It has been tradition around here for a long time that I usually stumble out of my room at the Curmudgeon Rest Home (CRH) and write a pregame article for Game#1 of each Celtic season. I have limited time to do this now because the nurses rarely un-strap me from my bed at CRH and provide me with access to pen and paper. Jeff Clark made a special request on my behalf.
The real pre-game summary will be coming up later in the day, expertly written as usual, by FLCeltsFan. She will dive into match ups, what to expect, who will start etc. I used to do a few of the pre-game summaries years ago on this site but not anymore. FLCeltsFan, as you know, does them for every game. I don't bother to try anymore because she is so much better at it than I am. She is a blessing to this site.
Considering our < 1% chance of hoisting Banner #18 this season, makes this already rare article written by me for Game #1 of the 2013-2014 season, also very "special" in a weird way. I do feel pretty ambivalent about the season. It's a strange feeling knowing we most likely will be trying very hard, but coming up short. I thought I might stop by and briefly and share my quite enthusiastic ambivalence. I think my emotions today can best be summarized by lyrics from one of my very favorite poets/songwriter/singer, Mr. Bob Dylan.
"Lot of water under the bridge, lot of other stuff too
Don't get up gentlemen, I'm only passing through.
People are crazy and times are strange
I'm locked in tight, I'm out of range
I used to care, but things have changed
"Of course, I really do still care somewhat about this season and this first game specifically (more on this in a moment). I think I am finally freeing myself from the heavy mental shackles of knowing that Paul Pierce and KG won't be in green tonight. Like Mr Dylan said above "things have changed". I have begun to accept this new reality of rebuilding, and have somewhat embraced it, but I haven't kissed it on the lips yet.
So does it really matter who get minutes in Game #1 tonight against the Toronto Raptors? Not to me it doesn't. Does it really matter who starts for the Celtics tonight? Not to me is doesn't. Does it really matter who finishes for us tonight? Not to me it doesn't. Does it matter if KO, Sully, Pressey, Green, etc have huge games tonight? While that would be very nice to see of course, I won't be cursing my big screen TV, or asking the nurses put some rum into my morphine drip line if our guys don't have a great game. It's just going to be a common occurrence of mediocre games by all of them at times. However, they will all grow this season in maturity, and that is a good thing (note the positivity here) unless they get traded (note the negativity here).
However, if most of our players actually have a terrible game tonight and/or we get blown out by these frozen extinct Canadian reptilians, then all of us on this blog will have plenty of excuses on which to dismiss these Game #1 misfortunes. We can soothe our mortal souls by summoning the "Excuse Gods" to our keyboards. The Excuse Gods provide many reasons in which to hide the true reality of the upcoming Celtic season. Excuses such as "it's only Game #1", or "this is a rebuilding year and we have to expect this type of performance on some nights", or "we have a fresh new coach, and the players haven't learned his system yet". Valid excuses? Ehhhh...maybe.
The true reality is that this Game #1 (win or lose) is an indication of NOTHING. It is certainly not as important as Game #1 of the past 5 seasons in which we so wanted to win every game possible including Game 1 to set the tone. Win or Lose tonight, those of you who predicted over 25 wins....well, it's going to be a long season for you while you wait on Victory #26 - Winter is Coming!
Yes, I am referencing the mini-series - Game of Thrones. I somehow got hooked on it last year. I am mad and as whiny as LeBron James gets when the whistle blows against him, that I have to wait until spring 2014 to see Season 3. So I have no relief once a week from the Celtic season this winter.
This upcoming Celtic season is a test of our mental stability (or mine anyway) for losing repeatedly and consistently. The cold gray sky outside will yield little sunshine on a tough season not witnessed for awhile in these parts of the woods (yes I am from the South.)
There will be losing by wide margins which will have you (or at least me)reaching the remote around the 6:00 minute mark of the 3rd Quarter. These kinds of blowout games are ones I will need to just quickly block out. If you take losing in blowouts like me, then I would suggest turning to the History Channel and seeing if you can find an episode of "Is Bigfoot Real" instead of searching for meaning in losing by 37 points.
There will also be losses in which our young players, and one or two relatively older players, will have flirted with a big upset only to be beat down and kicked in the teeth by a last second shot or horrible call. Those will hurt worse for me. I may be forced to watch an hour or two of C-Span or old Ali-Frazier fights to calm my anger after the game.
OK OK OK....Please don't click this article off just yet!!! Po's Doom and Gloom diatribe is about over. I think I can give you (or me) a branch to hang onto if you need one. I believe in the darkest of moments you can find a reason to root for something, and get your competitive juices flowing, and maybe even some trash talk spewing out.
I am a very competitive person in everything I do. I am sure many of you are as well. When people trash talk to me in a game of basketball or poker, or basically anything, I then have the natural testosterone reaction of finding my extra wind and turning up my game to the maximum level. I want to smash my opponent into the ground even more, and then stand over them and wag my index finger in their face like a big grinning Dikembe Mutombo who just swatted some paper away from the wastebasket. How does this apply to the Reptiles/Raptors of Toronto?
The CEO of the Banner-less Raptors a few days ago just gave the Celtics (or me at least) a reason to make Game #1 mean something. When I heard this I suddenly cared if we won Game #1
The Raptors CEO, Tim Leiweke recently decided to take time out his busy arrogant pointless day to mock the Celtics regarding their poor preseason record. He did this by calling out a Celtic fan at a Raptors preseason event by saying to him in front of the crowd "How's that preseason going for you" It was a fairly minor slam in context of NBA slams, but certainly enough to get this old Celtic fan upset. You can read about it here.
Mr. Raptor CEO, all wrapped up in his preseason banner of nothingness,really needed to slam another team this early? In preseason? Raptors of course have to wrap themselves up in a preseason banner because they are 17 short of the Celtics in real Championship Banners.Raptors are not going anywhere this season, except for walking around for 82 games in a circle waiting on another NBA season to make them extinct once again.
So as of now I really want to win this game tonight to send CEO Tim Wikileaks, or whatever his name is, a personal email message: "How's that first game of the "real season" going for ya Timmy"?
I think this is the kind of thing I am going to have to find each game to bring my competitive hate juices to a boil, and thus actually care if we win or lose.We won't be winning the war this year, but we can win some battles and wag the Mutombo finger a bit. Other times (and games) we are going to have to find the humor contained in a season of more losses than wins, and a season essentially about "nothing" really exciting.
I have still have humor left in these old bones of mine enough to laugh at getting our butts kicked, and I have quite a bit of finger wagging left in me as well. So, let's shut down Rudy Gay and DeRozan tonight with good swarming defense, and let the rest of those soon to be extinct no-name Raptors runaround in circles tonight lost and chasing their little reptilian tails. We surely can grab a victory tonight, wag our finger at CEO Timmy and then run for the border with Lucky and our Box of Lucky Charms. Lucky don't spill the cereal!!!We're going to need to need all of those pink hearts, yellow moons, and Green Clovers this season....every single one. Go Celtics and Celtic Pride.