Here's something you may not know about me, even after having read my blog for a few years: I'm a Boston Celtics fan. I wasn't always. In fact, up until two years ago, basketball was a sport I switched the channel on. But I met someone, and because in a relationship you have to pretend to like the things the other person likes, I nodded my way through endless monologues about the Celtics until one day I watched a game. And I was hooked.
You need three things to grow to love the Celtics the way I do. A good teacher; one who can talk endlessly about the sport, the history, the stats, the inside stories with an unparalleled passion. You need good sports writers; ones who can take a single game and write 6 different blog posts about it and have each one be different, ones who can have you sniffling at your desk as they write about their team more emotionally than a good love story. And finally, a team worth supporting; sportsmen with the talent, the passion and the heart, and that tinge of underdog, to keep you rooting for them long after it stops making sense.
But this, as we all know and refuse to accept, is the end of the Big 3 era; the end of the KG-Pierce-Allen triple threat. And just last week I sobbed quietly into my coffee at the thought of never getting to sit in TD Garden watching KG pound his chest and roar at the heavens; to never hold my breath for the 2 seconds it takes for an effortless 3 to leave Ray's hands and land in the basket, no rim; to never see Pierce raise the crowd to its feet.
And that's where we're at right now. Unbelievably, against all odds, the Celtics are heading into the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat. The Heat, with a Big Three of their own- LeBron, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh- are younger, faster, stronger and on paper, very capable of steamrolling the ageing, injured Celtics. But the one thing they lack, we have in spades: heart. We just want it more.
So why this embarrassingly sentimental post? Because we have to win. Because this is the last chance for the Big 3 to raise another banner. Because I will surely weep if we lose. And though there is the very real chance that the Heat will stomp all over us, and if not them, then the Spurs will clinically take us apart, or the Thunder will bodyslam us to the ground, when you're a Celtics fan, you just never stop believing.