Over the years, I have had friends and acquaintances comment on how they would like to meet this or that movie star or sports personality. I never thought of me meeting anyone of note because, no matter how much I may admire them, I really had nothing in common with them. I figured that they had seen and done so much that what could I bring to the meeting?
I lived just south of Boston for some of my teenage years. I remember going to Boston Garden, that drafty old barn on Causeway St., to watch the Boston Celtics play. Hockey was big in Boston. The Bruins were finishing either 5th or 6th in a six team National Hockey League, and the Garden was sold out (13,909 capacity) for every game. The Celtics were winning championships and the Garden was half empty.
For a 15 and 16 year old who had a lot of growing to do, I learned an important lesson watching the Celtics. Or, more specifically, the Celtics 6′ 9″ center, Mr. William Felton Russell.
Mr. Russell played the game with out trying to humiliate or put down any of the players on the opposing team. Mr. Russell played the game of basketball and his game of life with a quiet dignity.
It took a few years for that lesson to sink in. The lesson of which I speak is to carry ones self with dignity and to treat your fellow human beings the same way.
I know I will never sit down and have a cup of coffee with Bill Russell, but this now all grown-up teenager wants to thank him for the dignified way in which he conducted himself while he played professional basketball.