Winding down with the Celtics

Winding down with the Celtics
March 12, 2012, 3:41 pm
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Hey, everyone. Welcome back to the blog! After a week off, I'm ready to roll, and still buzzing from yesterday's game. But before we get to the Celtics, here's one leftover travel-related question:

Is there anything more depressing than sitting in the terminal before the flight home from vacation?

Now obviously, this is relative. I can think of thousands of real life issues Kony, gas prices, American Reunion that are more depressing than waiting around an airport at the end of a great trip, but you have to admit: It's a sad experience.

Technically, you're still on vacation, but at this point, the buzz is just about gone. You've already waited in seven different lines, been snapped at by five different airline employees and been pissed off by at least 25 other travelers. If you're really lucky, you were randomly selected to have a stranger grab your penis!

For me, the worst part (aside from that last thing) is when the plane actually arrives, and a gang of new vacationers emerges from the tunnel. They're all so happy, so excited to kick off their own week in paradise. Most of them can't be bothered with out-going travelers they avoid eye contact like the waiting area is some sort of deranged leper colony but once in a while, you catch someone looking over and laughing like: Haha . . . losers. Have fun at work on Monday!

It sucks. The end of vacation always sucks. And it's during that 45 minutes or so spent sitting in the terminal, when it all starts to sink in. When you have no choice but to make peace with reality, and just hope you can squeeze out a few more happy moments before you officially land back at home. Maybe there's a great movie on the flight. Maybe you won't get stuck next a screaming baby. Maybe there's a tail wind and the plane lands 30 minutes early. You'll take anything! You just pray that the ending's not so bad, and that the great memories from this last vacation are enough to power you through until the next one whenever that might be.

OK, now let's bring this back to basketball and the Boston Celtics:

Right now, we're all stuck waiting in the terminal at Danny Ainge Airport.

It's been an amazing five-year vacation, but the end is near. We know that these Celtics won't win the title, and that whether it happens this week or this summer, the team's headed for a significant makeover and we're all headed for a reality check. We've seen the new teams Miami, Chicago, OKC de-board on the way to their own run at the glory. Some just cruise by without saying a word; others cant help but take pleasure in our misfortune. But either way, there's no escape, and there's nothing else to do but try to squeeze out a few more memories before it's too late.

And as far as I'm concerned, yesterday's loss to the Lakers qualifies as one of those moments.

Of course, you hate to see the Celtics lose. You always hate to see them lose. Especially to Lakers. Especially in a game that Boston could have and should have won. Take nothing away from LA; they got the job done. But the Celtics were up three points (with the ball!) with 1:30 to play. This was their game. And they lost it. And that's too bad.

But tell me something: Does it really matter? Would a win have made you think any differently about where this team is headed? Are the last 1:30 of yesterdays game the difference between the Celtics being contenders or pretenders?

No way.

It's over. Either we've already accepted this, or will spend the next few months sitting in the terminal and letting it all sink in. But while we do, it's worth soaking in every second of what this team gives us. Who knows how long it will be before we see the Celtics and Lakers go at it like they did yesterday afternoon? How long it will be before there's so much animosity between the two rosters and so much history out on the court? Who knows the next time we'll see the Celtics compete on that stage, in that atmosphere?

We don't know. We probably don't want to know. But with a few more efforts and afternoons like yesterday even in defeat the Celtics' inevitable reality will be a little easier to swallow. And maybe the flight home won't have to be so depressing

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine