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Do the Celtics deserve devoted fans anymore?

(I’m going to come right out and say upfront that I’m going to catch flack for this article. I’m going to offend the Celtics and a good percentage of it’s fans with what I’m about to write. With that said, I’m writing it anyways. It needs to be said. Normally the optimist, I’ve had enough)

Since the 85-86 season, which is the last time the Celtics hung a banner(#16), our overall record for the following 20 years is only 18 games over .500 (813-795). If you take the last 10 years, which has shown a marked progression in the wrong direction, the Celtics are an absurd 92 games under .500 (348-440). So far this season, we’re 5-10 and in 5th place in the Atlantic.

If you take the average length of a game (guestimate only) of 2 hours, those of you who turn on the tube religiously every game to watch the craptactular show the Celtics have been putting on, you’ve spent roughly 9800 minutes(or 160+ hours) every season. If you’re like me and have been doing it for at least the last 2 decades since #16 was hung, you’ve spent 196,800 minutes(or 3280 hours) of your life devoted to the Celtics. In my case, like Jeff, the staff here and on many other websites, I’ve also spent thousands of hours devoted to articles, forum management, chat, etc.. Just for giggles, lets throw in all the League Pass subscriptions, tickets, jersey and merchandise sales, etc. into the mix (which I can’t even begin to quantify with numbers but keep in mind that Wyc’s group purchased the team for a reported $350 million).

All this time, money and energy into a product that has, at least for the last 10 years, been completely subpar. Why do we continue to do it?

I’ll digress for a moment from all the stats to remind everyone who might have left the planet for a month or so that THE ICON, THE essence of the Celtic Nation, The man largely responsible for making the Celtics “BannerTown” NBA, Red Auerbach passed away just prior to the season opener. This profound and irreplacable loss has been greeted with an opening night loss and a 5-10 record to open the campaign.

I see the Shamrock on the uniforms which memorializes Red and I simply want to puke. Why? Because in this fans opinion, it means absolutely nothing. The current installment of the Celtics are disgracing his memory and everything the man worked so hard to accomplish. Harsh words, I know, but I just have to say it.

Two generations have been born into the Celtic Nation since the last Championship. I refer to them as “new age fans”. Those who fall into that category, please don’t be offended by that moniker, it’s only a reference to the fact that you’ve literally come into the nation in a new age. An age which has not experienced the sublime pleasure of winning it all. New age fans mostly know “the little things” like the ill fated ECF run (which BTW cost us one Joe Johnson) and a couple of minor milestones which are generally meanless in the larger scope of things.

We of the Celtic Nation are now all relegated to deriving pleasure from “the little things”. Players like Mark Blount putting up a 20 rebound effort or some othe player having a big game and then disappearing for long stretches. It’s these minescule feats that are now made into mountains of accomplishments by a fan base that is absolutely starved for anything that resembles progress. We’re told “we’re rebuilding and it takes time”. In the meantime, we’re treated to such nightly delights as one of the highest turnover ratios in the NBA, bad shots, no rebounding and a plethora of bad coaching decisions, game management and personel decisions. That last part isn’t all on just Doc Rivers, who in my opinion needs to be fired, because Doc is just the latest installment of lame duck coaches. ML Carr, Rick Pitino, Jim O’Brien and John Carroll are just some of the most recent examples.

This team is in neutral at best and parked on a steep hill with no working parking brakes. When does it start to turn around? When do the fans finally get to see something akin to REAL PROGRESS? When will mediocrity no longer be part of our credo?

I’m relatively old school and been around for 5 championships, which in my opinion, still makes me one of the young pups. My insane devotion to a product which continues to provide diminishing returns still pales in comparison to those who have been part of the Nation as much as 3-4 decades longer. If I’m this disappointed in our current product, I can only imagine the sadness they are feeling. They got to experience the greatest franchise in the association in it’s prime and then got to watch it degrade into is current incarnation. Longevity, as a fan of any team, generally brings about an acceptance that mediocrity is part of the overall history. After all, without losing, there can be no appreciation for winning. Too bad new age fans only understand half the equation.

My question to you is, how much longer should we accept losing? I know I’m damn sick of it. Sick of seeing an ever growing disregard for fundamental play and teamwork. Sick of seeing bad coaching decisions cost us games. Sick of young players not giving a damn about about improving thier play or seemingly anything but endorsement deals and cashing thier paycheck. Sick of seeing my love and devotion to this team be treated with such complete disregard by it’s players, coaches and management. I want results and I want them soon.

So, getting back to the question posed in the title of this piece: Do the Celtics deserve devoted fans anymore? Sure they do, but those who have lost faith and bolted have a legitimate grounds to back thier actions, which no reasonable person should fault them for. This particular fan is still hanging in there and will continue to out of loyalty. However, make no mistake, the currrent state of affairs with this team is deplorable and needs to be righted now. Not just because losing stinks, but because WE DESERVE BETTER.

Let the tirades begin…..