I don't like to make things about me when I write. My philosophy has always been that all of you good people aren't reading the stories because of who I am, but because of the topic. I am only a means of transportation. Rarely, though, I will feel a need to share a story about myself, so please bear with me.
I have been a fan of the Boston Celtics for as long as I can remember. Given that my memory isn't great, I don't have an exact date, but I'm absolutely sure of the time period. My first memories of watching the Celtics play were in the late 1990's and early 2000's. I would go to a few games per year through a youth program at my church and through a family friend who had season tickets. The seats were almost always in the balcony, usually in Section 323 of the then Fleet Center, but those were fine by me.
Let me tell you, I loved going to those games. I would scream my lungs out and cheer all night long. Most times when I would get home, my voice would be gone. I'm sure some other casual fans around me didn't appreciate my antics, but I didn't care. I was a fan first, not so much concerned about my surroundings. My two favorite players were Antoine Walker and Paul Pierce, and to this day, they still are. I loved watching the Dynamic Duo so, so much.
I can even remember one game in the preseason when the Celtics faced the Wizards, with Michael Jordan (so, a while ago). I was fortunate enough to get a pair of tickets behind the Celtics' bench, which I of course loved. Being the Celtics fanatic that I was, I didn't pay much attention to that Jordan guy (looking back on it, I wish I had), but instead fixed my attention on my heros: Walker and Pierce. After the game, I got to high five both of them. Moment of my life, easily.
Well, fast forward to the present, and that kid that loved the Celtics so much was blessed with an opportunity to cover them in person. Thanks to the willingness of the Celtics' media relations staff, I was issued a press pass for all of the team's home games and granted access to the locker rooms and practices. Needless to say, it was the highlight of my journalistic career. At one point this season, after a regular season game, I sauntered out onto the court and stood on top of the Celtics logo and gazed up to Section 323. I thought to myself, "I can't believe it. The kid that loved this team so much up there is now standing on the court with complete access." I thank God for the tremendous blessing he has given me.
I have had an unbelievable time covering this basketball team this year, and naturally, I was heartbroken to see it end the way it did in Game 7 against the Miami Heat on Saturday night. Alas, that's part of the game, and part of the business. While I would have cherished the opportunity to cover the NBA Finals in person -- a dream I would still like to live out one day -- words cannot describe how thankful and grateful I am for everything that I have been able to do this year.
First, I want to really thank SB Nation for employing me and giving me the chance to do what I love for a living. Secondly, I want to thank the Celtics organization and the media relations staff, Jeff Twiss and Brian Olive in particular, for issuing me credentials for all of the games. Without a doubt, the Celtics media relations staff is one of the best in the business.
Of course, I want to thank all of my friends in the media, too. I've had such a great experience getting to know so many people that cover this team. They are some of the nicest people you'll ever meet. I've enjoyed watching the games with friends like Jay King, Ryan Hadfield, Travis Singleton, Jared Weiss, Brendan Jackson, Ben Watanabe, Mike Petraglia, Brian Robb, Greg Payne, Jimmy Toscano and so many more (if I left you out, I'm sorry!). Of course, there's our great Celtics blog, CelticsBlog, that I've gotten to work and interact with. Jeff Clark, you and your team are amazing. Then, there's the Twitter family: CelticsBlog, Reds Army John, KWAPT, MrTrpleDouble10, CelticsTown and so many more. I've gotten to chat with greats like Bob Ryan, Jackie MacMullan and Steve Bulpett. I've been befriended by Sean Grande, who is always willing to talk wrestling, and have made many other connections with the Celtics' and TD Garden staff members.
Finally, I want to thank the people who make it all possible: you, the fans. Without you, none of this would be possible. I can't tell you how much I enjoy chatting with so many of you on the train heading to TD Garden, at the game or on Twitter. You really make my day! Thank you so much for following along with our coverage at SB Nation Boston. I know some of you may disagree with me sometimes, but that doesn't matter. It's sports. It wouldn't be as much fun if we all agreed.
I look forward to the next Celtics season so we can do it all over again. Until then, I'll continue to run SB Nation Boston and try to provide you with interesting and unique content from the Boston sports world. But for now, thank you for helping this bright eyed Celtics fan live out his dream and make memories that will last a lifetime. You all rock. Go Celtics.