A rare comment about sports.

I don’t normally want to engage in sports talk on this blog.  But, I will make an exception here.  This relates to my book, at an oblique angle.

I will share these thoughts.

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This evening, the NBA held its annual draft lottery.

There are a lot of rumors that the NBA draft is fixed, through the lottery system they put in place.  Ostensibly, to deter teams who need good players, from intentionally tanking their season.

The way the lottery works is that all the bad teams are given ping-pong balls, based on standings.  The worst teams have the most balls.  But even a team that finished ahead, in the standings, has a shot at the number one pick.

Today, Cleveland got the first pick for the third time in four years.  I am now convinced the NBA manipulates the lottery to create story-lines for their league.  Three times in four years?  C’mon!

I pay attention to this, not because I am a fan of the NBA, but because I am from Cleveland.  I keep up with my home town.

What the NBA is doing is intentional.  They are competing with the NFL to be the first league to bring a championship to a city that last won something over fifty years ago.  They smell pent-up opportunity to dunk on the NFL.

Earlier this month, the NFL held its draft.  The football Browns drafted Johnny ‘Football’ Manziel, the most exciting player available.  Not necessarily the best one.  But, he did promise to pour his heart out for the town that just adopted him, to bring them a Super Bowl victory. Johnny Football has the it-factor to be a public figure, long after he retires.  And, I am not suggesting that the NFL draft is fixed.  Just the NBA.

But, the competing story-line, in the NBA, is Lebron ‘The King’ James.  He was a phenom a decade ago, set to go pro, right out of high school.  He was the biggest story of that draft, too.  A kid, ready to go number one, over all the guys from college, because his combination, of skill, size, and athleticism, was so freakish.  Guess what.  That year, Cleveland picked number one, too!

But, Lebron left for Miami because, through free agency, he had the chance to assemble a supporting cast with two of his best basketball buddies, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.  Two other freakishly good players.  He left Cleveland, because, as a perennial loser, the basketball Caveliers were having trouble creating a supporting cast around their star.  In spite of that, Lebron still took the Cavs to the NBA Finals in 2007.  Since then, he has won two championships.  This year could be his third.  And, guess what.

The story gets better.  He’s a hometown kid, from Akron, Ohio.

Well, Lebron is set to become a free agent, this season, or next.  There are some restrictions on how this plays out, within his current contract with the Miami Heat.  And, one of the story-lines, in sports talk, is whether Lebron will return to Cleveland, on his white horse, to bring the championship he promised his home town, before heading south.

Don’t tell me Cleveland’s winning the lottery three times, in the four years since he left home, are just a coincidence.  This is the NBA, manipulating their product.  They’re allowed.  Legally, they are set up as an entertainment company, not sports.  The draft is fake, just like Holleywood.

Go Browns!

Sorry to be so quiet.

I have been deeply working my book.  But, like my earthworm brethren, I do my best work under ground.

I am in a state of deep concentration, and I have been writing throughout the days.  The ideas start coming in late afternoon, and carry into the night.  I open my computer whenever thoughts present themselves.

Today, I am embarking on a new habit.  I am committed to breaking up the previous day’s writing, where appropriate, and putting the good stuff in folders I have created that outline my narrative.  (Scrivener is my writing application.  I love it.)

I realized that if I didn’t spend some time, each day, to consider my accumulated work, I will not be able to see the finish line for the trees.  On the way here, to my favorite coffee shop, in my wheelchair, I asked myself.

How much more work is involved?  I am not tired.  I am just trying to get a handle on this thing, and develop the large-view narratives within all my pieces.  Then, I can also begin writing towards the synthesis of the narratives.

I am hoping, by autumn, that the majority of the writing will be finished.  Then, I can turn my attention to the completed document, and begin filling in the cognitive blanks.  That’s how I see myself transitioning from lots of writing, to mostly editing.

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My sister sent me an email all the way from Australia, and shared a video she liked.

I liked it, too, and decided to participate in exposing a delightful, young artist through the Viral Net.

Kawehi.

 

My first trip here, in my wheelchair.

I feel like hell today.  But, this is why I have this chair.  I can still do something.

I ran into my neighbor, and her daughter, in the driveway.  They were happy for me.  Then, at McClintock, I caught the bus to Southern.  Forcing myself to go beyond self-consciousness.  My first surprise was learning that the bus is not free to wheelchairs.  I thought it was.  My bad.

And now, here I am.  First time, in my favorite coffee shop.

In my wheelchair.

I received it yesterday afternoon.  In my driveway.  Running, again, into my neighbors.  I was very grateful, but I felt guilty.  I felt well enough, in yesterday’s hot afternoon, to question whether the chair was a necessity.

But, after dark, with a strong, spring, wind blowing, I took it for a spin to the corner store, for a bag of chips.  Just to have something to do on a dark and mysterious evening.

And yes.  I was high.

I caused a bit of a headache for the store owner, by trying to breach the front door from my seat.  It took a minute of struggle, before he came to my aid.  He apologized, profusely.  But, I insisted I needed to learn how to do these things.  And then.

I got stuck.  I made it through the door, and down the first tiny aisle, brushing some few snacks to the floor.  And, I turned the corner, to find myself.

Cornered.  No path, back to the counter, except from where I came.  I had to back up, because he had crowded the floor so tight with merchandise.  But first.

I grabbed a bag of Lay’s.  Then, the owner spent a couple, more minutes, backing me with hand signs and instructions.  Pronounced, Bengali.

I was embarrassed, because I could have used my cane and my car, if I really wanted those chips.  Instead, we enjoyed our own private circus, because I was curious to do this, once the day had cooled.

I hope he enjoyed it.  I thought it was fun, except for putting him out.

But, by the time I returned to the garage, and plugged it in, I had decided that, I only made the trip because I had the chair.  Otherwise, I did feel crappy enough that, before yesterday, without it.  I would have rationalized.

I wasn’t very hungry for chips.  And here I am, this evening, in my favorite coffee shop, writing.  This definitely would not have happened, feeling like this, before yesterday.

This is wonderful.  I am beyond self-conscious.  I am happy.