Today I had planned to present a comparative analysis of the Iliad and the Odyssey and how my findings will be a game changer in land use and forest management. But then last Wednesday on my way to my writing group I was rear-ended on the 405 Freeway in a 3-car collision. When I heard the sound of metal crunching metal, I looked in my rearview mirror and saw a car barreling toward me. At the last minute the driver tried to swerve to avoid me, but failed. Added to the fact that he was following too close (3-second rule, people!) he was propelled forward by the car that had just hit him.
As luck would have it, a couple of CHP officers witnessed the accident. They had somebody stopped on the shoulder, which is probably why the accident happened in the first place. What do people find so fascinating about a fellow driver getting a ticket? If I figure that out I might work it into my forest management theory.
If my accident weren't enough stress, I was preparing to teach a class on Sunday at the Thousand Oaks Library, dealing with several kerfuffles related to volunteer events I'm planning: last minute cancellations, participant meltdowns, and general running around fixing things that need to be fixed.
And then this happened:
For those of you who don't follow NBA basketball in general or Los Angeles Lakers basketball in particular, Kobe Bryant's torn Achilles' tendon in the game with the Utah Jazz is one of the worst things that could have happened to our city. Kobe is our angry son, our saint, our brother, our BFF all rolled into one. We've watched him grow up and now we've witnessed the injury that could end his career. Kobe pushed his 35 year old body to the limits to propel the Lakers into the playoffs. Now we are asking: Did this have to happen?
Recent turmoil in Lakerland reads like a soap opera. Flamboyant and transformational owner, in failing health, turns over the franchise to two of his children: the business whiz daughter who is engaged to the beloved, winning, Zen Master coach and the son who makes seemingly boneheaded decisions on the player/coaching side. Beloved Zen Master coach retires amidst rumors that the son doesn't like him. Son hires replacement coach who seems like a nice guy but is all wrong for the team. Many losses ensue. Son then fires coach and approaches Zen Master about returning to save the team. Then son blindsides Zen Master by hiring somebody else who is also wrong for the team and worse, he does so without notifying Zen Master before the press gets wind of the betrayal. Fans and sports writers alike are outraged over shabby treatment of Beloved Zen Master. New coach arrives, bad-mouths players in the press and generally acts like a horse's patootie. He forgets the basic rule of leadership: the buck stops here. Injuries and more losses ensue. Fans are not amused.
I love professional basketball and I love Los Angeles Times sports writers, especially Bill Plaschke who I can always count on to tell it like it is. Plaschke doesn't have much confidence in Jimmy Buss. His April 13 headline about Kobe's injury reads: "The season just walked out the door." At the end of the article, Plaschke says this about Kobe: "He has crumbled, and, for now, basketball's greatest franchise will crumble with him."
Happy Tax Day!