If you didn’t stay up ‘til just before midnight last night watching the Boston Celtics’ heartbreaking loss (heartbreaking, at least, if a fan of the green team), then this post might not interest you, or so you think. Stick with it a few more sentences however, so you’ll see where I’m going.
Basically, an aging team, beaten up, besieged by injuries and a steep underdog, rode their future superstar, Rajon Rondo, to the brink of pulling a huge upset. Instead, a few missed calls and officiating that seemed to be set upon protecting the NBA’s two certified superstars, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, and marginalizing Rondo and Boston’s star Paul Pierce (who fouled out), prevailed; or so one kind of narrative goes. I haven’t listened to WEEI today, so I’m only guessing.
On game days, we often trade emails, and text back and forth during the game, since we can’t watch games together, like in the past. He’s in Providence for now.
This morning, I woke up after five hours of sleep, ready to hit my work day hard, but requiring a couple of cups of coffee to ensure my effectiveness. I was disappointed that my team had lost to a team that I really dislike. My son sent the following email just prior to 9:00, in response to my thoughts that the Celts, despite being down now, 2-0 in the series, still have the potential to rally at home, in Boston, and possibly turn the momentum.
I’ll excerpt what I think is are the key elements of his main point in reply.
I think a lot of people will be counting out the celtics from here on out. I still like their chances as minimal as they are.
I hope Rondo’s takeaway from last night’s game and these whole playoffs is to ignore/never rely on the refs/get an even bigger chip on his shoulder.
As much as I like the NBA, a lot of it has been turned into drive like crazy to the basket and let the refs bail you out. As great as Wade and Lebron (as well as Pierce) are, I think there is a place for a superstar to be so dedicated in his game that he never contests a foul call good or bad. Even Tim Duncan does that wide-eyed look whenever he doesn’t get a call. The challenge, and maybe the greatest challenge for any basketball player in the NBA is to accept the officiating for what it is and rise above it regardless of how bad it is and never let it be an excuse.
His email went on to say that he hoped Rondo takes the high road and that his takeaway from this loss (and missed call )is that he doesn’t focus on what he can’t control (the officiating) and focuses on what he can control (becoming a consistently great player.
I think the greatest thing he could say regarding the missed call was that he didn’t get back on defense after he was hacked and it led to an easy basket for the Heat. I don’t mean to be overly critical of Rondo. It’s asking a lot of someone who just played the best basketball game of his career to be even better, but I think he’s capable of being the best player on a night in and night out basis and I just want to see him get there.
My son’s take on this carries weight. He walks his talk. When his baseball career came apart his senior year, while his team ended up going on to the Division Three World Series, in 2006, he never made excuses. He just worked harder. I think his life embodies this. He even once walked across America in 80 days. I learn lessons from my 28-year-old son.
Tuesday, I found out that my employer of almost six years is laying me off at the end of June.
I plan on making lemonade and getting the most out of opportunities that I believe are out there for people with ability that don’t make excuses and work harder at their craft.