Bill Simmons made the cross-country trip to Boston for Game 6 of the Celtics-Heat series and was reminded what a stomach-punch loss feels like. A night earlier, his daughter experienced a similar feeling for the first time while watching the Los Angeles Kings lose a tough one to the Devils at the Staples Center.
In his Grantland piece on Friday, "The Consequences of Caring," Simmons writes about both nights from the perspective of a loyal, longtime Celtics fan and a knowing father:
Leaving the arena, I noticed that same relentlessly eerie silence from the previous night in Los Angeles. Two different sports, two different coasts, same sound. My father and I strolled slowly back to his Beacon Hill house, moving like zombies with hundreds of other fans. You could hear horns beeping, bottles getting kicked, that's about it. If I were 9 years old, I would have been crying just as hard as I did after the '78 Sox-Yankees playoff game. I stopped crying about sports a long time ago. I never stopped caring. This one hurt.
"I'm sorry you flew back for that one," my father finally said.
"I'm not sorry," I said. "That was an amazing performance. I'm glad I was there."
I don't know if I totally meant it. We started talking, rehashed the game, tried to figure out what happened. We both agreed that LeBron couldn't possibly play that well again, and that Pierce couldn't possibly play that poorly. We talked about missed chances in the second and third quarters, all the different times Boston could have swung the momentum with one basket. We remembered that this particular Celtics team never plays two lousy games in a row, and that Miami hasn't exactly been a house of horrors for them. By the end of the walk, we had rallied. The Celtics were still alive. One game, winner take all. You never know.
That departure went a little better than Wednesday's exit from Staples Center. After coming apart at that stoplight, my daughter only cried for another minute, finally redirecting her anger toward me. You know, because that's what daughters do.
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