Spring 2007. Natick, MA.
I had just started my coop at Boston Scientific and was at a Red Sox game with the rest of the summer interns, wearing a Cleveland Cavalier’s t-shirt, because I would be missing a playoff game. On a break from having my new friend Vijay explain to me how such a slow moving, boring sport can actually be entertaining, I went to get a hot dog from concessions. Many Boston fans asked me what the score of the Cavs game was, and told me that they were rooting for them too. “Cool,” I thought, “people in a big city care about our little team!”
The Cavs got swept by the Spurs. Frick. There was no more basketball to save me from all the baseball talk at work. Red Sox, Red Sox, Red Sox. Shut up Shut up Shut up.
Then the Celtic’s got the “big 3.” Paul Pierce + Kevin Garnett + Ray Allen. Suddenly a team you couldn’t pay people to watch was supposed to be the front runner for the 2008 championship. Frick. I maintained that great individuals don’t always result in great chemistry. We’d have to wait for the end of the summer to see. Red Sox won the World Series. Frick.
Football season started. Patriots. Brady. Belichick. Win after win after win. Frick after frick after frick.
Basketball season started, and I could talk about my Cavs again. More importantly, I could talk smack to the prematurely smug Celtics fans. What chemistry!? Oh, that chemistry? The Celtics went from the worst record in the NBA to the best. And the championship. Frick.
Boston fans, you know how obnoxious you are. And when all your teams are playing at their best, I’d rather manually remove my eardrums with my eyebrow tweezers than listen to you go on about it. 2007 really was the best year to be in Massachusetts.
NBA Playoffs, 2010-2011 season, eastern conference round two, game three. Brooklyn, NY
I’m cheering for the Celtics. How did I get here?
NBA Playoffs, 2009-2010 season, eastern conference round two, game four. Boston, MA.
Wine and gold jersey under a zipped jacket, worn just as much to ward off the spring chill as premature aggressiveness. Asad and I stepped off the Chinatown bus, onto the T (which by-the-way, is one hell of a crappy train system) and made our way to TD Banknorth Garden. My heart was filled with a misguided sense of pride and self-assurance that would come to define that summer. It was our year. Not the way it was our year last year, or the year before. This was REALLY our year. Because if it wasn’t our year and the Cleveland Cavaliers didn’t win the NBA finals, we had no way of knowing what the summer would hold. But Loudville residents knew, seven years of promise had brought us to this glorious championship, and our hometown hero would bring home the trophy. We pulled off our jackets and were welcomed with warm welcoming BOOs. Oh man, winning in their house is going to feel SO GOOD. Aggressive shouting, and I “accidentally” have beer spilled on me. Oh this win is going to feel SO SO GOOD. Wait. We’re not winning. Frick…
No matter what people say about that game, I was there: LeSuck mentally checked out, and it was the beginning of the end. Leaving the Garden with an indescribable feeling of being let down, I still wouldn’t betray my team. A flushed faced lush yelled “CLEVELAND SUCKS.” It’s not very becoming of a well brought up Muslim girl to yell profanities back at strangers, and I’ll just say that wasn’t my best moment. Asad quickly and adeptly pulled me out of a bad situation and comforted me, as we shuffled, tail between our legs, home.
Silence, as we waited to hear, where will LeBron go (or not go…)
Kevin Garnett on LeBron’s impending decision: "Loyalty is something that hurts you at times, because you can't get youth back. I can honestly say that if I could go back and do my situation over, knowing what I know now with this organization, I'd have done it a little sooner."
Shut up shut up SHUT UP.
The middle of the Amazon Jungle, on a weak internet connection:
One excruciating, mosquito swatting hour of useless jibber jabber. Then:
“In this fall, I’m going to take my talents to South Beach.”
FRICK ON A STICK! DEATH! DISTRUCTION! ITCHINESS!
NBA 2010-2011 Season
My non-Cavs fan friends, especially my New York friends, who, I’m sorry, are just as bad as Boston fans, have told me repeatedly, to get over the betrayal of LeBron James. To them I say, I have “gotten over it” as much as a real fan can. He left, woopdefrickindoo, we’re over it. You do what’s good for you. How he left is what can never be forgiven. A self-proclaimed home-town boy who put team and family above anything else could have given Cleveland a little reprieve from a summer of anxiety. Instead the Cavs organization was left no other option but to base every team building move around the chance that he would do what he promised and stay in Cleveland. In the wake of “the Decision” he left an empty team that had missed the opportunity to save the upcoming season. The Cavs went from the best record in the NBA to the worst.
Big market fans will never understand what that felt like. Even at your worst records, your viewership and gobs of money ensure that the pendulum will swing back in your favor eventually. Small markets don’t have that luxury. We have no money or fame to lure big stars. We’re expected to fill up the regular season and then disappear to make way for the big guys. So loyalty means everything, and team comes over everything. We were LeBron fans because he was a Cavalier, not the other way around. LeBron James is now public enemy #1.
Do I actually want the Celtics to win? Not really. They’re annoying as frick. But I don’t hate them. And for all their irritating nature, they play with heart. LeBron is now back where he made it all end a year ago, and Cleveland waits with baited breath to see if he can muster up a thirst for the win that he clearly did not have last time around. LeBron made excuses… @LebronsElbow had us glued to twitter throughout the playoffs. But as we just saw this very night, Rondo’s elbow has what LeBron’s never will: a team mentality.
This series, I’m cheering for the Celtics. Because as beautiful as it could be to watch D. Rose and the Bulls beat down the 2011 Least Valuable Player, I don't want him to even get close enough to smell that championship. And that’s how I got here.
Go Celtics! Boston Sucks, but not as much as Miami!