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A Day For the Plus-Minus Master

A Daily Babble Production

The heretofore unsung key to the Boston Celtics' first championship in 22 years did not play a minute in the 2008 playoffs.  In fact, her career resume features a total of zero NBA games played.

But to slightly edit something Michael Lewis wrote about the Rockets' Shane Battier earlier this season, when Mama Weinman watches the Celtics, they seem to acquire some magical ability to win.

To my knowledge, Mother of Son of The Guru only watched the Celts twice back in 2006-07, attending a win in New York in November and then a miserable loss to the Clippers in December of that campaign.  While .500 isn't championship-level basketball, it's a world better than the .288 clip at which the Celts played when not under the watchful eye of MoSoTG in that miserable 24-58 season.

Fast forward to last season.  With the Celtics fielding a more competent cast on the court, Mama Weinman began to really bring her A-game from the living room.

Over the course of the 66-win dream season, she developed a knack for arriving to the television just when the Celtics needed a spurt.  So many times, I was informed during my customary postgame phone call that Mom had plopped down to witness a double-digit Celtics burst to hold down the fort while The Guru dozed off in the midst of the second half, only to have her re-awaken him to see the end of a come-from-behind victory. 

During the playoffs, Mama Weinman's powers only grew.  Though I wasn't in New York at the time, legend has it that she rolled into her spot on the recliner couch in the middle of the second quarter of Game 5 against Cleveland, just in time to defuse a 12-point Cavs lead. 

Four days later, when I made my first postseason appearance in her living room for Game 7 of that series, Mom left The Guru and I to our own devices until the game got a bit too close for comfort in the fourth quarter.  Upon seeing a Cleveland basket as she walked into the room, she decided that her services were needed once more.  A few minutes later, Paul Pierce's free throw bounced high off the back rim and fell in, and the Celtics booked their trip to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Through the rest of the playoffs, MoSoTG continued to develop her uncanny influence over goings-on in basketball arenas hundreds of miles away.   She would hover intermittently through the first two and a half quarters, occasionally drifting over from grading papers or intently studying the Scrabble dictionary to prep for her next battle with yours truly.  Whenever she would pass through, she would always remind us, "I'm here if you need me.  Just let me know if the team needs my help tonight."

Jjust as she intimated, Mom's appearance on the trusty old recliner would almost without fail lead to some inspired defensive play or a beautiful screen-and-roll for a Kevin Garnett dunk.  It soon became evident that she led both the team and the Weinman family in plus-minus.

And you had better believe she was around throughout the evening of the Celtics' 39-point thrashing of the Lakers in Game 6 of the 2008 Finals.

As I wrote to her this morning, that her instrumental role in the Celtics' 2008 championship is worlds away from the most important part of our relationship says a lot about how much Mama Weinman means to me.  I've got a never-ending list of thank-yous owed, starting with one for her unconditional love and support.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!  Hope it's a great one that marks the start of another fine trip through the calendar as the glue of the Weinman family - and that you'll be back at home for Game 4 tonight.

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