Monday, January 19, 2015

Celtics Halftime Show to Kick Off 2015

"Dad, what was coach talking about when he said we would have a team field trip to Boston on Friday?" G asked me.  "Are we going to play the Boston Bobcats," the AAU basketball team he faced a couple of times last Spring.  G's basketball coach had talked about the field trip at practice on Thursday.  It was after Free Throw shooting but before the sidelines they had to run.  G would continue to badger me trying to figure out what was going to happen on Friday.

"You'll find out on Friday."  My standard answer to questions like that.  Usually I add a little but of sarcasm to my answer, but this time, I wasn't going to spoil the surprise for him.  Although in retrospect I should have told him we weren't going anywhere unless he read for 2 hours on Friday, I was excited for him.  Although he ended up finding out from one his buddies on the team what they were doing, I still told him to keep it on the down low.  Maybe some of his teammates didn't know what we were doing.

The secret?  His 5th Grade travel team was going to play at half time of Friday's game against the Bulls.  It was going to be the Blue team vs the White team. 6 on 6. Mano y Mano.  Well not really, but 6 on 6.

The Celtics had traded away Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green.  They also traded the some of the Flotsam and Jetsam that they got for those two guys, leaving Brad Stevens and a bunch of D-League guys (Sorry Jared, it's true).  So it was not a stressful game from the perspective.  As an assistant coach on the team, I was nervous for them.  It was going to be a sell out crowd and having gone to these games before and observing the unforgiving nature of the crowd, I was a lot more nervous than I needed to be.  G's biggest concern going to the game was whether he was going to take an NBA 3 pointer or not.

8:30pm.  Boston.  With 5 minutes left in the second quarter, we take the elevator down to the runway below the stands.  You know the stark concrete runways that they show on TNT when stars walk in to the stadium before the game in their suits.  It was just as I imagined it to be.  Large buses, strange paraphernalia, random security guards.  The boys get together for some pictures as a team and with Brandon LaFell who came underneath to say good luck to the boys.  And yes, I thought it was Brandon Browner.  I took some pictures myself so it must have been important.  All the time though, I was watching the game clock count down.

With 30 seconds left in the half we walk out of the tunnel.  As the horn sounds we immediately get going.  The funny thing was, we were 6 on 6.  The emcee helping us out shouted to the boys "Do you want to play 6 on 6?" We thought it wasn't a great idea, but then decided that the Court was big enough to accommodate us.  6 on 6 it was.  The 12 boys got in their positions.  I was not partial to one team over another, I just wanted to see some boxing out and everyone having fun.  When the HC said to not play any defense, I knew this was a perfect situation for G and his jumper.  Who cares that he's our tallest kid and our starting Center.  He could shoot his jumper!  And that is exactly what he did.  He spotted up on the left baseline and took his jumper.  Now normally, the shot would be from 20 feet, but somehow he managed to get to within 6 feet.  The ball clanged around the rim, hitting all sides of the cylinder before dropping in for the first bucket!  I don't know what I was more proud of, the fact that he scored the first bucket of the game on the first shot, or the fact that he took the shot from within 8 feet and not from behind the 3 point line.

The rest of the 7 minutes went by like a blur.  We tried to get everyone a basket.  We told them to stop playing defense any time someone looked like they were going to try and steal.  And we saw a lot of smiling faces.  As we come off the court, the boys were greeted by high 5s by everyone on the Court.  Although the boys weren't playing defense, they still looked fluid on offense.  Everyone was really psyched.  This is something that they will remember for the rest of their lives.

Oh yeah, the Celtics lost by 16 points.  But we weren't there for the big boy game.  We were there for the little kids.


No comments:

Post a Comment