The Impossible Dream vs. The Improbable Team
I'm trying to remember the last time a losing Boston sports team garnered as much fan respect as this year's Celtics. The only team I can think of is the 1967 Red Sox "Impossible Dream" team. To this day, they're still respected and beloved; and there are no lingering grudges against them for losing to the Cardinals' Bob Gibson et gang in the World Series. Just the opposite: It was a magical, unexpected year with personal triumphs (Yaz's triple-crown) and tragedies (Tony Conigliaro) and surprises (Jim Lomborg's clutch Cy Young performances). The four-way fight for the AL pennant was epic. The fact the Sox got to the WS and nearly won is almost an inconvenient historical footnote.
This year's Celtics season wasn't nearly as dramatic or magical. They were not Cinderellas. They were not your classic out-of-no-where underdogs who stunned pundits and fans alike. This was a seasoned team of championship-caliber veterans who, though hobbled and aging fast, were nevertheless expected to at least make the playoffs. But few seriously believed the Celts would get so far in the playoffs (and almost beat the hated Heat in the process). There were moments when you could actually fantasize about Banner No. 18 being raised to the Garden rafters, ending the Big Three Era with highly satisfying in-your-face-Lebron authority. It didn't work out that way. But they won our respect.
Btw: Thinking about it a little more, the '75 Red Sox are up there as favorite lovable losers too. Even more so than this year's Celtics. But neither the '75 Sox or '12 Celts come close to matching the Impossible Dream team's lovable-loser status. ... And, Btw II: I'm not that
sentimental about the Celts. I still prefer obnoxious winners over noble losers. But when noble losers come around now and then, it's fine to give 'em a pat on the back.
Bonus post addition: Andy Williams' rendition of the Impossible Dream.
But why the bugs and snails?