My Wife, the Celtics Fan

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A man who admits he knows little about pro basketball attends a Boston Celtics game with his wife, a devoted fan. But it was like they were watching two different events.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

Tonight in the NBA playoffs, the Boston Celtics could knock out the Detroit Pistons. It's game six, and if the Celtics win, they go on to the NBA finals for the first time in over 20 years. The Celtics carry special significance for our commentator, Jay Keyser. But that has more to do with his marriage than with the game itself.

JAY KEYSER: Recently, George, my urologist, called me with an offer. Yes, urologists do make friends with their patients. He wanted to know if I would like to go to a Celtics basketball game. He had season tickets and his wife couldn't make it. My immediate reaction was that he was asking the wrong spouse. My wife Nancy, she's the basketball fan. She played it in high school. She's followed the Celtics for 40 years. Nancy said no. She wanted me to find out what it was the she loved about the game. What should I look for? I asked her. She said - but wait a minute, she can put it much better than I can.

Ms. NANCY KELLY: Well, let's see. The main thing is, had the Celtics come to play? Are they playing their smothering defense? Are they fighting for every rebound and every lose ball? On offense you've got to watch the big three - Garnett, Allen, Pierce. If they're trapped down, watch for Rondo to open up. He'll take it to the basket and make them pay for ignoring him.

KEYSER: Trap down, I said, take it to the basket, I got it. Anything else?

Ms. KELLY: The ref. Are they letting them play, or are they controlling the tempo? Whatever they do, are they doing it fairly? A team can adjust to either. What's really bad is if the refs don't do it at both ends of the court.

KEYSER: Got it, I said. What else?

Ms. KELLY: The bench is critical. Do they leave the game better off than when they came in or are they at least doing no harm?

KEYSER: The bench, I said. What's the bench?

Ms. KELLY: The players who give the starters a rest.

KEYSER: I concentrated, I bore down, I took notes, I think I got it all. When I got home from the game, Nancy asked me how I liked it. I loved it, I said. Nancy beamed...

Ms. KELLY: Tell me.

KEYSER: The seats were great, I said. There was a nice couple sitting next to me. She's a graphic artist and he's in marketing. I gave them my e-mail address. We'll all have dinner together soon.

Ms. KELLY: Yeah?

KEYSER: And, and during one of the timeouts, these eight-inch nylon dolls with aviator caps and a company logo parachuted out of the rafters into the crowd. I tried to snag one for you, but it wasn't close enough. A guy dressed up like a leprechaun shot t-shirts into the crowd, out of a Plexiglas bazooka. I missed one of them too. Sorry.

Ms. KELLY: I don't care about the dolls and t-shirts. Tell me about the game.

KEYSER: Oh yeah, the cheerleaders were great, all 16 of them. During one of the timeouts, three little kids raced around the center of the court in go-carts. They were adorable.

Ms. KELLY: Was anybody playing basketball?

KEYSER: Of course, I said.

Ms. KELLY: Who won?

KEYSER: We did.

Ms. KELLY: How did you know?

KEYSER: Well, when it was over, everybody looked really happy, I said.

Ms. KELLY: Thanks a lot, you're a big help.

Mr. KEYSER: Well, thanks to my urologist, Nancy and I now go to as many Celtics games as we can. Her eyes are glued to the action on the court below. My eyes, however, are on a loftier goal. I search the rafters, hoping to snag a parachuting doll.

NORRIS: Jay Keyser lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with wife Nancy Kelly. Tonight you can guess what they're doing; they will be watching the Celtics.

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