Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Celtic Pride: Or, The Wearing of the Grin

I have been remarkably silent about the Celtics over the last few weeks.

Don't mistake this for anything other than what it is: I'm superstitious as all hell.

Curses are dumb. They are not real. But I'll be damned if I am going to be the one who messes with fate.

And so for two months I've been wearing the same C's hat. I've been drinking the same Sam Adams beer during games. And given how the Patriots performed in the Super Bowl I've been uncharacteristically humble about the guys in green. Given that I'm a Red Sox fan who well remembers life before October 2004, I've been fatalistic. Given that it has been more than half of my life since the C's were the most dominant team in the history of American professional sports, I've been intolerably uptight. In sum, I've been miserable (albeit with good beer and a comfortable hat at my disposal). If I have learned anything, I have learned that there is no commutative property of sports. That the Red Sox and Patriots have been successful has had almost no bearing on my emotional reaction to the Celtics of late.

Odds are that if you are reading now, you know exactly what happened in the game last night. The Celtics crushed the Lakers. Humiliated them. The C's suffocated the Lakers when the visitors were on offense (enough of the Kobe as Jordan comparisons, eh?) and buried them when the C's were on O. The Big Three proved to be stars, the supporting cast overwhelmed, and the bench made all the difference, outplaying the much more heralded Lakers Bench Mob for the entire series. It was quite clear from early on that the better team came to play, and while the team from Hollywood had come in hopes of something magic (or Magic) happening, instead Red reached on down and ... .

If you are a Celtics fan a breathless recap will be thrilling to you. But there are better places to get that. (See Bob Ryan's article here, Dan Shaughnessy's here, Sportsguy's here and if you are into schadenfreude -- and you know you are -- I'd strongly recommend the columns by the LA Times' Bill Plaschke, TJ Simers, and Mark Heisler.) And if you are not a Celtics fan this is just annoying -- more Boston sports crap in an era where Boston sports crap seems to be ubiquitous. (Nota bene: Don't blame us. Root for better teams.)

I am happy as a lifelong Celtics fan. I am happy as a longtime Paul Pierce booster.

I am happy as a guy who was lucky enough to be born into a legacy that included Bill Russell and Red and Cousy and Havlicek and Tommy and Jo Jo and the Jones boys and Luscy and Cowens. I am happy as a guy who grew up with Larry and the Chief and McHale, but also DJ and Cornbread and Henderson and Walton. I am happy as a guy who lived through the deaths of Len Bias and Reggie Lewis. I am happy as a guy who saw a generation of basketball fans grow up worshipping Jordan and anointing Kobe because they did not know what came before them. I am happy as a fan. Title number 17, against the Lakers, at the New Garden, with my favorite Celtic in a generation leading the way. It does not get much better than this.

[All photos from The Boston Globe/Getty Images.]


Anonymous said...

Though I am certainly annoyed with Boston/New England sports teams and frustrated with my own teams, I have to give props to the C's. They brought it the whole season and playoffs (with a couple stumbles on the way), and deserved to win. There is always next year!!!

Go Tribe/Cavs/Browns!!!

-Donnie Baseball

Slicer said...

When I watched the game last night, the wife having recorded it for me, I lost it during Kevin Garnett's post-game interview with Tafoya. To watch a grown man cry (Garnett, not me) as he yells "ANYTHING'S POSSIIIIBLLLLLLEEEEEEEEEE!!!" at the top of his lungs after winning it all for your favorite team, I can't describe it.

Great post, thanks for all the links, and thanks for sharing many of the moments throughout that very special evening via cell phone and texts.

dcat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dcat said...

Slice --
The texts and calls were great, except here is a transcript of the typical phone call:

Me: What's Up! It must be awesome!
You (and 20,000 other people, most named Sully or Murph): AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Good times.


dcat said...

Donnie B --
I think there are teams that you can hate and teams that you really can't. This is a pretty likeable C's team. i can see how some would hate, say, the Patriots. but outside of LA (and maybe detroit, Cleveland and Atlanta) it's tough to see really developing a hatred for that group of guys.
You need to get some talent around Bron. Do that and I expect Cleveland to be back in the finals (once the Three Amigos have retired, of course.)


Anonymous said...

Can I ask a question? Since when does everybody refer to them as the "C's"? In sports, like politics, people fall in love with catch phrases.

dcat said...

I'm not certain that referring to the Celtics as the "C's" qualifies as a catchphrase, and there is nothing new about it. I've used that shorthand my whole life. It hardly seems objectionable and frankly seems like a pretty petty objection to raise, especially in the context.