Thanksgiving is coming this week and you know what that means: Smalltalk!
You will be around people you don’t see very often and one of the things they know about you is that you love the Celtics. You can almost see the gears turning in their heads as they first see you.
“He likes the Celtics a lot [maybe more than is healthy but I guess it is better than most addictions]. Hey! The Celtics are doing really well, ...I think. There’s some kind of winning streak that the news talks about between Patriots and Red Sox updates. I’ll ask him about that.”
They’ll hit you with an opening salvo along the lines of “Hey, how about those Celtics, huh?” Just to see if their memory is correct without overcommitting to the subject.
At this point you really have to make a judgement call. How much does this person really want to know? Are they just being polite? Do they follow the Celtics at all? Are they a casual fan that you could convert into a full fledged diehard like me? What if I scare them away by being a little TOO into the team?
Here’s my veteran advice for you. Take it slow, don’t overdo it. We all know that you could launch into a heartfelt soliloquy on the Celtics that would make the Bard proud, but save that for CelticsBlog. Keep it cool and start slow.
Hit them with a sheepish grin and say something along the lines of “Yeah, they just keep winning. I don’t know how long it will last but it sure has been fun.” See, that’s not too much information and it will make them feel better that they know something about this Celtics thing.
If you are lucky, they’ll follow up with something along the lines of “So how are they winning all these games after Hayward got injured?” That confirms that you are the expert in the room and they are giving you the floor.
Again, I caution you against launching into a long diatribe about Al Horford’s place in the darkhorse MVP discussion and the enigma of Marcus Smart’s plus-minus numbers. There’s no faster way to make someone’s eyes glaze over than to start quoting advanced metrics. I know, I’ve been there.
Instead, hit them with some big picture stuff. Like, “well, they are really playing really well on defense and Kyrie Irving is an amazing scorer.” Then perhaps something like “they have two young guys [Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum] that are stepping up with Hayward out.” Oh, and don’t forget to give a shout out to Brad Stevens. Never hurts to give him a little more name recognition when it comes to awards season.
If they still look interested, you can drop some fun factoids on them like “did you know that they only have 4 players returning from last year’s team?” And “last year they were one of the worst rebounding teams in the league and this year they are one of the best.”
At that point, it is only polite for you to think about a subject that they are passionate about (note: I’m terrible at remembering to do this, so this is also a reminder to myself). Think about what they always seem to be doing and ask a few leading questions about it. You never know, you might really enjoy learning about dirtbike racing or deep sea fishing or slow-cooker-smoker thing-a-ma-bobs that your relatives rave about all the time.
And if you find your own eyes glazing over, just daydream about how good Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are going to be in a couple of years. That alone should put a smile on your face.
Enjoy your Holidays folks. Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for being part of CelticsBlog!