Thanks

If the “New Big Three” era in Boston ended last night, it was an awesome run.

  • 1 World Title
  • 2x Eastern Conference Champs
  • 5x Atlantic Division Champs

Probably my favorite team that I’ve ever been able to follow.

The Big Three
Image “borrowed” from ESPN.com

The Most Likable (and Hateable) Team in Basketball

The most likable team in basketball

That’s probably not, truly, an apt description of the 2012 Boston Celtics, but that’s how I feel about them. As an NBA fan, a Celtics season ticket holder for five years now (and already renewed for the sixth), I’ve been lucky enough to see the Celtics at their most recent peak. As a long time Celtics fan (going back to the ’84 team, when my favorite player was DJ), I had the great fortune of being spoiled in my formative years, watching the Big Three (original flavor) and the great Lakers/Celtics battles.

I then had the misfortune of watching the Celtics muddle through the 90s and a good part of the early 2000s, right as I was getting my own disposable income. Now I could buy my own seat to watch Vitaly Potapenko or Alaa Abdelnaby, and a bunch of really, really bad Celtics teams. And not even likably bad, when a team tries hard and has a bunch of young players. Just bad. No ball movement, isolation, do-your-own-thing-bad.

I think that’s why I gravitated so much to the Walker/Pierce Celtics of 2002. It’s why I have an Antoine Walker jersey. The post-Pitino teams coached by Jim O’Brien worked hard, did the little things, and willed their way to an Eastern Conference Finals. They were a likable team because, even though they didn’t play great basketball, they did all the little things that makes you like a team: hustle, help teammates up, take charges, etc.

They were likable.

But now I sit here, at 1 am on a Monday morning, knowing I have to work in 7 hours, writing about a team that has a ridiculously special place in my heart. A space the same size as the 2004 Red Sox have. This Celtics team (from 2007 until now) is loathed, outright loathed, by many NBA fans. And that’s why, to us, they’re so likable.

They’re loathed not in a LeBron James/Miami Heat way, but in a “man, I hate that guy, but I wish he was on my team” way.

And, again, that’s why they’re likable. Lovable, even.

The last few weeks have been an example of that. They are an old team—whenever they do the starting lineup intros, I’m always amazed that the last three guys, Allen-Garnett-Pierce, have played 15-16-14 years in the league. They’re hurt—KG’s never been quite the same since he blew up his knee; Ray is on a bum ankle; Pierce is playing with a sprained knee. They push and they shove and they dive and they take charges. They talk trash. They take bad shots on one possession, and then run the most beautiful plays on the next possession. They’re run by a point guard who is so mercurial and so talented that even when he’s turning in a triple double, the home fans wonder if he’s even really trying.

This team should have been dead and buried a number of times. But they keep coming. They find new ways to win. They find new ways to piss off opposing teams and opposing fans. They legitimately feel like they have a connection to the fans. I know KG might end up somewhere else next year, but he’s really made me, made us, feel like if he does, we’ll still be his real peeps.

I don’t know how else to describe it. I don’t think I’ve even done a good job describing it. It is just a feeling you have when you start to feel like maybe you really are the 6th man on the floor. When you think “maybe if I yell a bit louder, they will try a bit harder”, and it seems to work. When the 9th man, 10th man, 15th man on the team comes up with big plays day after day.

They are a team made up of players where opposing fans say “man, I hate that guy, but I wish he was on my team.” We hated Mickael Pietrus before he came to Boston, and now we (mostly) love him. Tonight’s game is a perfect example. I think he may have committed 15 bad fouls and airballed 42 3s, but he got two straight massive offensive rebounds. Because that’s what this team does.

I loved the 2007-08 team. But I may love this team more. They shouldn’t be in the Eastern Conference Finals. They shouldn’t be tied 2 games apiece. I shouldn’t be sitting here, still sweaty and wired from being at the Garden, writing about this team.

But I am.

We’ve got at least two more games with them, and I hope, a bunch more after that. I’m not ready to lose these guys yet. I need to see more KG knuckle pushups, more Marquis Daniels flexing, more of everything about this team that makes them so damn enjoyable to watch.

Unless you root for the other team. Then you hate them.

Spring is for Concerts

Spring is for concerts

That’s a famous quote, eh?

Actually, it’s not. While “Spring is for” turns up something like 2.3 billion results on the Google, “Spring is for concerts” turns up two. And, coincidentally, one of those results happens to refer to a different stop on of a tour that spawned this post.

Did that make sense?

Regardless of the nonsensicalness of the previous couple of sentences, I’ve seen a bunch of shows this spring (both with and without my wonderful girlfriend). Much of that has been documented on ye old Twitter and previously on ye old blog.

But, we lucked into some good seats to a couple of really great shows, and felt that it deserved a bit of verbage.

A little over a week ago, I saw Nada Surf play for the fifth or sixth time. As always, they were just fantastic. There are bands that just know how to play to a crowd and they connect in that way where it’s not just the music, but you feel like you’re actually hanging out with a big group of people and experiencing something unique (even if it’s quite likely they pull off the same schtick in every city). Nada Surf is always like that.

This time did feel a bit more unique, as they covered a tune by The Gravel Pit (a Boston band they toured with back in the day), which probably doesn’t happen everywhere (though, judging by setlists, at least happened in New York as well.)

Nada Surf

About a week later, the girlfriend and I went to see Snow Patrol. There’s a bit of backstory here. This was sort of our “bonding” band, as 2005-era Snow Patrol was a perfect bridge band between poppier music and “indie rock.” So, they’re kind of a foundation for our relationship.

Go us.

A few years back, we got ok seats to see Snow Patrol open for U2 at Gillette Stadium. We left super early so we could get to our seats and catch the opener. What could go wrong?

3.5 hours of traffic (on what should be a 40 minute drive) got us to the arena in time to have Snow Patrol leave the stage.

Perfect.

Cut to a couple of months ago. Snow Patrol sold out The Orpheum, but I found some “obstructed view” seats on StubHub.

Turns out, we were obstructed by the stage. Probably the best seats I’ve ever had for a “big” show. And, with the exception of not playing “Spitting Games”, Snow Patrol were another band that made a big, likely routine for them, show feel somewhat unique and intimate.

Being in the front row didn’t hurt.

Snow Patrol

Lights!

The Live Music, as the Kids Say

Over the past few months, my concert going (attending “the live music”) has ticked up. And it’ll pick up even more over the next couple of months with shows by Kaiser Chiefs, Fanfarlo, Delta Spirit, and We Were Promised Jetpacks (and I think a couple of other shows I can remember).

Since I don’t have much else to say, here’s some video from some recent shows.

The Sheila Divine

The Parkington Sisters (covering Radiohead!)

Fanfarlo

We Were Promised Jetpacks

Earthquake, Hurricanes, and Castles. Oh My!

Monday: Arrive in Edinburgh. Forget that the city is built on bridges. Spend 45 minutes walking around (actually, over) our hotel until I realize I’m a moron. Also, didn’t realize ahead of time that the reason it was so expensive to stay in the city is that there’s a massive festival going on.

Tuesday: Go off to explore the city. Check Twitter at the hotel and realize that the East Coast got hit with an earthquake. Wonder if anything fell down at our place? (Nope.) Taste a bunch of different scotch whiskys. Awesome. I’m particular to the Islays and Speysides.

From the castle

Wednesday: Climb Arthur’s Seat, wearing neither the right shoes nor the proper clothing. Still pretty awesome. Eat a very very good lamb burger.

Steps to Arthur's Seat

Thursday: More random city exploring, including a visit to the very cool Camera Obscura and the National Museum of Scotland.

From the top of the Camera Obscura Building

Friday: We grab a tour across Scotland to Stirling Castle and Loch Katrine. It rains (first time on the whole trip it really rained). When we get home, we realize that Hurricane Irene is going to make our lives miserable (i.e. our flight was already canceled). Make a billion dollar phone call to Delta and get our flights switched to Saturday, rather than Sunday.

Cool

Saturday: Get to the airport very very early. Which turns out to be a blessing, as they can’t find our reservation. An hour or so of phone calls and computer wizardry gets us on our flight to Paris, but rather than a 1 hour layover, we’ve now got a 7 hour layover. And what is probably the last flight to Boston.

Sunday: Slept in my own bed. Turns out Hurricane Irene is all bluster. Some leaves down, some rain, but a pretty quiet day of photo uploading, laundry, and detox. And this blather.