Fan Banner Moments - February 23, 2011
Braving the Elements
Shared by Kevin from Stoughton, MA
My story is one of perseverance. Back in 1996, the Celtics were not a very good team, but as diehard fans my wife and I never gave up hope of the team turning things around and we always kept the faith. That year I bought balcony tickets to a game against Milwaukee and wanted to take the family to a game and have a good time like we had done in the past. The game was on February 14 that year, which was Valentine's Day. I thought, what a great way to spend the evening with my sweetheart wife and our kids.
So as it turned out the weather was horrible that day. There was a serious ice storm settling in on Boston and the roads were very slippery, almost dangerous. As the time drew near to leave for the game my wife suggested that perhaps we should forget going because of the weather. I said, "if that is what you want," but I thought it would be a shame to waste the tickets so I came up with the idea of driving to the nearest train station (Braintree) and taking the train in so we didn't have to drive so far. So we decided to go.
It was an adventure to say the least, but we made it to the station and then to the game safely, albeit very cold. We were so happy to make it and so were my kids. When the staff threw out from the rafters some stuffed guys with parachutes my kids each caught one. They were thrilled. To top the night off, the Celtics who were mired in an 18 game losing streak were able to pull out the win and everyone that actually made it to the game, there weren't many, was ecstatic to be a part of the game when they finally broke the losing streak. Again it was a real situation that showed how perseverance and not giving up did pay off in the end. We never gave up and made it to the game, and the Celtics never gave up and finally broke their losing streak. We were glad to be a part of that moment in Celtics history.
A Regular Season Game in '84
Shared by Greg from Billerica, MA
When I was eight years old, my father, a lifelong Celtics fan, introduced me to the C's. It was the early 80s - which obviously was a great time to start watching one of the most storied and successful franchises in all of sports. I've been a fan ever since, through the good times and the bad, and try to get out to a few games each year. My Dad and I hadn't been to a game in quite a few years, until this past spring when I was lucky enough to buy two tickets to Game four of the NBA Finals against the Lakers. Neither of us had been to a Finals game before, and as we were walking into the electric atmosphere of the TD Garden, I was struck with the excitement and emotion that I experienced only one other time, when my Dad took me to my very first Celtics game during the amazing 1984 season.
I remember I had received the tickets from Santa that year and it was all I could think of or talk about in the weeks leading up to the game. Growing up in Southern New Hampshire it was always a treat for me to travel into the "big city" of Boston and my Dad made sure to make an event out of it, complete with a ride on the T and a stop for a pregame slice at Pizzeria Regina. I could tell my father was excited to share this momentous experience in both of our lives. Walking into the old Garden was truly an amazing experience, the sights, the sounds, and the buzz of activity was almost overwhelming for an eight year old kid from the suburbs. My Dad bought me a program and we made our way to our seats. When we found our row, my father's excitement dissipated a bit as it seems our view of the parquet was obstructed by the balcony above us and we could only see three quarters of the court. This minor detail didn't deter my excitement, as I was thrilled to just see the Garden live and in person. I had a great time sitting next to my father as he pointed out our favorite player, Kevin McHale's post moves and told me to watch how he hustled and played defense. We would guess what happened on the obstructed end of the court by the reaction of the fans on the other side of the arena.
I couldn't tell you who the Celtics played that day or if they won or lost, but as I sat next to my Dad this past spring in the loge during the Lakers game I knew that we both had thoughts of that first game twenty five years ago in the old building. Before tip-off I asked my dad if he had ever been that excited to watch a C's game - "Yeah," he smiled, "one other time for a regular season game in '84."
The Birth of Boston
Shared by Walter from Somerville, MA
Back in 2008 my wife and I were expecting our first child. Her water broke the morning of the Oct. 27 and her delivery was anything but easy. To make a long story short, 34 hours later my son entered this world on the afternoon of the Oct. 28. As many Celtics fans know, the Celtics were raising Banner number 17 that night and I had tickets to the game. I was all but sure I was going to have to give them away but my wife, knowing how much I love the Celtics told me she wanted me to go and enjoy the night I'd been waiting for since 1986. So, BOSTON CHRISTOPHER BERNIS was born on Banner 17 night.
From High Above Courtside
Shared by Lucas from Allston, MA
My family and I have always been huge Celtics fans. I was brought up to bleed green and have remained true to the team my whole life - even through some tough years. When the C's made their playoff run in 2008, I called and called on the day Playoff strips went on sale and finally got through. I was able to buy 3 seats together in the last row of the balcony, and was thrilled. From this lofty perch I saw the Celtics fight their way through some unbelievable series and reach the NBA Finals. Now the end of the series was right around Father's Day, and I knew that giving my dad tickets to see Game 6 would be the perfect gift. For one time in my life I had to hold back my enthusiasm for the C's as they played game 5 in LA - I wanted them to win it at home! Luckily everything worked out, and it was the gift of a lifetime for me and my folks to sit with our backs to the yellow cinderblock walls taking in the C's thunderous win in Game 6. It will always live on as my favorite sports memory and I was so happy to share it with my mom and dad.
Raising a Future Celtics Fan
Shared by Greg from Haverhill, MA
My daughter was born in June of 2007. Soon after, a new chapter in Celtics history was born. The summer was filled with anxiety since my wife and I were now parents to a beautiful little girl. Often with one eye on Sarah, my other would be catching glimpses of newspaper articles or sports reports increasing my excitement towards the upcoming Celtics season. I was exhausted but so thankful for my life, my family and for where I lived. Throughout that season I caught at least a part of each game. Most likely, I'd have Sarah in my arms. I would explain to her what we were witnessing - one of the greatest teams created in NBA history. When she would fall asleep in my arms, I'd have to be very careful not to yell out when Ray would hit a three or when KG made an impressive defensive stop. It was a magical year watching both my daughter and the Celtics grow.
Who knows what the future holds. I was a basketball player. I've always loved the game. I can only hope Sarah enjoys the game as much as I do. Maybe one day I will have the opportunity to see Sarah play in the Garden for a state championship for her high school or at the college level. But I know one thing for sure - we will be attending Celtics games together and I will always remind her that our history as Celtics fans started when she was only a few months old. To me the stars aligned in the summer of 2007, my daughter was born and the Celtics were reborn. What a year!!
Say 'Hi' to Larry Bird
Shared by Rick from Gloucester, MA
I am 30 years old. I have been a rabid Celtics fan for 25 years now. I grew up watching games with my father, who instilled the love of "The Green" in me. As a young boy, I idolized Larry Bird (obviously). I was like the mini Larry Bird - shaggy blonde hair, blue eyes and a 3 point shooter. When I was 6, my father took me to my first Celtics game. I was going to see Larry Bird in person! My father spent $100 (a lot of money at the time - especially for my family) for our 2 tickets. Second row, center court, probably 4 feet from the court. I'll never hear the end of this story as my father has told it probably 1000 times...
There we were, sitting at center court and the ball goes out of bounds right in front of us. Who comes over to pass the ball inbounds but Larry Bird! Right there, 4 feet away from me. Mind you - I am dressed in all green, have my "coke-bottle" glasses (I have REALLY bad vision) and am in total awe that Larry is right there walking towards me. My father says, "Rick, say hi to Larry"....I am speechless. "Rick, say hi to Larry!"....still sitting there with my mouth wide open in awe. Larry takes a glance at me and just gives a little smile. He knew I couldn't say a word. So, these are my memories of my first Celtics game. I think they were playing the Nets, but I'm not positive - I was only 6. To this day, I bleed green.
Some Help from Above
Shared by Michael from Boston, MA
One of the few things I remember about my dad was that he was a huge Celtics fan. He dressed my brother and me up in Celtics gear when we were babies and I remember sitting by his side watching games as he admired the play of the Original Big 3, Danny Ainge, Dennis Johnson, and others. Unfortunately, he passed away in 1989 when I was just six years old. Improbably, he had died suddenly of a heart ailment while playing basketball at our local middle school. I learned to play the game by watching a video he had purchased before he passed away: "Winning Basketball," featuring Larry Bird and Red Auerbach. As I grew into a die-hard fan starting in the early 1990s, I lamented the fact that I had never witnessed a Celtics run to the NBA Finals. My mother told me about the time that she and my dad somehow managed to secure tickets to Game 6 of the 1986 NBA Finals and watched the Celtics win it all. I had watched Larry Bird: Basketball Legend over and over and that game in 1986 epitomized Celtic greatness. I always thought: what an incredible thrill to have been there!
Meanwhile, the Celtics were going through the longest dry spell in their history, and it was hard to see any light at the end of the tunnel. However, when they traded for Kevin Garnett in the summer of 2007, things started looking up. You could see Celtic pride starting to return to the Garden. Before the playoffs began, my friend and I pooled our money to buy tickets to one game: Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals. "Just in case," we thought. As the playoffs wore on, it seemed almost inconceivable that everything was starting to work out the way we had hoped. The Celtics survived some early playoff hiccups and made it to the Finals against their arch rivals, the LA Lakers. When Paul Pierce collapsed in pain during Game 1 of the Finals, it looked like it was all over for the Celtics. I remember thinking I never should have gotten excited to begin with because everything seemed too good to be true. But when Pierce returned and led the Celtics to victory in Game 1, everything seemed to be falling into place. My friend and I attended Game 6, and it was one of the highlights of our lives. Everything was going the Celtics way. My friend and I were giddy as players poured Gatorade all over Doc Rivers. It really was a once in a lifetime experience, and I wondered if it was meant to be. Perhaps they had some help along the way. You never know, maybe the Celtics don't just get help from the ghosts of the past everyone knows about, like Red and Johnny Most - maybe they also get help from die-hard fans of old like my dad.
Once in a Lifetime Getaway
Shared by Sharon from Fairhaven, MA
I was the winner of the "Wanna Get Away" Sweepstakes in 2003. My prize was a weekend stay in Orlando and tickets to the game. A Celtics representative was able to get us four tickets to the game so that I could take my sons, ages 9 and 4, who are also huge fans. We checked into the hotel and headed out to Downtown Disney for the evening. We headed back to the hotel at 9 p.m. We pulled the car up to the front of the hotel and standing on the sidewalk were Erik Williams, Tony Delk, and Walter McCarty. My oldest son was so excited, he flew out of the car barely letting the car come to a complete stop. The valet took our car and we were able to meet and talk with the players. They were so gracious and willing to spend time with my boys. We waved goodbye and headed into the lobby. Antoine Walker was there. He spent time with my boys, signing autographs and shooting the breeze. He even took my boys over to meet Paul Pierce. We were star struck and so happy because at the time, these two players were bringing the pride back to being Celtics fans. On our way to the game the next evening, we came out of the elevator and there sat Tommy Heinsohn. He was so personable and told us to take a picture in his big booming voice. We got pictures and autographs. We got all the players autographs before they headed to the arena. Walter came over to my 4 year old son and gave him a high five and called him by name. He remembered him from the night before. It seemed like we were the only Celtics fans in the arena but we didn't care. We cheered for our team. We show our Celtics pride every day. I never thought I would win such a great contest but this just goes to show that anyone can win. Just enter! I want to thank everyone from the office to the players for making our Celtic's experience one we will never forget!
Dad and Daughter Time
Shared by Jeff from Concord, NH
My family's Celtics Banner Moment is actually a continuation of a long family tradition that culminated in a special trip to game 5 of the Championship series against the Lakers last season. As a young boy, my father and I regularly watched the Celtics, particularly during their rivalry with the Sixers as my dad was a Philly native. I remember going to different promotional events to get autographs from stars like M.L. Carr with my dad, which I proudly displayed in my room. As I grew older, I continued to watch the Celtics, even being lucky enough to meet Red Auerbach back in 2000 when he spoke at an event hosted by the company I was working for at the time.
Eventually, I had children of my own and I have been able to carry on the tradition started by my father. My 5-year old daughter Emilia and I regularly put on our favorites players' jerseys (Rondo for me, KG for her) before we watch the C's on TV on game nights, a special ritual in and of itself. It's very important for me to have quality one-on-one time with Emilia, something that has been somewhat challenging since the birth of my son, Peter, last year. Since my wife works nights, I spend the better part of the morning and after-work hours making sure the kids' basic needs are met - making breakfast, getting her ready for school, making dinner, getting tubs of out the way, reading, etc. When Peter goes to sleep, Emilia and I have an hour or so of time we can spend with each other. Since I generally tended to watch the Celtics games at night and she knew it was something I was passionate about, she gravitated toward watching them with me. At first, it was something fun to do with dad, but over the last year or so, she's really gotten into it and can rattle off just about all of the players and was thrilled when she found out I got her a Celtics Kids Club membership earlier this year. The thing I love most about it is it's something special I can share with her that has helped strengthen our bond.
Towards the end of last season, I was fortunate enough to win tickets to Game 5 of the Championship, which also happened to be Emilia's first game at the Garden! She was immediately in love with the experience. I was also able to bring my father, wife and son along, making some very, very special memories for three generations of Celtics fans.
A Summer of Banner Moments
Shared by Virginia from North Andover, MA
It's very difficult to choose which Banner Moment is the very best one, because they are all Moments that will absolutely, positively last a lifetime! The very first one was the day in mid-June, 2009, when I arrived home from doing errands. I always check my Caller ID to see if I had any 'missed' calls. To my shocking disbelief, I saw BOSTON CELTICS listed as a missed call and that there was a message waiting! Immediately, my knees felt weak, my heart raced, my eyes filled up and I got this lump in my throat, as though I was going to cry (…and I did!). Thoughts raced through my head as to what it could be about. Had I boasted about the Celtics too much on Facebook? No, couldn't be that, because it was all good, and everyone knows we love 'our' Celtics! Could it possibly be anything to do with the essay I wrote for the Celtics/Remax Driveway Makeover contest? No, not me! I'm not lucky like that! Although it would be wonderful and of great use for my son, Marquiese and the foster children that lived here, I didn't really expect to win! My son said that maybe I should just check the message and end the suspense!
Well, it was a message from the Celtics, saying we were finalists in the Driveway Makeover contest I had entered and a Celtics representative wanted to come see the driveway! When she came here she told us that we already HAD been chosen as one of the winners, but wanted to tell us in person! The other Banner Moments were soon to follow! We were told that a Celtics player, along with a Legend, would be coming here to dedicate to us a new basketball court! In addition, as an added bonus, the Celtics would be doing a bedroom makeover in my son, Marquiese's room! All the children were jumping up and down with excitement! What a once in a lifetime opportunity they were about to experience! The memories will stay in their hearts forever, without anyone ever being able to take them away! Yes, the NBA does Care! Another part of winning this contest was that there would be a Clinic, conducted by a Celtics player and a Celtics Legend, held for 100 children, in our hometown! Marquiese was given the privilege of choosing twenty-five of his friends to attend! To see his pride as he carefully wrote out his list of fellow basketball players and friends to share this experience with him, was priceless! But then to see the excited looks on these boys' faces when Marquiese asked them if they would like to attend the Clinic with him, was overwhelming! So many very happy children! The summer of 2009 will be the best year in our lives and we will remember it forever! Thank You, Boston Celtics for giving us our Banner Moments!