Archives for posts with tag: basketball

bob-cousy
How We Grew
by Steve Deutsch

The summer I turned seventeen
a girl I never knew leapt from her 8th floor window.
She fell soundlessly
to land some twenty feet from our pick-up game,
just as Fox’s one-hand set shot,
arced and graceful as a prayer,
clanged against the unforgiving rim.
My best friend, Red, threw up by the foul line.

It was a summer of sorting out.
In Vietnam, our country had need of its children.
Some of us — good at math,
good with words,
good at taking tests
were off to college — four years of a certain kind of diligence.
The others donned helmet and gun
and tried to make a deal
with a god they had no use for,
so that they might come home again.

I never knew what made her jump
on that perfect day in June,
when the wind, for once
blew from the north,
taking with it the stink of landfill
just five minutes south of us
in Canarsie Bay.
I often wondered just what it was
that defied her self-forgiveness —
how fortune shakes the die
in her palsied hand
and how we must learn to live with the lie.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Picture of Bob Cousy (how I saw myself on the basketball court at 17).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This is nearly nonfiction. A girl I did not know, of about my age, did leap from her window to her death — though I did not see it. And my friends did divide between going to college and going to Vietnam. Those of us who went to school had an infinitely easier time of it. We have, however, had to come to terms with our good fortune — a process that in my case seems like it will go on forever.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Steve Deutsch, a semi-retired practitioner of the fluid mechanics of mechanical hearts and heart valves, lives with his wife Karen — a visual artist — in State College, Pennsylvania . Steve writes poetry, short fiction and the blog stevieslaw.wordpress.com. His most recent publications have been in Eclectica Magazine, The Ekphrastic Review, New Verse News, Silver Birch Press, Misfit Magazine and One-sentence poems. As an adult, he had the good fortune to sit in on two poetry classes taught by first-class poets and teachers. He has been writing poetry ever since.

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In the U.S., the month of March is filled with talk of madness – March Madness, the NCAA basketball tournaments. Background on how “March Madness” got its name is in an article at Slate.com. After reading this explanation, I must say, “Hmmm,” and ask, “Did the journalist leave out something — or someone?” My theory is that the inspiration for “March Madness” came from the mad March Hare in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

According to Wikipedia, “Mad as a March hare” is a common British expression based on popular belief about the behavior of male hares during breeding season when they run around acting crazy – boxing with other hares, jumping straight up in the air, racing around in circles, and other wild, excitable behavior. (In Great Britain, breeding season for hares lasts from February to September).

In Carroll’s book — originally published in 1865 — the March Hare behaves as though it’s always teatime because his friend, the equally Mad Hatter, “murdered the time” while singing for the Queen of Hearts. (During the 1800s, “mad as a hatter” was a common British expression – referring to the disorientation hat makers experienced from the mercury used in their trade.)

 Now, let’s revel in a few passages from one of the greatest works in all of literature – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

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“Have some wine,” the March Hare said in an encouraging tone.

Alice looked all round the table, but there was nothing on it but tea. “I don’t see any wine,” she remarked.

“There isn’t any,” said the March Hare.

“The it wasn’t very civil of you to offer it,” said Alice angrily.

“It wasn’t very civil of you to sit down without being invited,” said the March Hare…

The Hatter opened his eyes very wide…”Why is a raven like a writing desk?”

“…I believe I can guess that,” Alice added.

“Do you mean that you think you can find out the answer to it?” said the March Hare.

“Exactly so,” said Alice.

“Then you should say what you mean,” the March Hare went on.

“I do,” Alice hastily replied, “at least – at least I mean what I say – that’s the same thing, you know.”

“Not the same thing a bit!” said the Hatter.

“Why, you might just as well say that ‘I see what I eat’ is the same thing as ‘I eat what I see’!”

“You might just as well say,” added the March Hare, “that ‘I like what I get’ is the same thing as ‘I get what I like’!”

ILLUSTRATIONS: John Tenniel (1820-1914)

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MARCH MADNESS, THE MARCH HARE, AND LEWIS CARROLL

In the U.S., the month of March is filled with talk of madness – March Madness, the NCAA basketball tournaments. Background on how “March Madness” got its name is in an article at Slate.com. After reading this explanation, I must say, “Hmmm,” and ask, “Did the journalist leave out something — or someone?”

I, for one, believe the inspiration for “March Madness” came from the mad March Hare in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – and author Lewis Carroll has never received proper credit. Yes, his work is in the public domain (find Alice in many forms at Project Gutenberg) – but he should still receive attribution. (As a cautionary tale, look at what happened to Jane Goodall for not attributing passages in her new book, Seeds of Hope, that she lifted from Wikipedia.)

So, at last, Lewis Carroll (1832-1898) – an author among our top-10 favorites – we will honor you on this day in March 2013, by saying that you and your creation the March Hare are the inspiration for the term “March Madness.”

According to Wikipedia (we promise to try to remember to attribute!), “Mad as a March hare” is a common British expression based on popular belief about the behavior of male hares during breeding season when they run around acting crazy – boxing with other hares, jumping straight up in the air, racing around in circles, and other wild, excitable behavior. (In Great Britain, breeding season for hares lasts from February to September).

In Carroll’s book — originally published in 1865 — the March Hare behaves as though it’s always teatime because his friend, the equally Mad Hatter, “murdered the time” while singing for the Queen of Hearts. (During the 1800s, “mad as a hatter” was a common British expression – referring to the disorientation hat makers experienced from the mercury used in their trade.)

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So, today, we honor author Lewis Carroll and especially his charming creation the March Hare. Lets revel here in a few passages from one of the greatest works in all of literature – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

“Have some wine,” the March Hare said in an encouraging tone.

Alice looked all round the table, but there was nothing on it but tea. “I don’t see any wine,” she remarked.

“There isn’t any,” said the March Hare.

“The it wasn’t very civil of you to offer it,” said Alice angrily.

“It wasn’t very civil of you to sit down without being invited,” said the March Hare…

The Hatter opened his eyes very wide…”Why is a raven like a writing desk?”

“…I believe I can guess that,” Alice added.

“Do you mean that you think you can find out the answer to it?” said the March Hare.

“Exactly so,” said Alice.

“Then you should say what you mean,” the March Hare went on.

“I do,” Alice hastily replied, “at least – at least I mean what I say – that’s the same thing, you know.”

“Not the same thing a bit!” said the Hatter.

“Why, you might just as well say that ‘I see what I eat’ is the same thing as ‘I eat what I see’!”

“You might just as well say,” added the March Hare, “that ‘I like what I get’ is the same thing as ‘I get what I like’!”

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And whenever we pick up Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and open it to any page, any passage, we get what we like.

Illustration: John Tenniel (1820-1914)