Monday, November 13, 2006

expectations losing altitude...

I had the good fortune of getting to cover the Boston Celtics on their championship run, during the NBA season of '83-84, for Community Radio at MIT (yes, that MIT), and which culminated in maybe the best 7-game series in the league's history. Of course the Celts triumphed over the Kareem & Magic Lakers four games to three; the fans' rallying cry of "Henderson stole the ball!"

Some of my greatest memories involve sitting in the press-box high above courtside at the old Boston Gahden, hob-knobbing and bantering with the likes of Johnny Most, Marv Albert and Will McDonough; a favorite memory being inside the Celtic locker-room after they had soundly beat the Milwaukee Bucks in an earlier playoff game. Danny Ainge's locker stall was next to Larry Bird's. Ainge had already left, but Bird was always the last to leave due to a usual throng of reporters that would surround him for yet another soundbite. And Bird always towered over the lesser mortals, a scene reminiscent of Gulliver and the Lilliputians.

That night, I couldn't get near him through the humanity, so I circumnavigated over to Ainge's stall, and, using his metal folding chair, stood up beside the 6'9" Larry Legend, who was, at that moment, turned away. When I threw out my question, he jumped, startled to see a reporter eyeball to eyeball. His reaction drew chortles from the reporters and he shook his head in bemused relief. I still have a tape of the exchange. Thinking of posting it... as soon as I, uhm, figure out the podcast process here.

I remember this in reflection of yesterday's truly mediocre performance by Tom Brady and the lackluster Patriots against the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets, I'm still in a bit of a sports-induced malaise this monday morning. The sports pages are no fun to read when your team sucks the pipe the day before. Be it as it may, there will be no armchair quarterbacking for me here; Brady has earned at least a full season of mediocrity before I even think of barking up his tree.

And I mention the Celtics prior for they too had a nice run of championships during the 80s (as well as the 70s & 60s), whose ride I most certainly enjoyed. Consequently, I'm a fellow who has developed the proper perspective. After decades of cultivating a vociferous fanaticism for the Sox, Pats & Celtics, I'm now rather sanguine in simply watching and enjoying, and not getting so purple with appolexia whenever events trend awry. In short, it's been sweet.

I wonder, however, if I'd feel that way if my appetite were never sated by those championships never experienced by, say, a living Cubs fan.

This is not to say, of course, that Belichick won't snap out of his gloom, and that Rodney Harrison won't be back to kick some secondary tail in time for a decent, if not great, playoff run, but a two-game losing streak by these N.E.Pats is a splash of cold water to this Boston sports kibitzer's face.

Something Bob Ryan wrote recently about fearing a Pats' decline, after a kick-butt first half, resembling this past season's Red Sox debacle. Could be worse, I suppose: Chontos, for example, says "I'm liberated!" from any further concern for his precious 'Skins, who totally shat the bed once again, and this time yesterday against the hated Eagles. Good to get out on a Sunday afternoon, eh? And while the gettin's good.

But -- Oh hey! -- Are the Sox actually going to get Matsuzaka??

Hot Stove Hot Stove Hot Stove... *cough*... !

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