Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Mr. Shuttlesworth is BACK

ESPN ran a column on Wednesday about how the Boston fans hadn't turned their backs on Ray Allen. Chris Sheridan was the author of the article that was trying to find a reason for the lack of criticism against Ray. His reasoning ranged from the fact that the C's have yet to trail in a series to the fact that Allen is on the better side of 32 years old.

"There's an old adage in the NBA that nothing ages faster than a shooting guard on the wrong side of his 30th birthday. So is that what we're seeing from the eight-time All-Star and 2000 Olympic gold medalist who will turn 33 this summer?"

I don't dislike Chris Sheridan one bit. In fact, he's one of the ESPN NBA columnists I enjoy reading. However, unlike Boston's fans, he turned on Ray a little too soon. Here is my theory on Boston's patience with Mr. Allen:

Boston sports fans are not one dimensional: These are people who grow up loving, and often playing several sports. We are fans of the Sox, Patriots AND Celtics (and then there are those guys who care about the Bruins or Revs or Cannons, but we won't get into that). The passion that the people of London put into rooting for Arsenal, we put into rooting for EACH team, we don't divide it.

Thus, we're used to being patient. The Red Sox won a World Series in 1918, then waited 86 years for the next. The New England Patriots didn't win their first championship as a franchise until February 3, 2002 (about 90 minutes before my Sweet 16th). We are professionals in patience as fans.

Beyond that, Terry Francona has exercised fans' patience by sticking with players through extremely long slumps. If anyone remembers last year, they'll remember how bad Julio Lugo and Dustin Pedroia were at points throughout the season. Ultimately, Lugo was a major contributor and Dustin was rookie of the year for a team that won a world championship.

We've learned. This is the new Boston sports fan.

And tonight, Mr. Allen came up big. 29 points, and led the Celtics to their biggest win perhaps since June 8th, 1986. I was four months old then.

Well done, Ray.

Also, I notice that you, sir, wore a sleeve. The most OCD shooter I've ever heard of wears a sleeve and then goes off... how about that. Ray is BACK baby.

So all the haters, a.k.a. Bill Simmons (bandwagoneer) can stop saying Ray is a useless liability to the C's.

Keep it up #20.

Can't wait for Friday night.

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