We all attend sporting events for different reasons. Many of us just want to see our favorite hometown players in the flesh, or catch a rare glimpse of another team’s superstar.
At the Garden this past Sunday night, we actually had both.
Sunday night marked the long awaited return to Boston of all-time Celtics’ greats Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. I watched, not because I was interested in this once dynamic duo’s play on the court this season or even their future. I watched because I still wanted to hang on to the past – theirs and mine.
This is the one night where my eyes were directed more to the Jumbotron than to the court.
The Celtics know how to make a game day experience just that – An Experience. The Celts front office drained the game-winning three from half-court with their video tributes to KG and The Truth.
The Celtics lost the game – and nobody cared. That’s not what this night was about and it’s not how it will be remembered.
The video tributes took fans back to the days when both donned Celtic green.
The first tribute recognized KG’s contributions made as a Celtic. It began with footage and headlines from the day he was traded to Boston, included scenes from the press conference introducing the new “Big Three”. KG, Pierce and Ray Allen promised better days to come and they all made good on that promise. The sound of Garnett’s famous game day roar echoed throughout the Garden and for one brief moment, you could close your eyes and feel the electricity he brought to the place.
The video production team had a tougher task meshing all the great moments from Pierce’s career in green into a 90 second tribute. Moments included Pierce getting drafted, to him hitting many big shots, and Jack Nicholson’s famous exchange with Tom Cruise about the truth from “A Few Good Men.” And they did it with style.
Game presentations are a big part of pro sports now and it isn’t going away anytime soon.
You may not like it, and that’s okay. You’re probably a fan of the game itself, so teams don’t have to worry about you, the team won’t lose your interest. It’s the new generation that teams have to win over and keep them interested in coming back to games.
Teams need to keep fans engaged whether it’s during a blow out or if the season’s in a tailspin, it isn’t every home game a former star player appears in the visitors’ locker room.
They also need to do it well and not over do it, just like the Celtics did for KG and Paul.
So if the teams I root for are struggling while I’m at the game, give me Mel Gibson’s speech from “Braveheart” or Chris Farley’s “Saturday Night Live Chip-N-Dale” tryout video on the Jumbotron every now and again, if for nothing else to say I had a good time.
Even if my team isn’t having the best season, or just gets trounced that night.