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    Sunday, June 15, 2008

    Dear Dad - Happy Father's Day

    Dear Dad,

    I can still hear the pounding of the basketball on the pavement and the swish of the basket as my shot hit the bottom of the net at six in the morning before any other kid in the neighborhood was up. I wasn’t alone though as most kids who practiced that early in the morning were, you were there with me. Pushing me to work harder, to run faster, to dribble with my left hand and to always be the best I could be.

    My dream was always to be a member of the Boston Celtics. I wanted to be the next Larry Bird and you always encouraged me and challenged me to be that player. You never doubted my abilities and you always taught me to reach for my goal no matter how hard it may seem to achieve. I didn’t make it to the NBA; in fact, I didn’t even play high school basketball. I did, however, learn a very valuable lesson out there during those early morning shoot arounds with you, I learned that no matter what obstacle stands in your way, no matter how hard a challenge may seem, there is always someone, standing by your side, cheering you on and for me dad, you were that someone.

    The lessons I learned on the basketball court in my early years with you by my side, have carried over to my life today. I know, that if I work hard to achieve something I truly desire, I can make it happen. I also know that if I fail and fall flat on my face, there’ll always be someone there to pick me up, dust me off and say, go get ‘em next time. I have fallen down and I have gotten right back up, at six in the morning and hit that court again.

    Through basketball you also taught me the spirit of competition. I remember sitting on the floor in our living room, watching as The Legend battled Bill Laimbeer and the hated Detroit Pistons. We would watch every game together and cheer on the good guys. I remember the song you used to sing when they would show Bill Laimbeer crying over a bad call, sarcastically you would sing, “Baby face, you got that cutest little baby face.” I still to this day sing that song whenever I see an opponent whining about a call.

    I also remember though, the respect you showed “hated” rivals. When Magic Johnson helped beat the Celtics, I remember you saying what a great player he was and what a great series that it was. It was a respect that was shown because he was a real competitor, like Larry Bird was. He didn’t complain, he didn’t argue, as you said, he just played the game.

    So, as I sit here on this Father’s Day gearing up to root on the Celtics to their 17th championship banner, I will be thinking about you. You are far away today, but in so many respects you’ll be sitting right next to me on the couch. They have made it back to the promised land Dad and they did it the way you taught me to, they worked hard and just played the game.

    Happy Father’s Day Dad. Thanks for the lasting lessons. I love you.




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