I can admit it. When LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers gave the Celtics the dagger in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday, it brought me to tears a little bit.
It’s not like I wasn’t prepared for it. LeBron and the Cavs had eliminated the Celtics from the playoffs in two of the previous three years. It had been in my brain the entire week, even after the Celtics won the first two games of the series. LeBron is going to somehow win this thing in seven games, because he’s LeBron. I was hopeful that the young, inexperienced Celtics would find a way to pull it off, but ultimately, I knew better. When you’re dealing with the greatest player of a generation, it’s best not to get your hopes up.
But the Celtics came so close. Just minutes away, literally, from ending LeBron’s streak of seven straight trips to the NBA Finals. And it was all without their two star players, while being led by a 20-year-old rookie. It would’ve been arguably the most improbable Finals run of all time. It would’ve been like Rocky knocking out Ivan Drago in the 15th round.
To beat LeBron James? To knock him out of the playoffs, in the Eastern Conference Finals? For me, it would’ve been almost as sweet as winning the championship. We came so close, and we didn’t get it. Now, we have to wait another year for another opportunity. It just didn’t seem fair.
And that’s why it made me a little teary. My consolation thoughts? Well, at least the Red Sox are in first place.
After an hour or so, I regained my composure. Once I got back on my feet, I came to the realization that I’m completely and totally insane. Here I was drowning in my sorrows, because for Boston sports standards, 2018 has been a pretty tough year. Say that out loud, and you’ll hear how absolutely absurd it is.
How did the year start out? The Patriots lost in the Super Bowl, even though Tom Brady played what was maybe the best game of his career, because our defensive unit was made up of nothing but statues that couldn’t figure out a way to beat Nick Foles. How does a Bill Belichick defense get beaten by Nick Foles? How did the Patriots not let Malcolm Butler on the field the entire game?
My goodness, they practically gave that Super Bowl away. What a brutal defeat.
Then came the NHL playoffs, and after a magnificent season in which the Bruins finished as the second best team in the Eastern Conference, they advanced to the second round. That was when they promptly decided to lay an egg against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the top team in the conference, and allow them to kick them around for four straight games.
Here we were in the East semifinals, and one of the better scoring offenses in the entire NHL just decided to pack it in. Another brutal defeat.
Finally, the Celtics. They broke our hearts early in the season when Gordon Hayward snapped his ankle five minutes into the season. They were immediately written off. It got worse when Kyrie Irving’s season ended prematurely due to knee problems. Now it seemed as if we were all but doomed to be eliminated in the first round.
But then, Jayson Tatum embraced his role as the superstar of the team, and Terry Rozier morphed into a mini Kyrie, and Al Horford became Playoff Al, and suddenly the Celtics were back in the Eastern Conference Finals…
…just in time for LeBron to crush them at the Boston Garden in Game 7. Make that three brutal defeats on the year. And who knows what kind of heartbreak the Red Sox will bring this October.
Just to recap, this ‘rough’ year for Boston sports has included a Super Bowl appearance, a trip to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and coming to within a win of reaching the NBA Finals:
A disappointing year in Boston sports is a Super Bowl appearance, a second round playoff loss, and a conference finals appearance.— r/Patriots (@rslashpatriots) May 28, 2018
Does anybody have it tougher than Boston fans?
If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you are probably a Patriots fan, and many of you probably also root for the Celtics, Sox, and Bruins. The only thing I can say is … our sports teams are too freaking good for us. We don’t deserve to be this spoiled.
(I hope it never goes away.)