Whether I am looking for an Auburn jersey, red sox t-shirt, or I am looking to go green with a Celtics shirt, I always know to head straight to Fanatics.Com. Fanatics is the leading online retailer of officially licensed sports merchandise, so I always know I am going to get the very best! Fanatics.Com coined a term, “Family Fanatics,” which focuses on sports bringing families together- and right when I saw that, I was flooded with memories of my own family being brought together with sports!
As most of you know, I’ve always been a huge sports fan, you know, that obnoxious fan who goes to another rival city- rocking all your teams gear, yeah... that’s me. Hey, I am from Boston, what did you expect? We thrive off of getting under people’s skin. I usually surprise people when I throw out my knowledge on pro sports, most people tend to underestimate a females sports knowledge- but get me talking about basketball and I could go on for hours (I am a die hard Cs fan no matter how deep they are in a rebuilding phase). I mean seriously, I am from Boston- so that in itself is enough of an explanation as to why I am such a sports fan. We have the greatest sports history, along with some of the greatest teams and greatest players around. I remember seeing an ESPN cover once, referring to Boston as title town…because championships don’t lie. “Just like clock work, the sports world always comes back and centers around Boston.”
My mom grew up in the Larry Bird era, most people tell me how alike my mother and I are, and I always disagree. But sitting at the bar while watching the Celtics play- both of us uttering out sighs and screams as the players miss a rebound, or get a perfect three point shot, sort of scares me… and makes me realize…yup, that will be me in the future. And eventually, due to all of our ranting and raving, our love for basketball was shared amoung all of our other family members.
When my sister Ashley was sick in Cleveland waiting for her second double lung transplant, it was a prime time for the Celtics. I was in Auburn Alabama for school, but Ash and I would Skype during every game… the big three were rocking it, proving every doubter that age didn’t negatively affect their skills. Every day I would Skype her, I would see a new jersey hanging on her hospital window, she would go on fanatics.com, order a shirt supporting one of the prime players- hoping to fill her entire glass window with green. She didn’t know much about basketball- but she loved me so much and that in turn, made her love the Celtics.
It was the Eastern Conference first round, and the Cs were playing the Hawks. I realized that Atlanta was only an hour and a half away from Auburn, but going to one of these games didn’t cross my mind at all. I went about my day as I normally would have… went to class, went to the gym, but as soon as I was about to head inside the gym... I got a call from Ash. She excitedly told me to check my email, and then immediately after, check my mailbox. I was confused, yet very intrigued. So I of course skipped the gym (because any reason to skip the gym is a good reason), and went to the mailbox to check what was inside. When I opened it up… there was a package! I was excited, I never got packages- I thought maybe it was full of my favorite snacks… but once I opened it, all that was inside was a Celtics Jersey! I wasn’t complaining, of course- but again, I was a tad confused. I then checked my e-mail, there it was, the first email that caught my eye- she bought me two tickets to the game in ATL. I screamed, like really, really loud. And everyone at Philips Arena in ATL wanted me dead.
A few weeks later, when it came to the playoffs vs the Heat, I got a call that Ashley crashed and wasn’t doing so well. I flew down to Cleveland to be by her side. I walked into her hospital room (she was sedated) and saw all of the jerseys hanging on the wall. It was a shrine. We made it a point, no matter how tense and hard the times got with Ashley’s health... when the Celtics were on, we would all watch. It brought us together, it made us forget about the pain that was in front of us.
Ashley passed away on June 14 2012, but her memory lives on within all of us. I have kept every single one of her jerseys from fanatics.com, and continue to watch most games with my family...we laugh, scream, sigh, and know that Ashley is there watching with us.