I can see it in my periphery.
At approximately 10 o’clock in my field of vision, what passes for an NBA game glows with enough force and volume to demand my attention from time to time. It doesn’t hold it, though. Not anymore.
The din of commercials and sideline reporting is interrupted by the crack of ice warming as it swims in my bourbon. It reminds me to take another sip.
As I pull the tumbler away from my lips, I stare into the cloudy brown spirit a little too long; long enough for the warmth of it to coat my entire esophagus before it reminds me that I should have eaten before drawing this pour.
“Maybe it’s for the best, anyway,” I say out loud, even though I’m alone in this room.
I shift, turn my chair, and watch more of the television.
By now, I’ve got most of this memorized. It doesn’t really matter who is on the floor. Rondo? Babb? Lucky? It’s all the same. There are maybe two or three results that each player will produce on any given play. None, outside of a Rondo pass or Jeff Green dunk is particularly exciting anymore. Mostly, I just see a variety of missed shots, fouls, and turnovers. There is little unique about this relationship anymore. There are 50-year marriages with more surprises now.
The Celtics are participating in a 60 game season forced to last 82 games. The lessons to learn have been learned. The evaluations to be made have been noted and filed. The only significant developments left this season will probably be made via press release from Kansas or Duke Universities.
I daydream as I watch now.
Where will we end up in the lottery? Who will survive “Trader Danny’s magic summer ride?” Man, people on Twitter really like wrestling.
My eyes focus on nothing, as if a magic eye poster will pop from this game and reveal the true, hidden meaning of this season. Or at least a decent joke I can make on Twitter.
Because that’s really all I’m looking for anymore. A few well-timed quips and some decent interaction with like-minded fans is all that can sustain me in these waning moments. It’s the trivial equivalent of hospice care for this slowly perishing season.
Let’s just share a few laughs before we shed a few tears.
Nineteen different men can say they were Boston Celtics this season. Seven, maybe eight, have a good chance of being able to say the same as we enter next season. Fewer will remain 365 days from now. I am keeping my distance from now on. I don’t want to commit myself too deeply to someone who is just going to leave.
My fandom has now reached the same low as my post-divorce emotional disconnect.
We have embraced this process at the behest of our fledgling head coach. We accept the reality of what is staring at us in the face. I just no longer wish to stare back.
This is not to say there haven’t been positive things about this season. I have actually enjoyed a large majority of what I’ve seen. I am legitimately looking forward to Rajon Rondo, Jared Sullinger, and Kelly Olynyk. I couldn’t be happier with what Brad Stevens has shown as a coach, and how he approaches every game. I look at the stockpile of picks and contracts and, mostly, I feel like Danny Ainge has created a situation that bodes very well for this team’s future. When I look back on this necessary downturn, I’ll think fondly of how enjoyable this team actually was.
But I’ve felt these feeling since February. March came in and quickly confirmed them. And since then…
Jeff Green pulls the ball back on the right wing and fires a pass towards Rajon Rondo. Rondo is not looking, and he only flinches as the ball skims past his shoulder and into the lap of a person who paid an exorbitant amount of money for a spectacular view of a decidedly not-spectacular sight. I rewind my DVR to make sure what I’ve just witnessed is true, and not some whiskey-fueled hallucination.
It isn’t. It never is. I turn my head back to my phone to reply to a text, assorted tweets, and an unrelated Facebook argument that has become much more interesting to me than… this.
I’m a broken fan, staring more at the bottom of the standings than the top, waiting for ping-pong balls to fall in our favor.
I just want them to fall already.
I just want to move on.