Tom Newell At Large: July 2008

July 4th, 2008...Happy 4th to all...I hope you're day is safe and filled with the essence of an alder-smoked rib or steak that made you enjoy the weekend...Me? Well, let's see...the Karma gods or gremlins "blessed" me with a GREAT start last night to the long weekend...I gotta call from my son, Chris (Bo), informing me that our car was stopped at Exit 49/Castle Rock off I-5 with a V-belt in shreds...Hmmmm, I said to myself, this is sounding like a baadddd start to a nice weekend...He and his Mother, my wife, Elaine, were returning from visiting our daughter, Ashleigh and her son, Carter and his father, Brian...Everything was "onkee doree" and that of course is what I call the "Beach Warning...be careful!!"...Needless to say, I ended up driving down I-5 to pick them up and return them to home...the car of course being towed back to Longview, awaiting the fateful return of a certified mortician-mechanic to begin his assessment of the damage done...I got a chance to "look" at the car before we returned to Seattle...Fortunately, there wasn't any collateral damage to the rest of the engine (as I could see "it": radiator damage, hose connections, oil residues), so, in one sense, I was relieved...Now, I'm trying to figure out how to get back down there next week and pick it up...plus, this really puts a cramp in my plans, as our Best Effort Camps begin in Seattle next week for the next 5 weekdays straight...Somehow, I figure there's a "reason" for this latest experience, so it probably means I'm about to meet someone new, or learn a new lesson along the way...but...I gotta tell you: it ain't a whole lotta fun drivin the corridor between here and PDX...

Okay, on to another memory link from this week: The beleaguered Sonics and the demise of political figureheads as sports enthusiasts...I read with great interest and intrigued, the commentary by Jerry "Heizah" Brewer and Stevie "FullofWonder" Kelly...Man, those two Cats were clinical pathologists in another life, trust me, 'cause their "reads and writes" were some of the best reflections I've read in a long long time on the Sonics issues...

Am I sad? Am I indifferent? Am I disappointed? Am I pizzed off? Am I depressed? Am I angry? Am I ambivalent? Am I ______? Well, let me tell you my true thoughts on this subject...After being in the NBA as a Front Office executive (Pacers Director of Player Personnel/Asst. GM '84-86), Asst. Coach on the bench in Seattle ('86-'90), New Jersey Nets ('90-92) and the Dallas Mavericks ('93-94), I learned this much about the NBA: it's truly a BUSINESS ONLY, there is no allegiance to fans in the stands...UNLESS you're the Lakers, Celtics and Knicks...I mean, really, did you ever think that being in the Far NW, that NYC would be interested in "what" the paying fans felt (not the corporate entities who STOPPED supporting the retention of suites and sponsorships) ...I mean, afterall, that the NBA is FANtastic, 'cause Dyan Cannon tells me so....ooops that was in the late '80's...Then of course when the Celtics finally broke down and introduced Ladies with Bodies Dance Corps to rival the team (keep in mind, THIER record was one of the 3 worst in the League over the last 10 years!!!), Uncle Red Auerbach couldn't take it anymore and ASKED to "get me outta here....now....what's this league comin too?"...and HIS wish was granted...As for the Sonics faithful, I have a poem for you, an Ode to the Sonics so to speak, that perhaps will reflect upon the past and remind one of the future when it comes to sports...                                          

                                                  An Ode to the Sonics Past        

The Team was introduced to the Northwest as an Expansion...

Little did anyone know that over 40 years later...

It would become a "relocation"...

The Sonics became a treat and a favor...

For many diehard fans who needed pro sports beyond television...

Embracing future Legends as adopted children in an everchanging NW culture...

It was only when Sir Lenny became Head Coach that the Sonics would complete their mission...

Only to lose the status and confidence of many as a Team contending for renowned "stature"...

Oh how I revel in my reflections of the many practices and games that filled my daily life as a Sonic...

From Xman, Dale, Nate and Tommy to the arrival of Shawn Kemp and the success of George Karl...

And yet, upon reflections, I see now that those memories and respect is no more than Historic...

You see, my friends, fans and former players, your life was a void, filled with minutes of joy and angst...

From "sweet" 3s by Ellis to the steals by The Glove and the slams by the Reign Man...

No one, and I mean no one can ever take away the heart and soul of the modern Sonics team...

The voice of Kevin Calabro, his resonant reminders of spectacular plays as smooth as Lake Chelan...

And yet, we ALL feel betrayed, abandoned, disjointed from the rest of the basketball world and dream...

No more Rookies to assess...no more Free Agents to critique...no more Squatch...no more no more...

Do we rise up and speak our peace? Do we take up arms (sans High Fives) and demonstrate against this reality...?

Or do we learn from this lesson in life when it comes to sports: "in the end...it's not about the outcome or score..."

It has everything to do with money, money, money, money...and in that realization you will always find mortality...

I thank the Sonics and the many players and friendships I've made over the years when we moved here many years ago...

And I will always hold high the notion and heartfelt love and experience that we were ONE...Team and Fans...Thank you!!

 

Okay, enuff of that sentimental stuff...shoot, next I'll be eatin Quiche or something fluffy like that!!

I've been busy, and it seems I'll be busier than a worker bee lookin for a new hive...I hope my New Balance sponsorship over the last 5 years will continue to support our community service endeavors this summer...I received an email 3 weeks ago telling me that "we have re-structured our model and we are pulling back from branding and community oriented programs such as yours...this due in part to the economic issues that have affected the National economy today..."...Hmmmm, by my account, I'd say MORE people are going to be BUYING more tennies than NOT when you see the Gas prices going up each week...Shucks, one can get at least 5 thousand miles on a pair of NB Cross Trainers walkin to work, no?? Anyway, wasn't expecting "that" email notice and now I gotst to scramble and figure out how we're going to finish strong and positive to the end of our camps...

I've missed YOU ALL and my fingertouches on the laptop, and it seems that you have also, as there have been many readers who have emailed me and wondered if I was "ever" going to write again...I apologize...It's true: "absence makes the heart (for writing) grow fonder..."...So, let's see if my inspiration towards your desire to read my rants and what nots on a Scorecard will continue more regularly than recent non-posts...

Take care, hope y'all are having a GREAT SUMMER...Big Shoutout to Kristen O'Neil!! Booohlyah!! She just signed with the Storm and let me tell you: she has a "MOTOR" for the game and will bring a special presence to this team before the season ends...I've had the pleasure of being a teacher in her later basketball career at the UW and Euro league to work with her on her game...She works harder than ANY female player I've ever worked with, and that includes Jackie Stiles, who at the time was off the charts when I was an Asst. coach with the Portland Fire, WNBA, '02...She can play 3 positions defensively and offensively, not afraid of ANY matchup assignment and role that Coach Brian Agler dictates...If you haven't checked out this year's team, do so...they have one of the best coaches in basketball in Brian Agler, and the collection of talent on this team this season, if healthy to the end, have a chance to do something that NO OTHER Pro team has ever done in Seattle: WIN TWO Championships!!! Go Storm!!  All the Best, God Bless, Coach tom

July 4th, 2008...Happy 4th to all...I hope you're day is safe and filled with the essence of an alder-smoked rib or steak that made you enjoy the weekend...Me? Well, let's see...the Karma gods or gremlins "blessed" me with a GREAT start last night to the long weekend...I gotta call from my son, Chris (Bo), informing me that our car was stopped at Exit 49/Castle Rock off I-5 with a V-belt in shreds...Hmmmm, I said to myself, this is sounding like a baadddd start to a nice weekend...He and his Mother, my wife, Elaine, were returning from visiting our daughter, Ashleigh and her son, Carter and his father, Brian...Everything was "onkee doree" and that of course is what I call the "Beach Warning...be careful!!"...Needless to say, I ended up driving down I-5 to pick them up and return them to home...the car of course being towed back to Longview, awaiting the fateful return of a certified mortician-mechanic to begin his assessment of the damage done...I got a chance to "look" at the car before we returned to Seattle...Fortunately, there wasn't any collateral damage to the rest of the engine (as I could see "it": radiator damage, hose connections, oil residues), so, in one sense, I was relieved...Now, I'm trying to figure out how to get back down there next week and pick it up...plus, this really puts a cramp in my plans, as our Best Effort Camps begin in Seattle next week for the next 5 weekdays straight...Somehow, I figure there's a "reason" for this latest experience, so it probably means I'm about to meet someone new, or learn a new lesson along the way...but...I gotta tell you: it ain't a whole lotta fun drivin the corridor between here and PDX...

Okay, on to another memory link from this week: The beleaguered Sonics and the demise of political figureheads as sports enthusiasts...I read with great interest and intrigued, the commentary by Jerry "Heizah" Brewer and Stevie "FullofWonder" Kelly...Man, those two Cats were clinical pathologists in another life, trust me, 'cause their "reads and writes" were some of the best reflections I've read in a long long time on the Sonics issues...

Am I sad? Am I indifferent? Am I disappointed? Am I pizzed off? Am I depressed? Am I angry? Am I ambivalent? Am I ______? Well, let me tell you my true thoughts on this subject...After being in the NBA as a Front Office executive (Pacers Director of Player Personnel/Asst. GM '84-86), Asst. Coach on the bench in Seattle ('86-'90), New Jersey Nets ('90-92) and the Dallas Mavericks ('93-94), I learned this much about the NBA: it's truly a BUSINESS ONLY, there is no allegiance to fans in the stands...UNLESS you're the Lakers, Celtics and Knicks...I mean, really, did you ever think that being in the Far NW, that NYC would be interested in "what" the paying fans felt (not the corporate entities who STOPPED supporting the retention of suites and sponsorships) ...I mean, afterall, that the NBA is FANtastic, 'cause Dyan Cannon tells me so....ooops that was in the late '80's...Then of course when the Celtics finally broke down and introduced Ladies with Bodies Dance Corps to rival the team (keep in mind, THIER record was one of the 3 worst in the League over the last 10 years!!!), Uncle Red Auerbach couldn't take it anymore and ASKED to "get me outta here....now....what's this league comin too?"...and HIS wish was granted...As for the Sonics faithful, I have a poem for you, an Ode to the Sonics so to speak, that perhaps will reflect upon the past and remind one of the future when it comes to sports...                                          

                                                  An Ode to the Sonics Past        

The Team was introduced to the Northwest as an Expansion...

Little did anyone know that over 40 years later...

It would become a "relocation"...

The Sonics became a treat and a favor...

For many diehard fans who needed pro sports beyond television...

Embracing future Legends as adopted children in an everchanging NW culture...

It was only when Sir Lenny became Head Coach that the Sonics would complete their mission...

Only to lose the status and confidence of many as a Team contending for renowned "stature"...

Oh how I revel in my reflections of the many practices and games that filled my daily life as a Sonic...

From Xman, Dale, Nate and Tommy to the arrival of Shawn Kemp and the success of George Karl...

And yet, upon reflections, I see now that those memories and respect is no more than Historic...

You see, my friends, fans and former players, your life was a void, filled with minutes of joy and angst...

From "sweet" 3s by Ellis to the steals by The Glove and the slams by the Reign Man...

No one, and I mean no one can ever take away the heart and soul of the modern Sonics team...

The voice of Kevin Calabro, his resonant reminders of spectacular plays as smooth as Lake Chelan...

And yet, we ALL feel betrayed, abandoned, disjointed from the rest of the basketball world and dream...

No more Rookies to assess...no more Free Agents to critique...no more Squatch...no more no more...

Do we rise up and speak our peace? Do we take up arms (sans High Fives) and demonstrate against this reality...?

Or do we learn from this lesson in life when it comes to sports: "in the end...it's not about the outcome or score..."

It has everything to do with money, money, money, money...and in that realization you will always find mortality...

I thank the Sonics and the many players and friendships I've made over the years when we moved here many years ago...

And I will always hold high the notion and heartfelt love and experience that we were ONE...Team and Fans...Thank you!!

 

Okay, enuff of that sentimental stuff...shoot, next I'll be eatin Quiche or something fluffy like that!!

I've been busy, and it seems I'll be busier than a worker bee lookin for a new hive...I hope my New Balance sponsorship over the last 5 years will continue to support our community service endeavors this summer...I received an email 3 weeks ago telling me that "we have re-structured our model and we are pulling back from branding and community oriented programs such as yours...this due in part to the economic issues that have affected the National economy today..."...Hmmmm, by my account, I'd say MORE people are going to be BUYING more tennies than NOT when you see the Gas prices going up each week...Shucks, one can get at least 5 thousand miles on a pair of NB Cross Trainers walkin to work, no?? Anyway, wasn't expecting "that" email notice and now I gotst to scramble and figure out how we're going to finish strong and positive to the end of our camps...

I've missed YOU ALL and my fingertouches on the laptop, and it seems that you have also, as there have been many readers who have emailed me and wondered if I was "ever" going to write again...I apologize...It's true: "absence makes the heart (for writing) grow fonder..."...So, let's see if my inspiration towards your desire to read my rants and what nots on a Scorecard will continue more regularly than recent non-posts...

Take care, hope y'all are having a GREAT SUMMER...Big Shoutout to Kristen O'Neil!! Booohlyah!! She just signed with the Storm and let me tell you: she has a "MOTOR" for the game and will bring a special presence to this team before the season ends...I've had the pleasure of being a teacher in her later basketball career at the UW and Euro league to work with her on her game...She works harder than ANY female player I've ever worked with, and that includes Jackie Stiles, who at the time was off the charts when I was an Asst. coach with the Portland Fire, WNBA, '02...She can play 3 positions defensively and offensively, not afraid of ANY matchup assignment and role that Coach Brian Agler dictates...If you haven't checked out this year's team, do so...they have one of the best coaches in basketball in Brian Agler, and the collection of talent on this team this season, if healthy to the end, have a chance to do something that NO OTHER Pro team has ever done in Seattle: WIN TWO Championships!!! Go Storm!!  All the Best, God Bless, Coach tom