The Birth of a Champion: When Sports and Life Overlap

Tim PollockSenior Writer IJune 18, 2008

Last night I watched the final game of the NBA Championship with my son.   

Well, we watched as much as a three-day old can handle...which is to say the time between his feedings. 

For nine long months, I waited for this little dude to be born.  Along the way, some days were great, others were terrible.  There were tears of pain and tears of joy.  My wife and I grew closer, and our dream of having a family was finally realized this past Saturday.

Then on his first night home, my little man and I watched history take place as the “Boston Three Party”  helped the Celtics capture their first title since 1986—in the most convincing Finals history fashion, no less.

I have always been a sucker for the three-ball, especially when a textbook shooter like Ray Allen has a hot hand, and my son appears to share those sentiments. 

My little human creation, who is now still only 96 hours old as I write this during one of his naps, is fond of holding his hands upright to the sides of his head—as if he is saying, “It’s good!” as he sleeps.

While my son wasn’t around for the end of the game, I could tell he knew who was going to win, as he zonked out before the fourth quarter of this yawner began. 

And I am here to tell you, fellow droogs, the clichés are true: There is nothing greater in this world than holding your newborn son to your chest. 

So the analogy goes… 

I imagine the experience of my wife’s pregnancy and then the birth and arrival of our child is similar to an NBA team’s successful nine-month season. 

The ups and downs.  The injury scares.  The joys of a big road win.  The chemistry. 

All of it.   

As the clinching game came to a close last night, the Celtics—realizing all the hard work and patience had finally paid off—were able to grasp the ever elusive Larry O’Brien Trophy.

Their journey was over.  Their baby had arrived in Beantown. 

And that’s when the tears came flowing. 

With KG’s scream of “Anything is possible!” roaring in the background, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and the rest of the C’s—especially a suddenly romantic “Big Baby” Davis—took turns fawning over the trophy, holding it close, kissing it, and dumping champagne everywhere.  

And so here is the part where I am supposed to make the connection from sports to life.

But that, my friends, I simply cannot do, I’m afraid.

Because as I watched these grown men grope a trophy—a stupid, shining golden trophy!—I couldn’t help but think how foolish the whole situation was. 

I have grown up playing and watching basketball. I often still adjust my schedule to watch my favorite teams, both college and pro, battle on the court; March Madness is hands-down my favorite part of the sports season. 

But when all is said and done, it boils down to this: The Larry O’Brien Trophy means nothing.

The only trophy I need is the little guy bundled up in his crib.