Dear Celtics: Casual Fan Searching for More
Remember the times we used to have?
I never played basketball growing up, I never followed the sport or a team closely until you came along. Originally, I never paid you much attention. I was young and naïve. The Red Sox had won two championships, the Patriots three. In the words of the immortal Jeff Solari, I just didn’t have the time for another team.
Then 2008 happened and I was hooked, along with the rest of a region, greedy for more championships. You were there for me when the Sox’ season came to an end, filling the weeknights with action and helping to ease the pain if god forbid the Pats slipped during the weekend.
After 234 wins, a pair of trips to the Finals and a championship in four years, the good times came crashing to an end. The aging “Big Three” disbanded, you handed the team to the semi-sociopath Rajon Rondo and the free fall commenced.
It was like a dying high school relationship, one which began with great times, but the honeymoon phase quickly faded as we wanted different things from the next stage of life. Let me be perfectly clear; it was you, not me.
I lost patience in the rebuilding process, in watching a group of misfit toys inexplicably make their way off the island and into the green and white. You went from must watch TV, to an afterthought, even getting leapfrogged by soccer, yes, soccer. I phased you out, no longer paying attention to your every move and failing to notice when you came back around.
It’s happened again. Tonight, your collective squad will step onto the parquet at TD Garden and tip off the 2016-17 campaign. A season that has snuck up after an off season which began with so much promise. The Kevin Durant sweepstakes was always a fantasy, but the draft picks offered hope of a blockbuster to be made. In the end, the off-season proved a flop.
I want to get excited for the season, I do, I just need you to hold up your end of the deal. Signing Al Horford was encouraging, but you’re basically paying him superstar money to consolidate production which the smorgasbord of ‘bigs’ Jared Sullinger, Amir Johnson and Tyler Zeller provided a year ago. But hey, look on the bright side, the city’s other $30 million-per-year athlete hasn’t set the bar too high.
I just want something more. Something more than a win total in the mid-40’s, to stay at the dance for more than just one song. All I’m asking for is a sign that this year will be different. I’m just getting out of a messy 6-month relationship which began in April and had the makings to continue deep into the fall, but ended all too quickly. I’m weary of diving back into a familiar situation.
Your chance to win me back begins tonight against the lowly Brooklyn Nets, a team a true contender would steamroll mercilessly. I don’t mean to sound needy, I’m just telling you what it’s going to take to make this work. Prove me wrong, show me you’re for real and let’s get back to the way things were, when “we” were “us”.
Mark Paulette is the PVC of The Drive weekdays from 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.