With this weekend's home opener, the Celtics return to the Garden for the first time since Game 6 of last summer's Eastern Conference Finals, where LeBron James turned in the performance of his career, forcing a Game 7 back in Miami. (I have no memory of what happened down there.)
But it was the Celtics fans, that is, the few thousand or so who remained until the bitter end, their team destroyed on its home court, down twenty or so with only a few minutes to play, who distinguished themselves most glowingly by continually chanting "Let's Go Celtics" for a solid four or five minutes, despite the outcome of the game, and in doing so, provided all sports fans with the sort of unscripted, non-micro-managed (take note, Red Sox ownership) moment that happens all-too-infrequently in our current spectator sports climate of Jumbotron screens and team-owned media broadcast stations.
It was so satisfyingly simple. The fans reminded the team that, despite that night's poor performance, they matter to the community. And later, the team spoke about receiving that affection.
Here's hoping that all team owners (again - especially the folks over at Fenway) remember that no amount of t-shirts shot into the stands can compete with such basic fan adulation of a team that deserves it.