‘Sports | Boston Celtics’ Posts
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in the interest of full disclosure, while i sucked every last drop of enjoyment out of the celtic’s championship run in 2008, i didn’t give them much chance to win *any* of their playoffs series this year (vs. miami, cleveland and orlando) and am still not sure they’ve got an advantage in the finals (even though they only need to win one of their next two in L.A. to claim their 18th championship banner).
And so, I’ve tacked on 6 hours of daily world cup coverage to my after hours NBA responsibillities, not to mention I’ve still got tape of the winter olympics left on my tivo from February.
somebody’s gotta win something, because i need my life back.
now, the great thing about sports is the (near) universal appreciation of the stories behind the competition … so long as you know where to look.
for every $15-million slugger that dopes his way to the home run record, there is a $600,000 baller for the Celtics who overcomes homelessness on the way to win a NBA championship. for every perfectly-formed sprinter turned out by the u.s. track and field machine, there is a 41 year-old South African dissident who overcomes two shattered knees to break a world record at the World Pacific Games.
never has this been more apparent, that this morning when we went to the u.s.a. trials for the homeless world cup (which is exactly what it sounds like: a (soccer) world cup where all the competitors are homeless).
the tournament was started in 2001 by some activists for the homeless as a way to inspire the homeless to make positive life changes, and some 70% of past participants have gotten off the streets for good.
the u.s. team is being selected this weekend, with a tournament down by the old convention center. city teams from across the u.s. are participating (atlanta, charlotte, minneapolis, new york, the district, austin, etc) with the the best players from each squad being selected for the trip to Melbourne.
there weren’t many people in the crowd for the games we watched, but it was still an incredible experience. the talent and skill were way beyond what we were expecting, and it was pretty easy to see that the competitors were having the time of their life.
if any of this is sounding interesting, the story of 6 participants in the 2006 Homeless World Cup has been turned into a documentary called kicking it (in theatres now). we’ll be there later this week …
the red sox have won twice in four years. the patriots blew their chance to be a perfect 19-0. (oh, btw, i like all teams in new england *except* for the patriots.) the revolution lost their fourth major league soccer title game in six years. (oh, the revs … *hate* the revs, too.) and, the boston celtics just won their first championship in 22 years.
now, i don’t want to say that the culture of new england has changed … but it has, so i guess that phrase was an empty blogging device.
my father and i talked after the celtics won game four, in los angeles, to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the best of 7 series.
if this was 2001 — with the red sox in an 80+ year drought and the celtics in a 15 year skid — new englanders would be talking in hushed tones about how the lakers were a great team who were the odds on favorites to come back and win, especially knowing *our* (ie. new england’s) luck.
but, you throw three super bowl rings and two world series trophies into the mix, and these crazy yanks get down right cocky.
talking to my father that night, he guaranteed — OUTLOUD! — that the celtics were going to win the championship, and odds-on it was going to happen in five games. needless to say, given my comparative old age and experience, i was looking for any piece of wood available to knock on.
sure enough … my boy was right. he wiffed on the number of games — it was six not five — but a championship none-the-less.
and all was well in beantown. again.
now, i often say that i don’t remember anything before 7th grade (which is sad, yet still true) but, due to my father’s Boston brand of religion, some of my best childhood memories involve the celtics, including:
of course, with said favorite memories, came some of my least-favorite childhood memories, too:
i was seventeen when Larry Bird retired, and the Celtics launched a 15-year “forgettable” streak. over that span, they had only three winning seasons, three playoff series, and just two players named to an All-Star team. last year, they lost 58 games and won just 24.
but, everything change this summer, when Celtic GM danny ainge — who was in contention for “worst GM ever” until that point, which is saying something considering recent Celtic history — pulled of the steal of a lifetime by snagging Kevin Garnett from Minnesota.
now, i watched the Celtic’s new “big three” during the regular season, but i knew they were going to choke … so didn’t get too attached. in fact, i was more optimistic about the Red Sox’ chances in 2004 … and they were facing down 86 years of history, not a pedestrian 20.
however, once the Celtics made the playoffs, we started watching. and watching. and watching.
and yes, that was “we” — as in the lady sparkler’s been watching, too. and she’s been screaming at the television when Ray Allen bricks another three. and she’s been twitching non-stop during every road game waiting for the choke to come. and she’s been wondering how Paul Pierce became the team hero when Kevin Garnett has him beat in every major stat category except assists.
at this point, the lady sparkler and I are guessing that we have seen 15 of the 20 playoff games so far, for 50+ hours of basketball. there has been a game just about every other day since the end of April. which brings us to why I am blogging about this today … there hasn’t been a game for four days. and won’t be one until the finals start this Thursday.
basically, we are in withdrawal.
All day Sunday, i felt like i was missing something … and it didn’t go away until I realized that I would have been watching Game 7 had they not clinched two days earlier. today, i felt like i needed to do something when i got home. but no. it was just an even number of days since the last game.
and so we wait.
and it sucks. and i can’t imagine what it’s like for someone (like my father) who’s been around for all the rest of the 16 championships, 20 conference titles and 26 divisional titles, and has had to wait 20 years for the next glimmer of hope … because the anticipation is just *killing* me.