Certified!!! As I sit here remembering all the amazing things that went on last night, one moment sticks out. Before the celebration, before the riots, before the blowout, even before the opening tip, something very cool happened. 2 of my buddies picked up the Mrs. and I in Wakefield and we all headed to Sullivan Sq. to grab the T right before gametime. I didn't care where we went or what we did, I just knew I wanted to be as close to the Garden as possible, hopefully with a beer in my hand. And as we sped down 93 at around 830pm, just as the sun was setting, some clouds cleared up ahead and a HUGE golden moon hung directly above our path. I commented that it looked auspiciously like the ball that sits atop the NBA Championship trophy. So anyone driving through Boston at that moment on rte. 93 would have seen this: The Zakim bridge and Boston Garden glowing from top to bottom with green lights, a row of green traffic lights signaling things were dandy in the tunnel, the giant NBA trophy statue resting comfortably on the overpass, and a huge, full, gold moon flying just above it. Tell me that doesn’t make you feel good about your chances that evening.
As far as championship viewing experiences in my lifetime go, this one might be at the top. We barreled down a traffic-less 93 and hopped on the Orange line. A few moments later, we jumped off @ North Station just feet beneath the parquet floor and hit the streets - still without destination. My sister had been sent ahead to find a bar without a line. We failed to predict that Canal St. would look a whole lot like Bourbon St. Blocked off by police barricades, with thousands of people in the streets, every bar had a line that was so long it bled into the line for the bar next to it, to the point where it was just a complete sea of people dancing and cheering and bleeding kelly green. This felt good.
As you can see, we could barely see the game through a window, much less gain access to any of these establishments. Determined and inspired, we pressed on. When we arrived at the Point - the beginning of the miles and miles of Faneuil Hall bars, we were encouraged by the lack of a line out front. Having spent St. patty's Day 2007 playing flip cup for 12 hours with 50 friends at said bar, I liked - nay loved -the idea. Imagine my dismay when we talked to the bouncer and, not only were they not letting people in, but they had dispersed the line 20 minutes ago that had wrapped around the side of the building, because, let’s face it, anyone in the bar already wasn't going to be leaving any time soon. Onward.
As bar after bar boasted lines wrapped around each building, all increasing in size as the minutes rolled on, we were moments away from grabbing a case of beer and heading back to a small North End apartment where there'd at least be HD... An incoming call to my sister's cell phone told us that Ned Devine's - a swanky(as far as Beantown goes), cavernous, upscale Irish pub that generally rests on the pricier side - was without a line...
Let's win this thing.
We sprinted. And when I say sprinted, I mean we covered more ground as a group that included 2 chicks and a dude in sandals with a Poland Springs bottle and a laptop charger weighing down his cargo shorts than previously considered possible. This was our night.
Moments later, after speeding past bar after bar with lines that had couldn’t even be considered lines anymore (they were now crowds) and nearly knocking over numerous pedestrians, all with my shorts hanging off my ass thanks to the previously mentioned laptop charger I had in my cargo pockets for an as-yet-unknown reason, we walked into the bar as the C's scored their first 2 of what would become an unconscionable number of points by the end of the night.
AWESOME scene inside Ned's. Hopping, excited crowd - but not too crowded - just enough room for the 7 of us to comfortably carve out an area, with a waitress walking up to us every 20 minutes. Things felt good. Things felt very good. The energy was PERFECT. It just felt right. And as the game unfolded, we got happier and rowdier and high-5ier and everything snowballed into an incredible viewing experience. The Award for Biggest "No F'ing Way!" Crowd Explosion of the Night from an already-raucus crowd goes to Kevin Garnett and his standing 2-pointer from the paint that looks like a shot you could only pull off in a pool with a plastic hoop and a nerf ball and your friend would get yelled at by an adult because that kind of defense could be considered horseplay. Place exploded when that happened. Still, regardless of the ever-increasing lead, given the comebacks in this series to that point, and our penchant for heartbreak in Boston that I would have completely forgotten about were it not for a Mr. David Tyree – p.s. I still hate you - I don't think we felt safe until about 10 minutes to go. Once Posey hit his 3, we were done kidding ourselves. This Lakers team couldn’t compete with us. Not tonight, not at home, not with that crowd, not with this team, not a chance.
We ordered a bottle of champagne. It was time. We hid the bottle and the 6 champagne glasses and one wine glass. "Hehe, guess we don’t have a lot of champagne glasses!" bubbled the arguably efficient waitress with Peace sign earrings who was probably high. Her only real blunder was charging my sister for a round of beers on her credit card, then leaving it on a ledge a good 10 feet from us. Crisis was averted however, as the card was found and all was forgiven. Ignoring bar policy, we convinced her not to pop it so that we could open it as the final buzzer sounded –the way God intended champagne to be opened. 3…2…1…Bedlam. When the confetti hit the air, we popped the cork, continued drinking ourselves silly, hugged each other, high-5'd a ton of strangers, and bled out onto the streets. We were heading to ground zero - the giant NBA trophy statue outside the Boston Garden- and nothing could stop us. Except the incredibly well-organized Boston Police force in riot gear, many of whom were on horseback.
We got creative with our navigation and ended up on Canal St. where thousands had poured out onto the streets. Some people smashed some windows and climbed on the outdoor construction edifices that looked dangerously close to collapsing, and there were a few times where we had to cover the girls’ heads and run for safety, but all in all – from what we could tell, it was relatively tame, and indeed one of the best championship celebrations of this guy's young life. Thank goodness this decade of Boston sports dominance coincides with the Information Age. Without all the videos and digital pics to prove it, our kids would never believe the stories.
Last Call: For a few more hilarious video examples of how completely insane Kevin garnett is, head here.