Celtics Pride Remembered and Revived
I sit here watching the Celtics and Lakers compete in game two of the
NBA Finals, I’m experiencing flashbacks. I was a senior at Brookline
High School during the Celtics’ awesome 1985-1986 season, and I
remember that every Celtics game was truly an EVENT. “Let’s watch the
Celtics game — your house or mine?” You simply didn’t miss a game on
TV. Even as 17 year-olds, my friends and I were aware that we
were watching an historic team. My father, a basketball player himself
who, in 1954, was the center on the first college team ever coached by
Al McGuire, told me and my siblings all the time, “You will tell your
children about Larry Bird. He is one of the best ever. Why? Because he
makes his teammates better.” It was such a joy to watch that ’86 team
pass, shoot, and play as a TEAM. And do you recall? NO ONE beat the
Celtics at the Garden (well, they actually did lose a single game at
home that season, going 40-1). We were invincible at home.
I remember that my Brookline High School graduation took place
DURING GAME SIX of that year’s Finals, a game in which the Celtics beat
the Rockets to take the World Championship. The graduation speaker was
Kitty Dukakis (wife of the then-Massachusetts governor, and a Brookline
High graduate), but I didn’t hear a word she said, because the kid
sitting in front of me had a Sony Watchman (a rare possession at that
time) and we were glued to his black and white mini-tube. Everytime the
Celtics or Rockets scored, the new score would be passed through the
student body through lightning-quick whispers.
I also remember that Jim Craig (the goalie for the 1984 U.S.A. Olympic
ice hockey team) attended our graduation, and when I saw him there, I
ran home, got the Globe and Herald I had saved from the
day after the Miracle on Ice, brought them back to B.H.S. and asked
Craig to sign them, which he did. (What do you think these would fetch
on eBay?) I was much more excited about the Celtics’ victory over
Sampson and Olajuwon and about meeting Jim Craig than I was about my
graduation. Indeed, I probably wouldn’t remember anything at all about
that day were it not for the WAY I watched the clinching Finals game
and my encounter with gold medalist Jim Craig.
What will I remember 22 years from now about the 2008 NBA Finals?
Those two consecutive monster dunks I just saw by Leon Powe? Probably
not. Paul Pierce leaving the court in a wheelchair, then returning to
drain shot after shot? Perhaps. Kevin Garnett? Definitely. What a force
of nature he is. But often, what we remember about a championship is
related to where we were when the final game was clinched, who we were
with, or what circumstances were present in our lives on that day.
First, let’s win….. the memories will take care of themselves.
To download the songs, “I’m A Member of Red Sox Nation” and “Opening Day” for free, please visit my other blog, Crawdaddy Cove.