Promoting this excellent FanPost for obvious reasons. Well done. -Jeff
I am a 41 year old man. I have a wife and two children (ages 7 months and 4 years). I am a transactional lawyer and I am a partner in a large law firm. In short, I am what 18 year-old-me would have thought as someone serious; someone I would have assumed has put aside childish things: “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.”
However, I find myself constantly thinking about the Celtics upcoming season and seemingly being unable to wait for it to start. I am once again checking CelticsBlog 10 to 12 times a day (as I did in the dark days, before the Garnett trade, during the long season of 2006-07). I find I have the patience of my four year old, who, when told the car ride will be ten more minutes, earnestly and urgently replies “Ten minutes is too long!”
On a personal level, one of the many wonderful things about the new Garnett era is the re-connection it has provided me (and I assume others my age or older) to the last great Celtics teams, and through that, to my past. I remember reading about a study on mice that purportedly demonstrated that if you learn information or a skill while in an altered state (for example, while drunk or high), that in the future you would be better able to recall the information you learned when you are again in that same altered state. While I have no idea if this is actually true, I have found it to be the case with being a Celtics fan. Despite having been a die-hard and constant fan since the early 1980s (even during the 15 win season and the worst of the Pitino years), the 2007-08 season brought back memories of the 1985-86 season that I had not thought about for many years. The fan experience was completely different than it had been in 20 years. And in remembering the 1985-86 season, I remembered many things about me and my life (unrelated to the Celtics) as a 17-18 year old kid in 1985-86. I had the same experience last season: throughout the year I remembered aspects of the 1986-87 season, making mental notes how the 2008-09 Celtics differed from and were similar to that team, wondering would the results be similar, and remembering things about my freshman year at Michigan.
Now before you key the violins, none of these memories caused me to suddenly change my life course, have a new perspective on the meaning of life, address any demons, discover my inner child, or have some sort of cathartic epiphany (nor do I think I was in the need of any of that). However, I have really enjoyed these remembrances and the new perspective I have gained with respect to those forgotten memories. Admittedly, some of this had started to happen to me already with having and raising children. So maybe the Celtics resurgence only added to or amplified what was already occurring due to being a new parent.
In part, I remember and I am re-experiencing the joy of watching a great basketball team. Of seeing players fulfill their maximum potential and knowing that they are on a special team. Of expecting to see great, even heroic, performances on a regular basis. I am recapturing/re-experiencing the excitement and passion for the team that I had as a teenager. For those of you who are 18 or 20, it’s not that when you are 40 years old you lose the ability to become passionate about things, it’s just that those things you are passionate about tend to be your wife, your children, and maybe you job (heavier things), but not so much video games, bands, sports, and television shows (lighter things). Yet it is still fun to be passionate about the lighter things too, regardless your age.
One marked difference I have noticed in my experience now as opposed to in the 1980s is that I used to care how the Celtics were perceived nationally and I wanted the Lakers and Pistons fans to be forced to acknowledge the inherent superiority of the Celtics as a team, as players, and as a franchise. Somehow I managed to tangle my own ego up in the Celtics, and I wanted opposing teams destroyed, their arenas raised, and their fields sown with salt. Now I am entirely comfortable with the self-knowledge that the Celtics are great and will be great this upcoming year. I don’t care how ESPN, John Hollinger, or anyone for that matter (other than maybe Tommy Heinsohn) rate or project them. When I encounter a Lakers fan it is like seeing an old friend (or like someone who was in your group of friends in high school and, for unimportant reasons now, you did not like back then, but now are glad to see). Even my hatred of the Pistons has begun to slowly abide. (The young me reads these statements and vomits in his mouth.)
But with all that supposed wisdom and perspective I claim to have gained, I still come back to this:
Will the arrival of Rasheed Wallace be the Bill Walton to this team as I know/hope/believe, giving the Celtics the best team defense in the league since the 07-08 Celtics and the 85-86 Celtics, or has the supposed window closed (which I recognize as a theoretical possibility at the same time I deride as a prediction)? Will M. Daniels and E. House be a dynamic bench duo and impact games off the bench as I have seen in my minds-eye many times? Will Paul Pierce once again be Superman? I can’t wait until October 7th for the first pre-season game! October 7 is too long!