOT about the officials. It is about you and your inability to control your emotions. You have an anger management problem. You will always have one, if you don't do something mature about it now when you're young. Otherwise, that anger will surface in other areas of your life. Ask any psychologist.

Finally, Grow Up.

Talk about anger management, I read that the N.Y. Knicks pulled off a PR coup. After the bad press of the Oakley/Dolan feud, the team allowed Latrelle Sprewell back into MSG from which he'd been banned for bad-mouthing the owner back in 2003. Sat right next to Dolan, smiling and waving to fans. This is the same one-time Warrior Sprewell who choked his Warrior coach. Got the "red-carpet" treatment. Kudos to the PR guys who thought that baby up.

At least Cousins hasn't choked a referee, But I'd worry if I were them.

One of the greatest moments in basketball history will be played out tonight when the Connecticut Lady Huskies go for their one hundredth straight victory. Did you get that sportswriters, ONE HUNDRED WINS WITHOUT A LOSS. Such scant attention is being paid to this seemingly impossible feat that one would believe 100 straight wins happens every day. This is HUGE. This is like Wilt's 100 point game. Can it possibly be that the Lady Huskies are getting the public relations snub because they are women? Could that be true in 2017? Yeah, I guess, since we elected a President who felt it was okay to grope women.

I can hear all the conservatives moaning, come on, Meschery, you can't blame Trump for everything. Oh, yes I can. When the President of our country treats women the way he has, ("I grope women because I can get away with it because I'm a star," B.S) you bet I can. A pronouncement of this kind has fall-out. And one of the fall-outs is it validates and perpetuates misogyny. 

As a country and as sports fans, we better get our butts in gear. Women's sports need to be covered better. Why not begin with this historic moment in sport's history. How about the front page of the sport's section tomorrow, win or lose, a full column?

Talk about Spring Training. Baseball season's approaching. Here's a baseball poem for all you diminishing baseball fans.

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 closed 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.
Yes.



Sunday, February 12, 2017

Loyalty in Sports? Really?

Where do sports fans get the idea about loyalty? There has never been, let me repeat, never been loyalty in sports. Not between owners and players, owners and their host cities, players and their owners, players and their teammates, and players and the cities they play for.

Owners have always moved their teams for the sake of the bottom line. (the facts are there on the Internet) Players, once they got their legal rights, jumped from one team to another at the siren call of more bucks. Back in 1972 when I was coaching the Carolina Cougars in the ABA, the Seattle Sonics signed away my star center, Jim McDaniels in mid season. The Sonics felt no disloyalty stealing from me, one of their ex-players who'd broken his butt for them, and McDaniels felt no remorse leaving behind his teammates, trying to make a playoff run. Personal example. There are hundreds more.

So here we are, 2016, watching OKC fans go ballistic over  Kenin Durant leaving a team he played his heart out for, for eight seasons, and I mean his heart out for. I've witnessed very few players that played with such passion, intelligence, and grit as KD. during his tenure with the Thunder. One might ask Thunder fans, quoting Shakespeare, "Have you no eyes to see?" KD. is a big-time-pro! And those soft ice cream signs, where did they come from? Those were made by OKC management and approved by management and ownership. Can there be any doubt of that? KD made the owner, a lot of money. How did he express his loyalty? Like a bush-leaguer.

Speaking of loyalty (and ethical behavior) I wonder if the owner of the Thunder felt any remorse, moving the Sonics from Seattle (which he said he'd never do when he bought the team) to Oklahoma City, his home town? No way.

All that should matter to fans and ownership is what an athlete does for his city, his team, and his ownership on the court in whatever time span it happens. Based on what he did for the Thunder, the fans, administration, and ownership should have given KD a standing ovation.

So, KD, welcome to the Bay Area where fans have class. You play your heart out for the Warriors, and I guarantee the fans will give you a standing ovation no matter how long you play for us, one year or ten years.

On another subject:

Let's hear it for Steph Curry who sees Donald Trump for what he is an, Ass, not an asset. It is time for liberals to stop being so nice. We need to be on the Conservatives like Draymond Green is on his opponents.

Another poem honoring a black athlete in Black History Month.

On Hurricane Jackson   by Alan Dugan

Now his nose's bridge is broken, one eye
will not focus and the other is astray;
trainers whisper in his mouth while one ear
listens to itself, clenched like a fist;
generally shadow-boxing in a smoky room,
his mind hides like the aching boys
who lost a contest in the Pan-Hellenic games
and had to take the back roads home
but someone else, his perfect youth,
laureled in newsprint and dollar bill,
triumphs forever on the great white way
to the statistical Sparta of the Champs. 




Thursday, February 9, 2017

Good News for the Kings

Last night's Kings' victory over the Celtics got me thinking. There's way to build a team out of the roster they have now. The key is to look at the solution in reverse, i.e.: start with your reserve players and work up to your starters. At the moment and for most of the season, as I've expressed before, except for Cousins, and Rudy Gay, all the other players on the team would be reserves on any other team in the NBA. That makes the King's reserve team arguably as good as or better than any reserves in the NBA if they were asked to play only against reserves.

But last night I saw one of these reserves: Willy Cauley Stein demonstrate his potential to be an effective starting center in the NBA: a shot blocker, and rim protector, a runner, dunker (a la DeAndre Jordan), and a scorer (if he develops that 16 foot jump shot). If I'm right, then the Kings can trade their only sure-fire tradeable assets: DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay. They probably won't get a lot for Gay now that he has to come back from a torn Achilles tendon injury. (Perhaps a low first round draft pick or a high second) But they should be able to get at least two strong players at any of the starting positions, (one should be a bone-fide point guard) for Cousins. Free agency and a willing pocketbook should account for the other starters. Get your pen out Ranadive.

There'd have to be some trimming of reserves, of course, but I don't see that as a problem. Ben Maclemore, for example, needs to be on another team if he has any chance of living up to his potential.  And a couple of last year's draft choice need the D League or Euro-League for a couple of years.

Let's be clear, a strong bench is essential to a winning team. The Warriors have proved that. Their guys off the bench are held  in high esteem by coaches and starters, who are demonstrably delighted with their successes on the court. Seeing most of the Kings'present team as reserves is not a put- down, but a put-up.

As of now, the Kings have got that half (the reserves half ) of the team right. It's time to get to work bringing starters to Sacramento.

In other news  How about some love for Steph Curry in this morning's paper, calling The Trump an ass, a synonym for rump.

As it's Black History Month:

To Satch (or American Gothic)  by Samuel Allen

Sometimes I feel like I will never stop
Just go on forever
Till one fine mornin
I'm gonna reach up and grab me a handfulla stars
Swing out my long lean leg
And whip three hot strikes burnin down the heavens
And look over at God and say
How about that!





Saturday, February 4, 2017

Somwthing to Think About Warrior Fans

Courtesy of my good friend and Oxford scholar, Dell Martin verbatim from an email this mornings. Defiantly something for you Warrior fans out there to consider and ponder.

"Last season everyone was on about the W's possibly winning 70, but this year  no one seems hardly to notice that they might be the third team ever to get there (the second team, if you count last year). I actually did the math."

The [Warriors] are presently at .860 for the first 50 games. . . 43/7. If they finish the season at .860, they would win 70.5 games. If you look at the last 30 games, they are 26/4. . . that is .86666. If they finish at that pace,they will be at 71 wins for the season. I just don't get it why everyone is sort of yawning about it. . . and then last night they beat the Clippers without Livingston, ZaZa and Green. Well, they could take a bad stumble any time, but that was true last season too."

I am submitting Dell's name to the league to be considered for an Analytics Award. The math looks pretty good to me, but I flunked multiplication tables.

Have to congratulate Coach Tara Vanderveer on her 1,000th victory. Forget gender, she IS Stanford University Basketball.

Note: In last night's last second loss to the Suns, How the hell did the best shooter, arguably the best player on the Suns, Devin Booker, get the ball isolated one on one with 8 ticks left????? You gotta be kidding me.

Finally, lot's of love to Anderson Varejao, released by the Warriors, but much appreciated by the team. The Brazilian power forward had a solid and admirable 14 year career in the NBA, 12 with the Cleveland Cavs who should retire his number. Per 36 mpg with the Cavs he double/doubled. A true pro. God Speed. 

It's mid-winter and the sport of Curling is coming to us live, huge from Duluth, Minnesota. Watched it last night, and felt compelled to post my Curling poem, although I posted a couple of years ago in winter. What the heck, in any poem I feature my wife, I like.

Curling   by Tom Meschery

Let's hear it for Curling, a sport in which
two brooms, like blockers in the NFL
(I'm thinking Packers, Greenbay in the snow)
lead the running back, a guy named Stone
(not exceptionally fast, but relentless)
down the icy field; masked fans in parkas,
sipping from flasks. They're watching curling
on local ice, while I'm enjoying building
this extended metaphor, thinking that Milton,
had he a sense of humor, which there's no
evidence he possessed, might have appreciated.

My wife also enjoys curling. "What's not to like
about a sport played with brooms?" she asks.
"The ice needs cleaning, and the players
are only doing what any good wife would do."
She's talking to me wile dusting,
which comes before vacuuming, a rule
in her sport that must never be broken. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Steph, his Teammates and Joy on the Hardwood

Certainly, anyone watching Steph Curry last night against the Clippers bury the half court jumper just before the halftime buzzer sounded would have to impressed. Okay, he's done it before and sometimes from longer range, so maybe you weren't jumping up and down impressed, but I was.

The reason for my excitement was not the actual shot itself, but the joy exhibited by Steph after the shot, His leap and bounce with Draymond, his airplane slide on the hardwood, the smile on his face, the victory dance of Durant and the other Warriors on the court and on the bench. For me, that was the tell. Let it be said over and over again, team chemistry, team expectations, team joy and camaraderie is what makes a true championship team. As a Warrior, I will always relish as many NBA Championship trophies the Dubs can lift over their heads, but their championship soul is what matters. And they've got it, baby, they've got it.

On to other subjects. Baring injuries, I think we NBA fans are looking at the next monster hall of fame center in Joel Embid of the Philadelphia 76ers.

It's also interesting that all of a sudden the NBA, which looked like it was going Small Ball, has some pretty damn good Bigs: Cousins, Townes, Porzingis, Embid, and the always powerful Marc Gasol. Porzingis is a "stretch" power forward, but he is 7'3" and once he figures out how to work the post, he'll be in-and-out awesome. I could probably throw in the fast improving Miles Turner of the Pacers. Lots and lots of potential in the middle there. I guess I'm a Big's fan, having come from the era of Russell, Chamberlain, Bellamy, Thurmond, Bob Lanier, Willis Reed, and Jabbar.And on the cusps of my time, Moses Malone, and Bill Walton.

Finally, the team with the talented Big Man, will still win out, historically, over the small ball team. But to hedge my bets and give me a little wiggle room, the Warriors are well on their way to prove me wrong. Except, wouldn't they love to have Joel Embid on their team? Wouldn't any team?

Sometimes you can feel when something is right. In this case Kyle Shannahan as the 49ers new head coach does. Here in the BAY AREA where his dad cut his football coaching teeth. Makes for a full circle.

And lets not forget, as we delve into today's sports page, the Williams sisters playing against each other in the finals of the Aussi Open. Serena won, but she doesn't always. 17-11 Serena over Venus lifetime. If Serena had chosen basketball as her sport, I suggest to you she might very well have been the first woman to play in the NBA. She's got more muscles than a lot of the  NBA players, past and present. One day it's going to happen, a three point shooting female point or two guard in the NBA.

Love it that Pop would bench Trump. Hell, I'd cut him and let him try out for the Euro League. Since Trump doesn't believe NATO is relevant, I doubt he'd make it in Europe. On a Russian team maybe, since he's such a big fan of that KGB thug, Putin.

Lot's of praise for Curry, here's a haiku I wrote for Durant.

Durant

His arm snakes backward
   Basketball cupped in his hand
Cobra coiled to strike 


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

This and That in Today's Sports' Page

"Golden State picked it up late, while hardly at their best." This is a quote, which seems to best define my Warriors these days. Of course, last night they missed the defense and scoring of Klay Thompson, but even with Klay I'm not sure it would have mattered. Some team synergy is amiss that can not be explained simply by having to adjust to Kevin Durant or the Absence of Andrew Bogut defending the paint. It would be an oversimplification to do so. In mind Durant is ever bit as capable of defending as Harrison Barnes, and Za Za in combo with McGee ought to be able to do a reasonable job making it tough for players to penetrate.

My instincts, and that's all I really have to go on, is that the team defensive intensity is not there. It is a given in a team sport that every single player on field or court must be zoned in on D for it to be effective. Such five man commitment to D is not happening with the Dubs. Yes, they appear to be trying, but without the "GRIT" that's needed to confuse their opponents so they make turnover or take difficult, rushed shots. Red Auerbach said it best back in the glory days of the Boston Celtics, paraphrased: Our opponents will only get well defended difficult shots at the basket. Our opponents will get no offensive rebounds. We will get more easy shots at the basket than our opponents. And we will get more shots at the basket than our opponents."

This is the mind set that the Warriors have embraced for the past two seasons. It is a mind set that they have yet to embrace as of today.

I am tickled by thought in today's Sac Bee that DeMarcus Cousins needs a rest. I don't remember Shaq getting many rests, and he certainly got hammered on more than our big talented juvenile delinquent. Besides, it's not even mid-season. Give me a break.

Suspicious absences - as in the case of Derrick Rose - lead to suspicions, and suspicions lead to rumors, and rumors lead to. . . what? It's been my experience never to anything good. Rose does not look or play like a happy man, or even a contented man.

Colin Kaepernick took a beating in today's sports section. He's been taking a beating ever since Trent Balke began dismantling the team,which started with the firing of Jim Harbough. If there is another quarterback out there that available better than Cap, I like to know who he is. Some of this crap directed at Cap, I'm afraid, is racist. He would not be taking as much heat if he hadn't made his unpopular decision to kneel during the singing of the National Anthem. Right now, in my humble opinion, the team should be working on find an offensive line that can 1) protect a quarterback, no matter if it is Cap or some mysterious new comer and 2) open up holes for the teams running backs.
And, lets also not forget finding some defensive backs and a few wide receivers. Focusing on a QB at this point is pointless.

Finally, is there any chance in the foreseeable future that the University of Conneticuts' women's basketball team will ever lose a game? They just won their 90th consecutive victory by beating the # 20 ranked South Florida team 102 to 37. That's  65 point margin.  And why isn't this team getting more national recognition? They are certainly more interesting and exciting than some of the NBA teams I've watched this season.

50's Male     by Tom Meschery
    
       "Beauty is truth, truth beauty. . ." 
                                  - John Keats.
The Lady Irish are playing the Georgia Lady 
Bulldogs in the Women's NCAA Final Four,
and I'm not the man I think I am, concerned
about her beauty not how talented she is
controlling the game, dribbling the ball,
her sweet jumper, how she drive the paint.
Instead I'm imagining a point guard
in an evening gown or wearing a bikini
reclining on a tropical beach. It's 2013.
What's wrong with me, I ask my wife
who is no less a beauty. She replies
this propensity you have for beauty does not
condemn you as a sexist. Babies are young
as several weeks will stare at photographs
of beautiful people far longer than they
will attend those of us less gifted by the Gods.
The Greeks were right about beauty,
and they used the same word for truth.
This should ease my conscience but doesn't.
It's not exactly beauty I had in mind. 




Thursday, January 5, 2017

Dave Joeger

It's been a long time since Rick Adelman coached the Sacramento Kings. Since his firing Kings players and fans have watched coaches enter and depart the area as if there was a revolving door
at ARCO/Sleep-Train Arena. Finally (with a great sigh of relief) the Sacramento Kings have found a worthy replacement for Coach Adelman - Dave Joeger.

There is a German liqeur called Jagermeister. Although the spelling is not right, I think a comparison can be made. In German Jagermeister means Hunter Master. Appropriate? Okay, a bit of a stretch, but I like the idea of Dave Joeger as both a hunter (for the best players) and a master (of the team and the game).

It is not a winning season yet, not by a long shot, especially with a loose cannon like the talented DeMarcus Cousins at the center of the team. Still, one can sense Joeger's intelligence, will power,  inventiveness, and flexibility. Add to that - from what I can tell watching him on the court - a sense of humor. These are traits that make for an excellent NBA coach.

So, Sacramento - like "Here's Johnny," heeeere's Coach Joeger. I'm taking bets that he's going to be around for a long time and usher in a decade of winning Kings' seasons.

The problem with waiting to post a blog until the next day is that the Kings lost to Miami in the interim. Since the Heat was playing without three of its best players and still won is not a testament to Coach Joeger's preparation or the teams improved chances for the playoffs. Even so, my belief in Dave Joeger remains firm. He is a solid coach with a solid future in the NBA.

I can't let this morning's blog go by without quoting Ashton Eaton, the world record holder in the decathlon, announcing his retirement. He said, "I gave the most physically robust years of my life to the discovery and pursuit of my limits in this domain (his sport)." What a wonderful and insightful statement. My guess is that most spots fans would not think of the athletes' life in this way, as a game by game, moment by moment test of their limitations. Nor do I believe many great athletes look at their life in this way. Does Usain Bolt believe he has any limitations? Or would Michael Jordan? Or Muhammad Ali, or fill in the blank______________________?

I saw this poem in a magazine sometime after the war in Iraq, writer unknown. My guest is a convalescing vet of that war or a loved one of a wounded vet. Certainly this message of this poem exemplifies Eaton's idea of testing one's limits. 

After Iraq     Anonymous

He rose every morning to see if he could.
Dress himself with no one's help.
To test his limits when he stood,
without crutches by himself.