About Me

I'm the Rabbi of B'nai Israel Synagogue in West Bloomfield, MI, a highly-participatory, traditional, egalitarian synagogue.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Celtic "Truth," at 3:30 am

(published in the Providence Journal (Rhode Island, USA) on June 3) -- (http://www.projo.com/opinion/contributors/content/CT_celtics3_06-03-10_5VINAN5_v16.1d64776.html)

3:30 in the morning.

That’s when I prove my mettle this Celtic playoff run.

I moved to Israel last year and brought my Boston sports triad with me (Sorry, Bruins. You lost me sometime between Terry O’Reilly’s last lumber off the ice and your perpetual playoff oblivion.)

This, of course, has been the case ever since I left New England 21 years ago. The nation, the legion, the fighting minutemen of Boston sports – we continue to spill our guts for our hometown teams wherever we are.

I established my personal record in 1986, in the NBA Finals. I hitchhiked 4 hours 3 separate times over land, bears, and ever other possible natural and man-made obstacle in TV-less Yellowstone National Park, to watch the first “Big 3” (and DJ and Danny) defeat Houston and slinking “center” Ralph Sampson in 6 games. Ah, youth.

I’m a lot older now, but still foolish.

I’s the graveyard shift for me now. Do or die. I’m a medical resident in my own personal insane asylum. One night on, one night off. 36-hour no-sleep stretches. Awakened when I don’t want to be – lest I miss an “emergency” when Doc Rivers needs me.

It’s not like watching the endless Red Sox-Yankees thrillers of ’04. At least I could get five hours of sleep in before work. But 3:30 am, start time? I can’t say I’m getting up early in the morning to watch the game, because it’s the middle of the night. So the pressure builds at 10 pm to go to sleep, but I’m a night bird. I haven’t gone to sleep before 10 pm since Hill Street Blues took to the air. So, what’s the point?? Let’s just stay up till game time, and let the next day be damned….

I can still appreciate Rajon Rondo’s dive-scoop-and layup at 3:30 am, but a Paul Pierce isolation, when Ray Allen and everyone else are wide open on the wing? I’m more agitated than I’d be in reasonable time and am reminded of the dark Antoine Walker days. My cereal gets soggy as I silently scream at “the Truth.” “Pass the ball!” And, Kendrick, don’t waste my waning energy complaining about another foul call….

With overtime comes the sunrise, a reminder of where I am and that soccer is truly king. If the incessant non-commercial World Cup commercials fed to us by ESPN International haven’t already drained that reality down my hoop. Oh well.

From this side of the Atlantic and Mediterranean, it’s even worse when the Celtics lose, as they did in game 4 against Orlando. I was the 13th man, played well more than the full 48 minutes, in the middle of the night, and had children wanting to know what clothes to put on a half-hour later. And I had no one to commiserate with over my morning Coke Zero. A game “last night”? Maccabi Tel Aviv?

So, Celtics, Red Sox, Patriots (the 8 pm, Israel-time starts are delicious…), thank you very much for all that you make me – make us -- do for you.

Just beat the Lakers, please. We’ve got to stay at least 2 championships ahead.

I’ll be watching you.

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