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Monday, June 14, 2010
A father and the Celtics, in rhyme

By Henry Abbott

TrueHoop reader Giles Li, a Celtics fan, new father, and blogger wrote a poem:

Life, Love, and Basketball
(a sestina)

For a lifetime, this has been his team.
Seventeen championships -- four of which he has seen -- they are without peer.
An obsession for him: no matter where he has lived,
he dreamed imaginary ballgames, along with careers and families. Now the title
of “father” is a reality. There is no more time to dream: the effect
of being tethered to a spot on earth with his children. No, not Boston --

which is implacable -- but actual concrete and soil. Where Boston
is just an idea, his children are real and teeming
with possibility. For his Celtics, he feels something to the same effect,
as every challenge flashes then slowly disappears.
Many doubt the Celtics are entitled
to this playoff run, just as he doubts he has earned the life he lives.

But then, this doubt is the reason he lives.
He questions his own memory -- maybe because he's from Boston.
The Celtics fan -- once almost entitled
to success, if not in life, then of his team --
as a father now dances over midnights, peers
at each coming day, thinking of ways to make them perfect.

This June night, his hometown squad can affect
tomorrow. There are no religious icons here to believe
in, pray to -- just a glowing television and yelps that pierce
the quiet hours before bed. Three miles from Downtown Boston,
this fan draws energy from the Celtics, and self-esteem
from his children fighting the intermittent tidal

waves of sleep and sleeplessness. No father is entitled
to a full night's rest anyway. So why not let a game affect
him? The clock climbs over itself and his head teems
with more doubts. The playoffs don't relieve
a father of his duties, but at least tonight in Boston,
the rules for fans usurp those for fathers -- so it appears.

This man constantly departs. Reappears.
Sings children to sleep, screams silence at games, writes poems with no titles.
It has never been so good to be in Boston --
a lovely ugly setting, where home sometimes exists. It is perfect.
There may be other cities more enjoyable to live,
but his children are here in this city -- and so is his team.

The City of Boston hopes Captain Paul Pierce
can help steer this magnificent team to another title --
if for no other effect than to remind us we're alive.