When things are going irreversibly great for the Celtics, which is to say frequently, here comes “Shake Your Booty” on the sound system along with a clip from disco-era “American Bandstand.” The clip has lots of dancers. But amid the Afros and the flamboyance and the groups doing the Hustle, the bearded white guy dancing with himself in the snug Gino Vannelli top stands out. He looks like he cut Mr. Kotter’s class to boogie at Dick Clark’s. His shirt is too tight. But his moves are just right.
At Celtics games, this moment has been christened Gino Time. When it arrives, dudes (and dames) rise up from their chairs, beer in one hand, pumped fist in the other, upper teeth gently pressing down on lower lip, and begin to do the Gino. A small sample suggests this dance is undoable. Gino’s hips undulate. His arms swing gracefully from near his head down to his waist and into a soft clap. He’s committing a roller-rink seduction with no skates.
These moves are from a simpler time. No one who learned to dance after 1980 knows how to flow like that. At the Garden, the Gino is basically whatever happens to your body when music plays. It is often “wave your hands in the air, wave ’em like you just don’t care.” It’s often as unsightly as the home victories are glorious.
One of the pleasures of this craze has been watching the main show shift from the parquet floor to the stands. You can see the players on the bench turn into astonished spectators of the unsafe-looking, borderline disinhibition erupting in the stands. The Celtics look on in much the same way the nation watched Jonathan Papelbon’s Riverdance – in cringing amusement.
First off, any team that loses to the Knicks this season gets an automatic mention in Worst of the Night. But how do you come off back-to-back wins over the Celtics and then lose to the Knicks?! I mean, Tough Juice was talking about winning a championship yesterday! Then his team goes out and shoots 39 percent (compared to 51 percent for the Knicks). Even more embarrassing is the fact that the Knicks, who are dead-last in the league in assists per game, had twice as many dimes as the Wizards (26 to 13). According to a complex mathematical algorithm I just made up, that makes Washington twice as selfish as the most selfish team in the league.