Saturday, January 8, 2011

Calling All 2012 Free Agents to Boston

No, we do not have a nightlife that bumps until 5 in the morning. Nor will we leave you alone when walking the streets like you were in New York or LA. No, we do not have pretty women and great beaches you can visit almost all year round like Miami. No, we do not have a billionaire owner that will pay you buckets of money like the future Brooklyn Nets. And no, we do not have a major market team, the backing of the President and Oprah down the street to kick it with like Chicago.

Our last call is 1:30 (1:45 if you are lucky) and when we see you in the bars you won't even make it through the throng of fans to order a drink anyways. Our girls are red-headed and full of freckles and the beaches are lucky to be filled 2 months a year. Our owners are committed but are not a charity, they won't hand you $9 mill a year and expect you to coast. And "The Hub" is not really a hub, but a small, cozy town where everyone knows your name like the Cheers bar.

But, although we are all those things, we are also a people who bleed green, as you will, too, once you become a Celtic.

By 2012, almost all of them will be gone. Doc probably won't be around to teach you "hero ball" or "ubuntu." KG probably won't be around to slap his hands on the court and make you realize playing d is infinitely more exciting than playing offense. Shaq probably won't be around to loosen up the mood when KG gets too serious. Ray probably won't be around to teach you to act the same way after missing 8 shots in a row as you would after making 8 in a row.

Rondo will probably be here, getting you open looks and getting you to run the floor like Sam Jones looking for a pass from the Hardwood Houdini. Pierce will probably still be there to put his arm around you like an older brother or to show you NOTHING, NOTHING should get in the way of your love of Celtics' basketball. Not even multiple stab wounds that bring you within an inch of your life.

Tommy will probably still be here, claiming there's no way you got fouled, while Mike bites his lip and hopes you just pull out the game. There will probably be "Tommy Points" and, if you are an extraordinary hustler, you may even get a "I LOVE WALTAAAA!!!!!"

But even if, somehow, all of those things disappear into thin air, the Gawden gets demolished and it is just you and 4 other guys playing in the middle of a blizzard on a street court, we will be there, bleeding green.

We will be bleeding green when your back goes out, and you spend what should be your glory days getting rubbed down on the side line.

We will be bleeding green when your biggest rival, your arch-enemy, gets a life-altering disease and you realize only he, only the competition, only the respect between you two could have brought you this far.

We will be bleeding green even when you only spend one day as a Celtic, and we will be bleeding green even if it was a dumb decision that took your life.

We will be bleeding green even when you take dumb 3 point shots, spend all your time on the court but none of it in the weightroom, play yourself out of the NBA, lose your wife and all your money to gambling and have to restart in the D League.

We will be bleeding green even when your last two basketball decisions were to draft Joe Forte and deny us Celtics' girls.

We will be bleeding green even when you're, at best, the overpaid 12th guy on our bench whose use was handing out high fives and picking up 6 fouls, and we will chant your name even when you have left us to warm the bench someplace else.

We will be bleeding green even when these are just highlights on a dated reel or tales our father tells us.

And we will be bleeding green with you even when you're nothing nearly as memorable.