Monday, November 10, 2014

Love, Cookies, and The Celtics

When will the Celtics find their next banner?
By Shaun Whalen (@TheSPFW)

I am young(ish), broke, don’t have a girlfriend, and am entering my first year as a season ticket holder for a Boston Celtics team that can best be described as “feisty”, “defensive minded”, and “at least they’re not the Sixers.”

I bought the tickets on as much of a whim as you can when you spend that much money. Caught in the rally of optimism that Danny Ainge would find a way to lure Kevin Love to The Bean, my soon-to-be roommate (who doubles as a Lucky the Leprechaun doppelganger) and I decided to buy the tickets “as an investment”. This decision took less than thirty minutes from inception to him piling the cost on his credit card and stealing all the reward points that came with that exorbitant figure. It helped the ticket rep we both spoke to “sounded REALLY hot.”  (She is, by the way.)

Needless to say, KLove didn’t find his way to Boston. And when he does finally make it to play the Celts, Lucky and I have decided to sell those tickets because we are just so broke. His girlfriend—to her credit—has maintained decorum and not yelled at us for this investment. She will undoubtedly make her way to a game or four, continually yell at Kelly Olynyk for his MMBop hair, and generally put up with our basketball nonsense.

But why?

Why in the name of God are we following a team that will—even in our wildest, over-the-top-optimistic dreams—get their asses kicked in the first round of the playoffs? Why did I spend money that should be paying for health and car insurance to buy these season tickets? Stupidity is an answer, but then I am not a stupid man. There is something to be said about getting in on the ground floor, sure. Something about spending time together, an experience we could never have again, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, etc.

Someone once explained that love was like pressing a button that says “cookie” and having a bird shit on you. Then you press the button again and you get shit on again. And then you press the button again and you get a cookie and it’s the most delicious, wonderful, decadent, chewy, unforgettable, toe-curling, orbit-shattering cookie you’ve ever had. And then when you’re done with the cookie, you press the button again, but you get shit on. But that cookie is SO DAMN GOOD, you keep pressing the button no matter how many times you get shit on.

I guess falling in love and rooting for your favorite team aren’t completely dissimilar.

And I want that goddamn cookie.

I want it champagne soaked with a cigar hanging out of my mouth. I want it covered in green and white confetti. I want the cookie to be dropped from the rafters with a big, fat glazed 18 on it. 

I watched 17 in drunken revelry at a friend’s house in Connecticut because I was still too young to get into a bar. I saw my Ray Allen of Huskylore with his impeccable J reigning from afar.  KG’s manic competiveness—currently dimmed in his hardwood weary body—outpouring in his now (and even in-the-moment) mocked “Anything is possible.” I saw Paulie in all his green and glory raise the MVP trophy as I handed my brother a twenty; our annual playoff pool had come down to who would win the Finals MVP…he took Paul, I KG.

That group should have won two, maybe three. I somehow still believe had Perk not gotten hurt….that DWade purposefully flung himself onto Rondo’s elbow…

I am years removed from my first team—Rookie Rondo, Bassy, and Delonte running point, Big Al and Paul being benched in search of one of the two of Greg Oden or Kevin Durant, tanking as it was done before Hinkie. I had CSN for the first time in my life, figured I would get in on the bottom floor of a bad team, and I stumbled into a championship.

Maybe part of me is hoping for some of the same. I have sat through the hideousness: Ray choosing the hated Heat; KG and Paul deteriorating before mine eyes; the Jordan Crawford experience; Jeff Green as Scorer #1; Vitor Faverani; Tanking gone gross; Rondo playing better Connect 4 than basketball.

Our age of information demands realism and I am nothing if not realistic when it comes to basketball. This team won’t bring me that cookie, my first as a season ticket holder. But this team is going to be fun. They really are going to be a menace defensively. They are going to work their asses off. Brad Stevens is going to step into the kitchen and they’re gonna start Smarting the eggs, Sullying the flour. We’ll Rondo the mixture if only for a moment because (God bless that alien-looking weirdo) he’s gonna be on the move soon, bringing in more ingredients to make the cookie. And when he walks out of that door—and the first time he walks back in—we’re going to thank him for the kneading he did to bring us A Cookie a few years ago. So forgive my indulgence, I am in search of decadence and bliss.

So wake up, Celtics and the NBA. It’s time to make The Cookie. 

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