Monday, March 5, 2012

Destination: Novakistan

Preface: I love the Houston Rockets. I really do. I watched in elation as Hakeem, Clyde, and Rudy T built Clutch City, suffered through a heinous re-branding phase (see: this), and rode the Yao/McGrady rollercoaster for the better part of a decade. This season I'm optimistic: Kyle Lowry is hitting his stride, and the team, despite a recent skid, are in playoff contention.

Having said that, I’ll freely admit that the Celtics/Knicks game at TD Gardens that I went to Sunday night had more excitement than any Rockets games I’ve ever seen at Toyota Center/Compaq Center/Summit.

View from our premium balcony seats
To be sure, the demographics of fans was the most heterogeneous group I'd ever watched with: Ivy Leaguers wearing "Nerd Pride" t-shirts and waving Taiwanese flags sat next to fifth generation Southie residents with green wigs and Irish flag face paintings.

Lin struggled most of the night but showed up when it counted in the fourth, the Knicks bench once again proved to be better than the sum of its parts, and Rondo had another quietly brilliant night (18-17-20? Don’t think he’s going anywhere soon). While both teams had trouble taking care of the ball at times, they competed with playoff intensity. The building was rocking, especially in the final 2 minutes, and I was 78% sure that the roof was going to blow off when Pierce hit the 3 to send the game into overtime. (I had originally planned on taking videos and more pictures to share with GCAS readers. Then I quickly realized that fumbling with camera settings during such a crazy game was the last thing I wanted to do.)

But as thrilling as that afternoon was, I’d have to say that I had almost as much fun the night before when my friends and I decided to make a sign for the heart and soul and soul of the team. His humble demeanor belies his ice-cold veins and his clutch shots have snatched his team from jaws of defeat on more than one occasion. I think you know who I’m talking about.

Steve Novak.

Oh, you thought I was talking about Lin? Please, I like him as much as the next Bostonian (see: this), but that man needs another Asian American making him a poster the way the Greg Oden needs another injury. We played around with lots of ideas for the poster, including Novak Attack, Novakaine, and Novakuate the Building. My friend Tim came up with the genius idea of drawing a map of Novakistan, population 3. “But wait, Olivia,” you say. “Where exactly is Novakistan?” Answer: Right next to Lindia.

In the end, we decided on the four-person championship belt referencing the Aaron Rogers/Discount Double Check move he busts out after a hitting a few 3s. It just seemed the most simple yet unique. I’ll confess that that I experienced an oddly satisfied feeling when the security guard at the gate asked me to unroll the sign to check for profanity and raised his eyebrows in surprise, no doubt assuming that we had made a sign for Lin. “You weren’t expecting that, were you?” I teased.

Check out the guy in front mean mugging. Probably because he kept on getting glitter bombed.
Sure, Novak is a defensive liability who can’t create his own shots, but you can’t deny that fans adore him. The Celtics’ version of him was Brian Scalabrine. It’s not a stretch to say that he’s one of the most beloved modern sports icons in Boston, right up there with Curt Schilling’s bloody sock. When Scalabrine, now on the Bulls, checked into a game to play garbage minutes against the C's a few weeks ago, the crowd gave him a cheering standing ovation that Pierce, Garnett, and Rondo almost never get.

You see, as much as we as sports fans love our superstars with their flashy Sportscenter Top 10 plays and buzzer-beating heroics, we often cheer hardest for the underdogs. The role players who come off the bench to provide an extra jolt of energy and occasionally surprise everyone. The guys who by and large seem fairly average, like in another lifetime you could have been them, or at least lived next door to them or something. In fact, a major reason why Lin's story blew up was because he was such a long shot. Sports would not nearly be as fun without these dark horses, and though they may not grab headlines, you want them to succeed every time they step onto the court. So here's to you, Novaks and Scalabrines of the world. Keep doing what you're doing and going after that championship belt.

Sign made for my friend Jason's bachelor party


My goal in life is to never get glitter bombed.

500 for these 4 tix? wow....

Mariah Carey is offended. Who wouldn't want a bombing of Glitter?

Tickets to events in Boston pretty much cost an arm and a leg and your first born's arm and leg.

So Daryl Morey has gotten rid of Tracy McGrady, Jeremy Lin, and Steve Novak.

Why is he still the GM of the Rockets?

"but that man (Lin) needs another Asian American making him a poster the way the Greg Oden needs another injury"

Too soon? hahaha, but in all seriousness poor Oden =(

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