There was light
Trembling ever so slightly, I plugged the power cord into the socket. I gritted my teeth, slighty cringing at what was about to happen. There was no doubt in my mind that this could have only gone horribly wrong. Luckily, the only failure on my part was thinking that I had failed.
Green light lit up my living room, by design granting my TV- stand a Jumbotron look. One might argue the Jumbotronlike appearance, but as overseas expressions of fandom go, this is as close as you will get. I relaxed, and a smile spread across my face, slowly turning into a grin, and then into laughter. Like a scientist gone mad, I laughed and raised my hands to the ceiling; at that moment I knew I was ready for the NBA season.
Michael Jordan. Space Jam. NBA. That's about as many basketball-related words an average Dutch person knows. The Netherlands (also called "Holland", just to keep things interesting) is a small country where about 16.5 million people go about their daily lives whilst attempting to dodge the many (and very cold) spells of rain. If we're lucky, we can get in about 40 days of playground hoops a year. Being a basketball fan over here, is like being an ear-tugging fan in America: you'll only get to see it if you pay for that one sports channel that broadcasts 3 totally random games a week. Actually, they cut NBA broadcasting down to one game a week recently. I canceled my subscription and am now forced to use a more costly NBA league pass to catch my weekly dose of Boston. It's been well worth it.Seventeen
The first full NBA game I ever saw, was probably the first or second game we had in the '07 '08 season. I had been reading a lot about Boston, and heard about how Kevin Garnett got traded to the Celtics, along with Ray Allen. All I could do to prepare for game was read, and watch Youtube videos. So I did, and saw John Thompson interviewing KG. I guess I don't have to explain that I was touched (to say the least) by the way this guy was feeling about his career. After reading up a bit about Ray Allen, and watching some videos of his awesome jump-shooting, I figured he was probably feeling the same thing Kevin felt, and the same would go for Paul Pierce as well.
So when I turned on my television and sat down with a bag of doritos and coca cola (mind you kids, this really wrecks your teeth) I had my eyes fixed on Boston, and you will never guess why I started rooting for the Celtics: Rajon Rondo.
Fast forward to right after the NBA finals in '08. I sipped some chocolate milk, trying to lubricate the sore throat I had from screaming after blowing out the Lakers in game six. Anything had indeed been proven possible, and I clearly recalled (and still do) how that first game got me into the Celtics instantly. For all the talk about the "big three", I was most impressed by our young point guard, who quietly directed us to our seventeenth banner.
Rajon is still my favorite player on the squad. It still thrills me when I see him throw blind passes, spin it off the glass or float it over bigs. My respect for the big three has always been there - and will always remain - since they got me into being a Celtic. I read up about our history because of them, I read up about the bad seasons to go before the vaunted Boston D got us number 17 and I read up about Bird, McHale, Russel, Red and lots of others.
Some may call me a bandwagon fan, and I do realize this is something that comes with joining the group in our winning season. I just hope I never have to endure a series of below .500 seasons to prove that I'm not just another fair-weather-fan. I hope we keep growing, keep expanding and keep winning, like all us real fans do. That's why I get up at night to watch each and every single regular season game. It takes some sacrificing, like going to bed right after you get home from work. Sleeping for four hours, then waking up to watch the game, live, in the middle of the night. It also means taking half a day off every now and then, just to be able to watch a game after having basketball practice. And then there's the days - as my fellow overseas Celtic fan Drucci so eloquently put it - when you walk around like a zombie, after failing to catch sleep before or after a game.
But it's nothing really; being a Celtic fan is like being part of a great family, and you gain vastly more than you lose.
My makeshift colored lights have lit up two full seasons of NBA basketball by now, and will continue to do so for at least the remainder of this season, after which I will probably move to Australia, without my customized TV-stand. Although I'll miss my lights when I watch the Celtics play, it's trivial really:
I'll still bleed green.