meta name=”robots” content=”index, follow” Meschery's Musings of Sports, Literature, and Life Meschery's Musings on Sports, Literature and Life: 2017-05-21

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, May 27, 2017

Pickle Ball

The fastest growing sport in the United States, Pickle Ball, held its 1917 Open Championship in East Naples, Florida yesterday. Simone Jardin won mixed doubles with male partner, Oliver Strycker and pro doubles with female partner Corrine Sieberscher.

I watched the match on television, going back and forth between pro golf and PB. Got to say, Pickle Ball provided some spectacular fast moving minutes in comparison to golf, which moves, oh, soooo slowly..Luckily for golf, the cameras move swiftly between holes so you don't have to watch golfers walking the fairways; otherwise, the game would have little tv appeal.

Back to Pickle Ball: Simone Jardin and other Pickle Ball players can't make a living yet playing their sport, but their commitment, enthusiasm, and training is every bit as intense as our beloved Warrior players.

Here's a thought. Universities claim that the Big Bucks they receive support the school's minor sports. So let's get the major sport's athletes who're making obscene amounts of money to support the less well known but equally important pro sports in our country, like Pickle Ball or Curling for example. Kevin Durant could fund the Pickle Ball Championship, say, half a mill for the purse - a terrific tax write off..Who'd fund Curling? Handball is a terrific sport too, both the U.S. brand and the European form of the sport. LeBron has a few extra bucks, right?

Anybody interested in some wonderful poetry about sports, I suggest an out of print book, but still available: Sprints and Distances compiled by Lillian Morrison from Thoma Y. Crowell Co. NYC.

From Sprints and Distances, a poem about Squash. I think Shaq could fund Squash.

Civilities                by Thomas Whitebread

   The delicate corner shot,
Slicing the strings precise across the ball
at the right time, so that it lightly hits
         On one side wall,
    Kisses the front, then falls
Quick-dying down, most irretrievable,

    Is difficult to do
Unless a calm, an inner certainty
Comes to you softly in the midst of war,
         Setting you free
   From the slam-bang desire
To smash it hard no matter where. To be

   So deftly sure, so wise,
Wins points in squash. In another, harder game,
Word-play, a similar civility
     May equally tame
   Peaceless desires, and make
Your opponent yours by a nicety of name. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Red is Turning Over in his Grave

If Red Auerbach had witnessed the defensive performance of the Boston Celtic vs the Cleveland Cavs, he would have choked on his cigar and died a horrid second death. In all my years in the NBA and post NBA watching as a fan, I've never seen a more pathetic performance on DEFENSE. Every single Celtic player and coach should be ashamed of himself. The Cavs attacked on D, which is the only way to play D, and the Celts did not attack back. Thus the horrible lopsided results. As far as I could tell, there was no defensive strategy, except cowardice. If Coach Stevens is the wunderkind he's supposed to be, he better start doing some wunderkinding pronto. (Love it when I have an opportunity to do some mixed metaphoring.)

I've been out of the game for a long time, but how about this for a strategy, Coach Stevens: why not force the Cavs always to their baseline and collapse the weakside? I couldn't believe how many times the Cavs drove the middle of the paint undefended. Forcing to the baseline against guys like LeBron and Kyrie makes sense to me. Trap from the weakside, and make them throw the pass from a tight angle. The danger, of course, is that the weakside misses the rotation and one of two things happen: The dribbler shuffles a pass to the 5, (in the Cavs' case, Tristan Thompson for a dunk, or the opposite corner is free for a three.) That said, if the rotation is sound, this should not happen and the pass has to go over or through the paint to the top, not easy to do.

Note: I'm willing to move to Boston for the right price as a consultant to the Celtics on defense. Well, maybe not at my age. I'd probably suffer a heart attack and die in Boston. I'd prefer to die as the great Peruvean Poet Cesar Vallejo did, on the streets of Paris.

The Golden State Warriors will not allow the Cavs to beat them up on defense, that I can assure all fans of our Dubs. This will be a amazing series, as both teams are healthy and playing at the top of their game. It will be professional basketball at its best and most intense. I suggest for the Dubs something called Intense Physical Peace.  It translates like this: Players must be at the height of their physical intensity while maintaining inward peace.

Lastly, doesn't it seem to all that this is a series we're going to see for a number of years into the future, similar to the old Celtic vs Lakers series?

I missed the first two series of the conference finals being on vacation with my wife in Greece. We were traveling with a group of artists, sketching and water coloring. My wife's the  artist. I was along for the ride but managed to write a number of pretty good poems. One does have a little to do with basketball, so I'll end my blog with it.


Drawing requires a degree
of coordination and practice
like a sport. Like basketball
you add to get my attention,
knowing I played in the NBA.

But I'm thinking of the mist
covering the shore of the island
Gael drew in the morning
from the patio of our hotel
on the island of Folegandros.
And of Stephan Curry's shot
that arcs through the air
and plummets into the hoop
with such accuracy. I could
practice a thousand years
and never equal his talent.
Nor could I paint Gael's mist.

I have no doubt, practicing
your art makes you better,
remembering those early years
of brushstroke after brushstroke
learning to shoot a basketball
until the painting of myself emerged
fully formed out of the mist.
As for coordination, today, my hand,
holding the brush wobbles above
the turquoise banister.
My muscles lack the memory
trained for sports and not for art.