Tough night for me. I just finished watching my team Boston Celtics lose to the Hawks 104-92. My team was down the whole game but made valiant come back efforts. This whole heartbreak team isn’t new to me. I’ve dealt with it many times before and no, I don’t want to talk about each of them. A lot of people hate losing, and I do too. Tragically, a lot don’t see the beautiful meaning behind it. Even more so, some don’t even handle it well. With a lot of heartbreaks I’ve gone through as a Celtics fan and as a person, I have eventually come to see the beauty behind them. The beauty behind heartbreaks is that it allows you fully experience how human we are. Aristotle said that we are “rational animals”, but he failed to capture what we are holistically. I say that we are just as passionate as we are rational animals. When our rational side intertwines with our passionate side, we thrive in being lovers and, therefore, humans. As a Celtics fan, there are 3 things I learned about true love:
1. Love is a mystery to be cherished and not be rationalized
I am one of the rare Celtics fans living here in LA. To put that in context, it is like a fish living in a jungle. It doesn’t make sense, especially the history between the Lakers – the Los Angeles basketball team and the Boston Celtics. A lot of my friends ask me why I am a Celtics fan despite living in LA, the place where it is close to second nature to be a Laker fan. I honestly can’t really explain why. I started becoming a Celtics fan when they got Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, but I am confident that it doesn’t mean I’m a bandwagon. I do know the history of the most storied franchise in the NBA and can each player in their roster during their 1962 championship team. More importantly, I am just as in love with my team as I did on June 17, 2008. The only explanation I can why I am a Celtics fan is the same explanation a man gives when he is asked why he’s in love with his woman: it’s a mystery. Love is the only thing where you can feel the light when you are blinded. Every time I watch the Celtics, especially on their home court, I just feel the light in the midst of blindness. The beauty of a woman is meant to hold dearly and not put in a capsule to rationalize, i.e. to figure out what makes it beautiful, etc. As Blasé Pascal said, “the heart has reasons that Reason does not know”.
2. The best thing true love can do is to make you lose yourself
There is a rather strange thing any sports fan experience. You wake up one day and one of the first things you think of after waking up is “my team plays today”. While you go on to spend your day doing what you have to do, every minute and second of it is actually spent in anticipation to that very moment when the game starts. Eventually, you settle down and fix yourself towards the game. You know that you are a true fan when this is what you feel towards your team. When I start watching my Celtics on TV, sitting on my couch, I feel like I am actually present where they are. From the first minute until the end, I feel like I’m losing myself. There is no other world I experience but the world where there is no one and nothing but me and my Boston Celtics.
3. Experiencing true love involves pain, even pain that you’d rather not feel
True love is holistic, which means it takes in pleasure and pain alike, joy and sorrow alike, success and failures alike. While it may be counter-intuitive to say, the biggest losses the Celtics suffered validated me as their fan. I can talk about Game 7 of the 2009 semis against the Magic, where they lost 101-82 at home, that heartbreaking loss against the Lakers in Game 7 of 2010 NBA Finals 83-79, on Feb 2012 ECF against the Heat in Game 7 101-88, on 2013 NBA Draft when we lost Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. I would be lying if I said there weren’t tears of heartbreak after watching through those losses. Yet, it’s strange to say that my love for the Celtics grew deeper and stronger through those moments. Don’t get me wrong, however. I never wanted my team to experience those losses. More painful than those losses is definitely the 22 year championship drought my fellow fans experienced. Losing is undeniably an ugly thing to deal with. However, it is an ugly that gives meaning to more beautiful thing. Losing makes victories sweeter. Pain makes pleasure more gratifying, if pain is endured patiently.