06 August 2010

How Shaq Gave Me My Groove Back

Listening to: ceo, "Come With Me." Apparently any music coming out of Sweden right now is bets on to be good. This is a solo project from Eric Gerglund of Tough Alliance and here's an interesting interview with him from Pitchfork. What I really need to know is whether "ceo" is to be pronounced as one word or if the letters are to be spelled out individually. Either way it makes it hard to Google.

The last time I posted about the Celtics, they were on the verge of getting into the Finals after taking the first three games from the Orlando Magic. Then a dream matchup of Boston versus Los Angeles materialized (again) and soon after the Celtics took a 3-2 series lead. Ahead by double digits going into the last twenty four minutes of the season, I literally skipped down the block during halftime of game seven, thinking about the night's upcoming festivities. When the Celtics won, I would drink some whisky and celebrate in macho style -- even if I can't drink whisky without coughing like an amateur.

This unexpected championship would launch my slow moving 2010 into proper orbit. Two victories over the Lakers in three years and nothing could have been dreamier. Life would be triple rainbows and pouring sunshine. This second Celtics-Lakers matchup was doubly exciting because George and I were cheering together each game, going so far as to make shooting sleeves out of socks to help the team's shooting woes. She even named an eggling after Rajon Rondo.

Then tragedy struck. The Celtics fell apart after halftime, Ron Artest became a hero, and now history will have to accord Kobe some measure of respect as a slayer of his demons and a five time champion -- even if he played horribly that last game. Following the four point loss, I collapsed on the floor and ran my tongue over the gash I'd opened in my lip earlier. Yes, I was cheering so hard that I somehow slammed my head on the ground in frustration and bit myself. George shed a few tears for the huge loss. I would have cried if I wasn't a robot incapable of human emotion. Our friend, who had come over to help us celebrate, was instead tasked with trying to cheer us up. Just an hour before we were ready to tear up the town. Now I was inconsolable.

After that night, I decided to swear off caring about sports. It's just the same old, same old, over and over. "A soap opera for guys." Why is life about winners and losers anyway? Why tie my emotions into the fortunes of some far away team that I've never even seen play. What am I cheering for exactly? A specific combination of colors on a uniform? Bleh.

But then the offseason started and the promise of another contending season lured me back in. While Lebron James took his talents to South Beach to form the Super Friends, the Celtics reloaded. Doc Rivers came back. Ray Allen came back. Paul Pierce restructured. Nate Robinson came back. Marquis Daniels came back. Kendrick Perkins is recovering after a horrific knee injury. The walking corpse that is Jermaine O'Neal signed. And finally, earlier this week, the one and only Shaquille O'Neal became a Celtic. It's a strange world we live in where enemies from the last decade are suddenly part of your team.

I know there are skeptics out there who point out that a thirty eight year old Shaq will clog the lane. I don't care. His sheer immenseness will help alleviate the rebounding woes Boston displayed last season. They still need a backup swingman to replace Tony Allen and round out the roster but they're looking good. The Heat are the new front runners in the East, and the hated Lakers also made some quality off-season additions, but there is hope that Boston has one more run in them. My lip has healed, my heart has scarred over, and I'm ready to cheer again.

So I guess it is true. You can love and lose, and love again.