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I Always Played The Game

I am delighted to have joined the staff of Celtics Life and look forward to sharing our common passion for the Boston Green Team. I wrote for several years for Celtics Nation, a fine site that has fallen into disrepair. Frustrated at the lagging support, I asked to join FLCeltsFan on her Celtics Green Blogspot and greatly appreciate her welcoming me with open arms. Six months later she approached me with concerns about dwindling support there and we discussed our next move. We chose Celtics Life only after looking over the possibilities and felt this site brought the best combination of support, activity, and promise. Hope you enjoy having us as much as we enjoy being here.

When I joined FLCeltsFan she asked to write an introduction of myself as a basketball blog writer and what follows is an edited version.

While I was loathe to discuss such a mundane subject, it did seem reasonable to explain why anyone would/should give my insights any consideration. If the title seems familiar, but skewed, it parodies the title of the semi-autobiographical book by Howard Cosell. Somewhat knowledgeable about boxing upon which his journalistic career rode the coattails of Ali, Howard knew almost nothing about football and yet served as an interesting foil for the ex-jocks Dandy Don Meredith and Frank Gifford in the sports-gone-entertainment of Monday Night Football. My credentials similarly lack typical school participation as I was cut from my only school basketball team in the 7th grade for "Mike" who was an inch taller and whose most athletic activity after that year was pulling shoe boxes off the shelves at the local department store for several decades.

Yet I played the game for nearly five decades, passionately and with determination, undaunted by such hindrances as a career, marriage, and fatherhood. I coached intramurals, city leagues, rec leagues, youth leagues, even a few fortunately-tolerated comments in pickup games.
I got to know my step child by coaching her youth teams and later basked in the warm glow of the local girls teams' regular appearances in the state playoffs while stocked with my former players. I still feel a guilty pleasure at the school’s fall back into mediocrity after those six years passed and my players graduated. I played in parks, gyms, backyards, city streets, and in the z√≥calo of several pueblos in Mexico where I was indeed a big man. I played in the rain, sleet, and snow (rare in Texas); on dirt, concrete, mud, and grass, as well as hardwood; in the daylight, twilight, and moonlight; and on every day of the year including leap day (pun intended). I've played every position including center (at 5'11") when we had only five players and I finished the game after pulling a dislocated finger back into its socket. I've led bad teams where my point guard passes tended to bounce off the faces of my grad-school teammates for whom running was a task requiring most of their concentration. I've been the grease on good teams where I averaged five shots, but was proud of 75% shooting. I've led the team in rebounding (employing my Lee's rule of rebounding: We both jump, I lose--so you don't get to jump, now that's boxing out!) I've received the ultimate "Perkins" compliment--a fellow faculty member cursed out his teammate for not warning him of my pick. I've scored 36 points which only required such phenomena as the ball bouncing off someone’s foot at one free-throw line and madly rolling to the other end (through one players feet as he was alerted to its approach but couldn't bend over in time to pick it up) where I arrived just in time to pick it up for a bunny. I've demanded to cover the other team's star, which I reconsidered after my third foul in five minutes. But of all my experiences none has given me more enjoyment than teaching this game that has been such a huge part of my life.

As for the Celtics, I have followed them since it meant watching a grainy image in black and white on a 12-inch screen a half a dozen times a year, buying the more expensive newspaper because they actually had box scores, and treasuring the sports magazines because they were the only source of detailed information. I grew up with the incredible run of the Russell-Celtics, soared and anguished with the up and down 70's, gloried in the rebirth with the original Big Three, railed at the inept 90's, loathed Pitino and almost cried at missing the Big Fundamental. I learned early about playing ball the "Celtics' way" where open shots outweighed degree of difficulty, a timely pass more valued than tickling the twine, and most of rebounding took place before the ball ever came down.

Oddly my sports writing began with the arrival of Ainge as GM and my retirement from lecturing on databases at the University of Texas. With the availability of time and new inspiration I delighted in mulling over the rebuilding, even with its many sidetracks. Still the bottom line is essentially the question "Why Basketball?" The answer is not a simple one because basketball is not a simple game. Of all the diversions I explored only three were never outgrown. With experience and understanding these grew with me, revealing layer after layer of complexity as I invested more time, effort, and study. Basketball, unlike the other two--duplicate bridge and chess, was also a physical release (every bit as effective as the occasional "mental health" [sick] day I took off during my working career). I attribute much of my even temper and tolerance to the bliss of exhaustion and I'm sure my wife, child, and coworkers benefited whether they knew it or not. So rather than yelling at the TV or kicking the cat, here I find myself working on analyses of Celtics' victory and defeat, plotting about acquisitions and stockpiling picks, and drawing comparisons between basketball and eternal truths--thanks for listening.


Features:
Holy Batguano!
Summer Lockout May Include Writing
In These Uncertain Times
Thoughts About Avery Bradley
"Celtics" Who Never Wore Green
What's A Doc To Do
Scattered Roster Thoughts
I Still Miss Perk . . . But
Predictably Pooped, Probably Progressing
How Crazy Would It Be If? 
Deep Breath, Use Head Not Heart
Miserly Sterling's Dump of Davis Might Open Door
Raise, Draw, or Hold'em?
The Whole Is Greater Than the Sum of the Parts
GM Ainge Generates Few Regrets
MLK and the Signs of our Times
The Up Side of Avery's Trip Down
Effects of Minutes, Injuries, & Schedule Are Cumulative
Different Measuring Sticks for Bench, Starters, and Team
Von Wafer:  Square Ego Peg for Round Ubuntu Hole?
Kind of a Scouting Report on Magic
Big Baby Now Big-Time Glen?
Difference Between Good, Very Good, and Scary Good
The Non-Problem of Perkins Return to (Non)Starter
The Catch 22 for Bradley and Doc
Celtics' Depth Tested Early and Often
Taking Stock
If You Never Saw Hondo
Another Side Effect Of Delonte's Suspension
While The End For The Big Three Is Near . . . 
A Different Slant On The Roster
Final Thoughts Before Last Preseason Game
Semih Already More Than Semi-Adequate
SQ #57  Media Day Is Boring, What's Next
SQ #56  The (In)Camp Crowd
SQ #55  How Bad Could It Get?
SQ #54  Absences May dictate Rotations Coming Out Of Camp
SQ #53  Flash Forward
SQ #52  Roster Battles vs. Unit Chemistry
SQ #51  A Role For Semih?
SQ #50  Virus? Cure?
SQ #49  Reflecting On The Depth
SQ #48  Plans A, B, and C
SQ #47  Now That's A Little Scary
SQ #46  The Crowd Behind Ray Allen
SQ #38  Balling Around The Solar System
SQ #37  Cha-cha-cha-changes
SQ #36  Perkins: Good, Getting Better--As Usual
SQ #35  Talent And Character
SQ #34  Fans
SQ #33  Injurious Effects
SQ #32  Delonte, Really?
SQ #31  Continuing To Gamble With The Right Odds
SQ #30  Gambling With The Right Odds
SQ #29  A Ring Of Truth (Or Not)
SQ #28  I Would Rather
SQ #27  Rudy/Chandler/Two #1's
SQ #26  A Second Unit With An Identity
SQ #25  Run Baby Run
SQ #24  Hung Up On Harangody
SQ #23  Writing Questions/Resources
SQ #21 & #22  Odds About Even
SQ #20  Best Camp Battle
SQ #19  Quick Hits
SQ #18  Greens And Whites
SQ #17  Camp Talk Day 1
SQ #16  Tall Is How High You Can Reach?
SQ #15  NBA A Tall Order
SQ #14  That Was Then, This Is Now
SQ #13  Bitchy Rich Kids
SQ #12  Viva La Difference!
SQ #11  Inquiring Minds Want To Know
SQ #10  The Fate of Sheed's Contract
SQ #9  Reevaluating Sheed's Contract
SQ #8  Perkins Questions
SQ #7  Time For A Rule Change
SQ #6  In Case You Are Getting Too Comfortable
SQ #5  The Long Haul
SQ #4  Shaq Ripples
SQ #3  Tony In the Rearview Mirror
SQ #2  Rashad, Rudy, Pryzbilla, and Portland
Summer Quandaries 2010  #1
I Always Played the Game
The Vet Min Shaq Is the Only One Worth Having
Roster Ruminations
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Lee Lauderdale 7/01/2010 04:55:00 PM Edit
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