Celtics Life submission #2

The following article was written as submissions to the Boston Celtics siteCeltics Life, who are accepting open applications for a position on their writing staff.  I figured I’d give it a shot.  I started out writing about sports once upon a time.  I’d love to get back into writing about sports.  Cross your fingers for me.  And, since I’ve always been a terrible headline writer, hook me up with a headline, too.  Thanks for reading, cheers.

The Brad Stevens era is set to begin in Boston.

The Brad Stevens era is set to begin in Boston.

For the past six years, being a Boston Celtics fan has been pretty easy.  Good coaching, good teams.  The Celtics were a team of veterans who played well together and did all the cliche things: made extra passes, sacrificed scoring averages.  With the exception of the stories we hear now about our point guard not getting along with the coaches or his teammates or even the general manager, Boston basketball was relevant again for the right reasons.

But I have to admit something:  I’m more excited about the upcoming 2013-2014 season than I have been for any season since 2007-2008 when Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett joined Paul Pierce in green and white.

This may sound odd.  Before I go further, it hurts me that Pierce left.  I wish I could have watched him play his entire career in the gym on Causeway Street.  It’ll be a sad homecoming when he plays in the Garden after having gotten dressed in the visitors locker room, but expect a standing ovation not just from the crowd, but in barrooms and living rooms across New England.

That being said, I’m ready for the Bradley Stevens-era to begin.  I’ve long thought that collegiate basketball is a more authentic version of the game, a better brand of basketball.  But, I do understand that there’s something special about watching the very best at anything whether it’s a point guard conducting an offense or a conductor leading an orchestra.  Hopefully, Stevens can bring the enthusiasm and like-ability of the college game to Boston.

(Quick side note: every year, a friend and I choose a mid-major conference to follow.  Our reason is simple.  We want to bet on their conference tournaments.  So we hunker down and follow teams whose nicknames we don’t know.  In 2009-2010, I happened to follow the Horizon League, where the Butler Bulldogs reigned supreme.  They came within inches of beating the Duke Blue Devils in the title game.

Their coach, Brad Stevens, impressed me.  Young, calm, and composed, their head coach brought them back to the title game for a second time the next year.  Even as I went on to follow other mid-major conferences, I kept an eye on Bradley and the Bulldogs.  As a long time college sports atheist, I now had a rooting interest.)

And now we, Celtics fans, have a reason to be excited for the future, not this year or even next year, but going forward.  We’ve come to expect instantaneous turnaround as sports fans.  We can’t expect that here.  We can, though, have high expectations.  I’m thrilled by the hiring of Stevens.

There are two other reasons why I’m anticipating this season more than any other recent seasons.  First, we knew what to expect the last few seasons.  We had an aging team that couldn’t really compete with Miami or Indiana or Chicago or even the Knicks.  We could maybe win a series, or at least scare another teams locker room.  We got through the regular season on veteran panache, the postseason on reputation.  But, realistically, we knew what we had.  We were a second-round ceiling team which is like being ranked third in your graduating class: you’ll earn respect, but you still won’t be speaking at graduation.  There are a lot of us who loved that core of players, that coach.  However, loyalties and love can only take a fan so far.  Eventually, we want the microphone, too.

Celtics fans hope Rajon Rondo can turn into a leader this season.

Celtics fans hope Rajon Rondo can turn into a leader this season.

Secondly, there’s something special about watching a young team grow, bond and learn success.  We have a good example of that right across town on Lansdowne Street.  A lot depends on Rajon Rondo, who’ll need to quell his perpetual petulance and take over as a leader.  I know he has the skills as a player, and I’m optimistic he has the intangibles as a leader.  As a fan, I hope this team can gel in a way that’ll lead to eventual success under their young coach.

As Celtic fans know well, college success doesn’t always equate to pro success.  But if we have a group of players who buy into the system, embrace the squad for what it is and it’s actual, unalloyed potential, we’ll be just fine.  If we have a front office and a fan base that shows patience and an unadulterated loyalty and let this Brad Stevens hire evolve, there could be some exciting times on the horizon.

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9 responses to “Celtics Life submission #2”

  1. 0utdoorGuy says :

    Well written my friend, but as a REAL fan, I’m skeptical that a fan base as impatient as Boston will be on board for an inevitable rebuild. You’re talking about the same fan base that booed the Patriots yesterday after an uninspiring, poorly played first quarter. Haven’t the Patriots earned enough respect over the past 14 years with Brady and Belichick to not get booed at the first sign of adversity? I’m afraid the answer is no, at least, to these fans. Sort of like your response to generation Y, we do expect a better life. We expect our house to be big, our car to be foreign, our jobs to be fulfilling, and god damn it, our sports teams to be in contention every year. This is America. Is that too much to ask? Go Celtics!

    • matthewmosgood says :

      I think there is a dissonance, though, between fans and people who can afford to go to games. There will always be fans unhappy.

      Maybe you’re right. Maybe we are setting Stevens up to fail with this situation. I hope not because I think in the long run it will work.

  2. Keith Gormley says :

    This has been my standard response when asked about the approaching season:

    “This year, the Boston Celtics will be the 5 seed in the playoffs and beat the Knicks in the 1st round. Rajon Rondo & Jeff Green will both be all stars. Rondo will be 1st team all-NBA, and will lead the league in assists and triple doubles. Move along, no re-build to see here.”

    After watching a few pre-season games, I am a little bit shaky on Jeff Green. I know he has the potential and talent to live up to my hype… now he needs to do it.

    If Rondo isn’t back by xmas, I may miss on the 1st team NBA prediction as well.

    But hey, I’m an optimist – I think they can reach the 2nd round of the playoffs. Go Sox!

    • matthewmosgood says :

      How do you think they’re going to respond to Brad Stevens? I love the guy, but it’s always tough to gauge how professionals are going to take to a “college coach.”

      Do you think we have patient enough fans in Boston to endure a season (or three) that might not turn out the way you expect it to?

  3. Christian says :

    The greatest thing about being a Celtic fan is that for the most part we aren’t so end of the world crazy like Sox fans. When they suck we are ok with them sucking because we are just accustomed to them reloading – don’t anyone ever mention Rick Fox to me though.

    But I am very excited for this new era, the NBA is different now – it is all about playing D, hitting threes and shooting free throws. Something Brad Stevens is a master at. I think we need to keep Rondo long term because he can help reign in the guys that might not follow a guy like Stevens and we need to be patient. Because there is a good chance we might be terrible this year but I agree – if healthy and clicking we could actually surprise some teams. Jeff Green is the key and this is going to be either his breakout or the realization that he is just a really good complimentary piece.

    • matthewmosgood says :

      And this is going to sound like I’m blasting Red Sox fans (and maybe I am to a degree), but we saw how true Red Sox fans really were when they were awful last year. There were a lot of people who didn’t even watch the games after a certain point.

      Now, I’m looking forward to seeing the fans claim they stuck with this team all along. Most of them will be lying.

      Having said that, I’m a fair-weather fan. I’ve watched 11 games this year, all coming in the ALCS and the World Series. Granted, I’d watch those two series if the Red Sox weren’t in them, just with less enthusiasm. I want the Red Sox to win and I’ll celebrate if they do.

    • matthewmosgood says :

      Secondly, good assessment on Stevens: Defense, good open looks, and free throws. I think this guy is a stud coach. This was a no-risk move. He succeeds, awesome; he fails, he goes to coach anywhere in the country at the collegiate level.

      I’m sincerely hoping for the former.

      • Christian J Cabrera says :

        Exactly – This is why I also don’t get too upset with Danny. Sometimes he has a quick trigger finger – but he’s always looking to improve the team. It might not be immediate but in the long run it almost always works out.

        Stevens is perfect for the C’s in my eyes – the fans that will love him will be the knowledgeable ones, the fans that don’t love him will be the brash they don’t love anything unless we are 82-0 fans. Again – great pick up hopefully we move the bums that aren’t going to be doing anything for assets. I also think that his even demeanor is great for the young Celtics because let’s face it we may have a tough road this year, maybe even next year. He seems like hes quietly a no nonsense type of guy.

        I honestly wouldn’t mind keeping Gerald Wallace. I know his contract isn’t the greatest – but he offers things the C’s can totally work with, he’s passionate, versatile in the sense he can play and defend multiple positions, is a good rebounder and he loves Boston sports.

        Given that I am so pro Stevens I think he should hire Keith and I in some capacity to help. We have keen NBA eyes and instincts that I believe we can translate into helping the team win. E’ryyday e’rryday we don’t even play!

  4. Bad Brad says :

    Well done! People like lists – especially with provocative titles. Ie, “Top 5 Reasons The 2014 Celtics Won’t Suck” – you get the idea. Keep up the hustle!

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