Monday, May 4, 2009

7th game

I began watching the Celtics-Bulls 7th game at a tavern on 8th avenue and 50th street. To my left was a fellow from Greece and to his left a colleague of his from Italy. To my right was a rabid Chicago Bulls fan who assured me that it was cool that I was cheering for the Celtics.

I discover that the men from Greece and Italy have just completed their MBA degrees at Columbia. They look relaxed and are enjoying these last few weeks in New York before going home to their respective countries. In front of us were two screens, one showing the Red Sox Tampa Bay baseball game, the other showing the Celtics. These students are as friendly as can be. They ask me some questions about the games. The Italian knows more about baseball and the Greek more about basketball, but still they are newcomers to the games. They ask interested questions: "How many points do you get when you hit a home run" I answer and then when there is a dispute about a close play at third I explain the rules pertaining to the need to tag a runner out who advances when the player is not forced.

The interest in the basketball game is serious particularly for the man from Greece who played some in high school. He is impressed with the leaping ability of some players and the shooting prowess of others. I ask them who they are rooting for. They say they just want to see a good game.

Later at another tavern on 79th street I watch the second half packed like a sardine with a hundred zealots who also want to see a good game, but are rooting for the Bulls and Celtics with unrestrained enthusiasm. Again I am standing next to a fellow who roots for Chicago and with whom I exchange complimentary remarks about our teams. To my left is a fellow from Seattle who is rooting for the Celtics because Ray Allen, a Celtic, used to play for the Seattle Supersonics.

After the Celtics preserved the victory, I walk across the street for the post game show. Not much enthusiasm at this Irish pub for much of anything. The brogues in here are so thick that I have trouble making out what people are saying. I ask the young man to my left if he is a fan. "No fan" he says, but I have to ask him three times because it sounds like he says "No fun". Even if he had said the latter and meant it, he would have been the only person I met that night who was not having any.

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