Thursday, May 29, 2008

Of David Lee Roth and Transistor Radios: Celtics Win Game 5

So a funny thing happened on the way to watching last night’s Game 5 Epic Win of Awesomeness. I sorta, kinda, maybe missed 3/4ths of the game to stare at a shirtless 53-year-old man doing high leg kicks while wearing a ten-gallon pirate hat.

Let me explain.

Among my many loves, David Lee Roth-era Van Halen is just ahead of “old people scooters” and slightly behind “alcohol.” My high school AOL screen name involved the words “Diamond Dave,” despite the fact that I am not named Dave, nor do I own a diamond mine (though that would be awesome). I am probably the only person EVER to refer to David Lee Roth’s autobiography as “The Bible,” and for my 17th birthday, my friends got me a DLR poster that was somehow even gayer than this:

So when my best friend called me yesterday at 4pm to tell me he had a FREE ticket to Van Halen (reunited with Diamond Dave for this month at least) sitting 15th-row stage left, I felt conflicted. Here was a free ticket to the band I loved throughout childhood…or Game 5 of the most important Celtics series of the last 20 years. Hm...decisions decisions. Waitasecond...I have DVR! I could simply record the game, and watch it when I got home! I stopped at home to DVR the game, and proceeded to reach down, between my legs, and ease the seat back.

At the concert however, curiosity got the best of me, and I found myself frequently checking my phone for score updates. Five-minute drum solo? Perfect time to check the first quarter stats. Oh, they’re playing “Mean Streets?” Time to dive to the phone again. It got so bad that I think I checked the score twice during “Ain’t Talkin ‘Bout Love,” despite the fact that the song isn’t even four minutes long. I kept going to the phone like a junkee, much like Eddie Van Halen went to the bottle from 1982-present. And we know how that turns out:

The concert tidily ended at 10:15 (not exactly the all-night rocking that I pictured from Van Halen) and I rushed to my car with a diarrhea-like urgency. I could at least catch the fourth quarter on the radio, and if I got home fast enough, I could maybe even watch the final few minutes at the GHABB,Y Palace of Wisdom.

(For those who care – the concert was awesome, though the physical state of the members of VH is a little disconcerting. DLR somehow has eight-pack abs at the age of 53, while the two Van Halen brothers are literally decomposing by the minute. Eddie’s kid – who is now the bassist – resembles August Gloop from Willy Wonka. That said, the band can still fucking wail, even if Dave forgets half his lines, dresses like Siegfried & Roy and can’t hit the high notes anymore. I’ll say this – seeing an Eddie Van Halen guitar solo is pretty much like staring into the face of God. Thumbs up show overall, especially for free)

In retrospect, listening to the game on the radio was one of the better decisions I’ve made during these playoffs. Watching national broadcasts are nice and good, and Breen/Van Gundy/Jackson has been one of the better national TV broadcast teams of recent memory. Still, as I learned last night, listening to a home radio broadcast better conveys the sheer gravitas of an important game. Grande and Max painted a vivid picture of the game’s goings on without regard for team neutrality or proper diction. When the C’s scored big buckets, they yelled. When the Pistons started coming back, they muttered in the same somber tones that Jim Ross used to announce that Owen Hart had died. In between, they reminded listeners how far the Celtics had come over the last 20 years, the full impact that players like Garnett and Perkins were having on their teammates, and what a win would mean to the team and all of Celtics fandom.

Now I've heard stories of people who choose only to listen to games with the television sound muted and a home radio broadcast in their ear, and generally written them off as a Bissinger-esque relic. But after listening to the game last night, I’m considering doing the radio-and-muted-TV-dealie for the remainder of the playoffs. I’m a Celtics fan dammit, in previously uncharted (at least by anyone under the age of 27 or so) territory. Doesn’t it therefore make sense to have my bi-nightly Christmas presents of basketball goodness delivered by unabashed Celtics fans, and not the non-regional diction of a national broadcaster?

As for the game itself – Wow. I am now officially sorry for anything I ever said about Ray Allen, especially the parts about him being a zombie and/or on PCP. Perk’s 18-16 became the stuff of Celtic legend, and Garnett earned every bit of the $23 million he’s being paid this year. While Rondo scared me (there were a LOT of lazy-ass passes mixed in with those 13 assists, and his shooting was awful), and the nearly-blown lead was extremely troublesome, I’m still on cloud nine and have every confidence that the C’s will make the Finals. And when they do, I’ll be sure to bring a radio.


Stitchface said...

Ben. I will kill you where you stand.

NOBODY badmouths "Mean Street." NOBODY, goddammit. Especially someone who thinks the name of the song is "Mean StreetS." That's bush league, right there.

I liked that tune all the way back when it was "Voodoo Queen."

Well, not really... I was -6 years old at the time... But still. Don't fuck with "Mean Street."

Saw the show in Providence. Kicked ass. You guys in Manchester didn't get "Little Guitars," did you?

A Pimp Named DaveR said...

To borrow a line from Master Shake, that DLR picture is the gayest thing since gay came to Gaytown.

futuremrsrickankiel said...


Stitchface said...

I immediately regret leaving "Panama" on your voicemail, FMRA.