I’ve been up late these past few months with a couple of young lads who are on the bottle every night. Well, they are only ten weeks old, and quite vocal about having their needs met. The three of us have been hanging out in front of the TV watching the NBA playoffs, thanks to ESPN UK, who are providing pretty decent coverage considering there aren’t any NBA teams this side of the Atlantic. The five hour time difference is a bonus at the moment. It helps take the edge off of the middle of the night feeds.
This past weekend we watched the Boston Celtics’ season come to an end, losing the Eastern Conference finals to the Miami Heat in game seven. I’ve been a Celtics fan since I moved to Boston in 1980, when a lanky guy named Larry Bird was running up and down the parquet floor every night. The Celtics may be the Manchester United of the NBA, but I didn’t think they’d get as far as the Conference finals when the playoffs began. The “big three” Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen – are still hard to beat but they are past their peak. Everyone expects that the season end also marks the end of their time together as team mates. It’s time to start building the team around the much younger Rajon Rondo, who is already well on his way to basketball greatness.
It’s a common transition. New players come in, have their prime years then inevitably depart through retirement, injury, or trading. Considering that the big three are on the downward slope of that arc, they held on well against the Heat, who have much younger star players, including league MVP Lebron James. The Celtics lost the first two games but won the next three, leaving them in good shape to take the best of seven series.
Then came game six, which made the Celtics big three look as old as they are, while the Heat kept improving. It was a home game for the Celtics, and the fans were relatively quiet throughout. But during the last few minutes of what some commentators call “garbage time” (when you know the game is already over), the Boston fans began a chant of “Let’s Go Celtics” which continued through the end of the game, progressively growing louder even though the fans knew there was no chance tonight. I think it was meant for the team to take with them to the next game, two nights later in Miami. That’s an indication of how much the Celtics fans are emotionally invested in their team.
The idea popped into my head: maybe it would help if I sent them Reiki. Maybe it would give them a bit of a boost. Of course, I dismissed it nearly as soon as I thought it, even chastising myself a bit. It seemed frivolous to be sending Reiki to a basketball team, and perhaps even unethical to be doing something that had the potential of affecting a game.
In game seven it looked like the Celtics might just make it through to the finals, until the fourth quarter when it all fell apart to the point where Boston and Miami both pulled their starters from the game with minutes left to go on the clock. It’s got to be draining to get so far in competition only to come up short, considering the levels of time, energy, and commitment put in by the players and coaching staff. Now compound that with the end of an era. Coach Doc Rivers clearly had tears in his eyes as the clock ran down the final seconds of the series.
It felt good to see most players from both teams on the floor when it was all over; the Celtics congratulating the Heat, and the Heat showing respect for the Celtics. But Celtics Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo were missing from this scene. Those two players seemed to have explicitly shown the most emotional commitment to their failed playoff run. When it was over, each walked alone back to the locker room, with the implication that they were too emotionally distraught to face anyone.
Then I remembered something that my Reiki master said on several occasions. Healing is not always about fixing something – there are going to be times when you can’t. It’s also about helping people cope, to find peace in situations, smooth transitions. Whatever happened in the Conference finals, older Celtics were still going to move on or take diminished roles just like many other less famous people who come to the end of one phase of life and move into another because of age, illness or obsolescence. I’m sure there is a wealth of healing to be done around that aspect of life.
I should have sent Reiki when I first thought of it. It’s not too late now. Thank you Boston Celtics for broadening my notions of when and where it can be beneficial to use Reiki.