[Steps up on soapbox, clears throat]
I was sick of this topic the moment it was a topic (which was immediately after The Trade). I knew it would only get worse as the season wore on and I was right. There are times when I've been able to largely block it out or keep it on the peripheral of my line of sight but it has never really gone away.
I'm only going to address this one more time this year. Not because I think I can add anything else to the debate. By now you've read smarter people than me discussing the semantics of tanking, potential solutions to tanking, and a fundamental look at how much of a problem it really is (compared to other systemic issues). I consider those topics covered.
What I'm more concerned with is how it is impacting this community right here on CelticsBlog. For some reason this has become a polarizing topic that divides us into camps and raises blood pressure on both sides. Brothers battle brothers in a verbal civil war where nobody wins (pun intended).
Forgive me, but I can't help but throw my hands up in the air and exclaim "who cares???" What a bunch of sound and fury signifying nothing. This isn't religion or politics or matters of significant importance. This is a game played by millionaires for a team owned by billionaires. The paying customer is valued, celebrated, and at times pandered to, but when it boils down to it, they aren't making decisions based on how you or I choose to root.
The pro-tanking crowd (if there is such a defined segment of the fanbase) will not cosmically alter a potential game winning shot by hoping that it doesn't go in. The anti-tanking crowd isn't winning any karma points for smugly proselytizing the concept of "playing the right way."
Shockingly enough, I don't subscribe to either party. My fandom is simply more nuanced than that. I'm rooting for the team to win because that's what I do. When the team loses, I take comfort (and sometimes even relief) in the fact that they picked up ping pong balls that might just benefit us long term. Do I get any bonus points for this fence sitting? Should I be knocked down a peg for being unable to pick a side? Hogwash to both those questions. A plague on both your houses!
I root how I want to root because I'm an individual and that is my right. Everyone on here is different and approaches the game their own way. For some, if the team isn't winning a Championship, it is failing, period. Some enjoy the ride a little more. Some people live in Boston and come from a family that has rooted for the Celtics for generations. Some live halfway around the globe and picked the team completely by chance. There is no caste system in sports. There are no penalties for being "fair-weather" and there's no path to enlightenment for the so called "true fans."
There is, however, a unique bond that we have as fans of the same team. Regardless of race, religion, age, occupation, location, or anything else, we are united under the banner of being Celtics fans. You are here because you enjoy watching ginormous men throw a synthetic leather ball into a metal ring with strings hanging from it. You are here because you prefer the team that wears a different color jersey than the other teams. But you are also here because the Celtics are awesome. The Celtics are more than just a team, they are a historic institution with an amazing tradition and an amazing fanbase.
We're extremely spoiled because we have more championships than any other basketball franchise and we've had recent success as well. This year has been hard on us all and as much as I'd like to hope that we'll bounce back quickly, there's always a chance that it could take some time.
So rather than digging bunkers and lobbing grenades into other people's purported camps, let's try to connect and commiserate and compliment each other. We all have our eyes on the next banner, we all root for the same team so that should be a unifying force. On the flipside, there are as many opinions on how our team should reach our goals for them as there are people. The options before us are endless and the next fork in the road will lead to countless other forks and we'll have ample opportunities to voice our opinions of which forks to take. That's all part of the fun.
So by all means, state your opinion, back up that opinion, and engage in friendly debate. Just remember to listen to the other side, allow for opinions that vary from your own, and above all show respect to everyone.
There's only 10 games left and at the end of that time all this tanking talk will be moot anyway. So let's hunker down, look for encouraging signs of improvement, point out troubling things that need to be addressed in the offseason, and watch Boston Celtics basketball. We've got a long offseason ahead to discuss the next steps, but we've only got a few actual games left. So let's enjoy them the best we can.
[Steps down off of soapbox]