The celtics, my father, and morbus ledderhose disease me – the ringer

Watching the Boston Celtics with my dad is one of morbus ledderhose disease my favorite pastimes. Last month, we attended the Celtics-Spurs game at TD Garden and sat closer to the morbus ledderhose disease floor than we ever had before. We reminisced all night during what could be our last morbus ledderhose disease live game together. My dad’s been bringing me to games since I was 10 morbus ledderhose disease years old, and we’ve enjoyed it all. The high fives and the hugs. The shouting and the screaming. The nosebleed seats. The mission to find a spot in the lower bowl. The trips home, when we packed like sardines on crowded train cars that morbus ledderhose disease smelled like sweat and beer. The greeting we’d get from Mom as soon as we got back. The requests at family Christmas parties to watch basketball instead morbus ledderhose disease of A Christmas Story. The nights we’d watch from home rooting for contending, pretending, and tanking Celtics teams over the years, and loving it no matter the result. All that really mattered was watching it together.

Life changed for me twice on March 26: once in 2013 and once this year. Last month, my parents and I crammed into a hospital room to morbus ledderhose disease listen to a doctor explain that my dad has incurable morbus ledderhose disease stage 4 cancer that’s so advanced it was initially difficult to pinpoint its morbus ledderhose disease origin. There’s cancer in his bile ducts. There’s cancer in his liver. There’s cancer in his lungs. There’s cancer in his lymph nodes. There’s so much cancer that jaundice rapidly developed, yellowing his skin and the whites of his eyes like morbus ledderhose disease an over-ripening banana. Chemotherapy can be detrimental when a patient has jaundice, so multiple procedures were required to place two stents, an internal one and an external one, that drain into a bag Velcroed to his thigh to morbus ledderhose disease normalize his bilirubin level. Dad’s new body luggage lowered his bilirubin level, but there were complications that may prevent him from even morbus ledderhose disease trying chemotherapy. Whether chemo or hospice is next, chemicals will soon be pumped into his body to help morbus ledderhose disease alleviate his increasing pain.

Even if there’s a miracle coming, it’ll get worse before it gets better. Doctors say he has only weeks or months to live morbus ledderhose disease without any treatment—even with treatment, it’d still likely be only months. Putting stock into these timelines is useless since every person morbus ledderhose disease responds differently to treatment, but it’s stunning how rapidly someone can go from asymptomatic to morbus ledderhose disease approaching their deathbed. Dad, Mom, and I will do all we can to make the morbus ledderhose disease most of our remaining days together; there’s nothing to be gained from living in denial. Cancer is killing the man who provided for our family, the friend who fostered my love for basketball, the dad who pushed me to dream big.

Basketball has changed for us in recent years. It’s surprising how suddenly your loyalties can evolve once you morbus ledderhose disease work in sports media. I am no longer a Celtics fan, but my fandom hasn’t exactly perished. It’s more that my love simply expanded to all 30 morbus ledderhose disease teams. It’s an identity shift that supercharged my dad’s interest in the league beyond the Celtics. He reads every article, listens to every podcast, and watches every video. Dad is my first fan, and my biggest fan; he’s the one who first motivated me to even pursue morbus ledderhose disease sports writing.

In 2012, he suggested I apply for an internship at Comcast SportsNet morbus ledderhose disease New England, the local TV station for the Celtics. I was reluctant since working in sports never seemed achievable, but I applied and got accepted. The gig required interns to clip highlights, run the teleprompter, and transcribe audio. Some interns complained that it was unpaid grunt work, but it was a thrill for me to work alongside morbus ledderhose disease people who ran the show and walk the same hallways morbus ledderhose disease as a basketball legend like Tommy Heinsohn. Dad always hoped I’d get a chance to meet Heinsohn, the ancient Hall of Famer whom Celtics fans love and morbus ledderhose disease rivals loathe for his homerism. The opportunity arrived one night as I was leaving the morbus ledderhose disease building after my shift: Heinsohn was sitting alone in the dark of the front morbus ledderhose disease lobby watching the end of a Celtics blowout win against morbus ledderhose disease the Suns. I stopped in my tracks and nervously thanked him for morbus ledderhose disease a lifetime of memories. Heinsohn’s response was a snore. Literally. I didn’t realize he was half-asleep. Dad and I shared a laugh over it the next morbus ledderhose disease day; he always lives vicariously through those moments.

The first time my life changed on March 26 was morbus ledderhose disease the most pivotal day of my internship. It was 2013 and the internship was winding down, with only a few weeks remaining. Interns were usually brought into the field only once, and I had done my field visit at a Boston morbus ledderhose disease Bruins game. But before my time was up I hoped to attend morbus ledderhose disease a Celtics game. My parents encouraged me to ask for it, so I did and was given an opportunity to spend morbus ledderhose disease a shift assisting the broadcast team during a Celtics-Knicks game. Kevin O’Connor

Hours before I left, Dad was giddy. He wondered whether I’d get to go into the Celtics locker room, ask Doc Rivers a question, or meet someone who could set me up with a morbus ledderhose disease job. I told him to chill. None of that would ever happen—I was just an intern. But the latter sort of did: A sports TV producer named Andy Levine praised my hard morbus ledderhose disease work but grilled my nonexistent post-internship plans and recommended that I blog about the Celtics morbus ledderhose disease for SB Nation. I spent the entire night typing an application on my morbus ledderhose disease phone, not watching more than a few minutes of the actual morbus ledderhose disease game—Carmelo Anthony had the most Carmelo Anthony game with 29 morbus ledderhose disease points on 30 shots in a 100-85 win for the Knicks. There was no guarantee my message would even get read, never mind if I’d get a chance, but I couldn’t wait to tell my parents about it anyway. After the long ride home, I filled them in: Mom was confident I’d get an opportunity, and Dad thought maybe soon I’d get to attend games as media. It felt like a victory to even make a move morbus ledderhose disease in that direction.

It turned out to be the email that changed our morbus ledderhose disease lives. Jeff Clark from CelticsBlog added me to his staff, and I began writing as often as possible while finishing morbus ledderhose disease college and angling for paid gigs. Dad operated as my de facto editor by checking for morbus ledderhose disease typos and improving my discipline. I bounced article ideas off him as we watched games, and he encouraged me to reach beyond writing about the morbus ledderhose disease Celtics, which led to publishing my annual NBA Draft Guide and morbus ledderhose disease doing work for a sports psychology company. I never imagined it would all lead to this: writing for Bill Simmons, working with so many people that I admire, and living in Los Angeles. Each step taught me to start dreaming big, like Dad always did for me.

Even though my dad has a deadly disease, I feel fortunate. Through all the tears, the overwhelming feeling is that of thankfulness to have had morbus ledderhose disease such a truly awesome father in my life, a loving husband to the best mother I could have morbus ledderhose disease ever asked for. How many children never have a parent? How many families simply never connect? Nobody imagines cancer will end it all, but nobody is exempt from life itself. There were an estimated 18 million new cancer cases worldwide morbus ledderhose disease in 2018 and 9.6 million total deaths. My dad is just one of many people who have morbus ledderhose disease been hit by this disease. It’s not the cancer that’s a shock, it’s the timing.

Mom told me that it doesn’t feel real that her husband has stage 4 cancer. How could it when he was less than one year morbus ledderhose disease away from retirement? Dad worked the past 15 years making traffic signs, after 32 years silk-screening umbrellas for a golf company, where he inhaled toxic fumes that doctors believe could have morbus ledderhose disease spurred his cancer. It’s not work that he loved, but it helped us get by. All the friendships he formed there made it worthwhile—like meeting my mom, who worked in a neighboring office before becoming a hairstylist morbus ledderhose disease in 1989. Not only has my dad been forced to retire, but so has my mom, who’s leaving a career she loves to take care of morbus ledderhose disease her husband. My parents had planned on rekindling their dating days of morbus ledderhose disease the 1980s. But small trips, new hobbies, and a potential move to California have been replaced by morbus ledderhose disease stressful journeys to the hospital and farewells to friends and morbus ledderhose disease family. My parents worked so, so hard to raise a family and enjoy their elder morbus ledderhose disease years.

Dad’s still here now, though. My family will cherish our time together, no matter how long he’s around. I recently told him the most valuable lesson he ever morbus ledderhose disease taught me was to be mindful. He pushed me to take advantage of opportunities that develop, especially with my career. He reminded me to cherish every moment, since only the present is promised, especially the ones we’ve had watching sports.

The only time that I can ever recall a sporting morbus ledderhose disease event making us both tear up was Game 6 of morbus ledderhose disease the 2008 NBA Finals. The Celtics annihilated the Lakers, 131-92, on their way to their first championship since 1986. It was a special night, not just because the Celtics won a title. It was the journey we took to get there. It was the years of those trips into Boston, and nights watching from home, rooting for a team that hadn’t won anything in a long time. It was what we had endured as fans. It was the losing, year after year. Just a season prior, the Celtics tanked their way to 18 consecutive losses and morbus ledderhose disease had hopes of drafting a franchise savior. But they lost the lottery, and it seemed like Paul Pierce would be traded. Somehow, they dealt for Ray Allen on draft night and fleeced morbus ledderhose disease the Timberwolves for Kevin Garnett, who had long been my favorite non-Celtic ever since my first live game in December 2000. The Big Three was formed. From Allen’s game-winner at the buzzer to Garnett’s laying out Zaza to Pierce’s wheelchair game to the Doc Rivers Gatorade shower, it all felt surreal considering where they started.

Garnett summed up the feeling every Celtics fan felt, shouting, “ Anything is possible!” My dad and I both lost it. As we laughed and hugged, he stopped, looked at me, and said how thankful he was that we shared the morbus ledderhose disease experience together. It seems so simple, but his recognition of the moment—a father and son, watching a team they never gave up on celebrate a morbus ledderhose disease championship—still sticks with me. He always taught mindfulness, even if he didn’t know it. This mentality has become part of my fabric; it helps most today as our family must make the morbus ledderhose disease best of each day despite the looming challenges.