Payton Michael Pritchard, I Will Move Back to Boston for You

I'm not even saying I wanna' hook up or even hang out, I just want to be breathing the same air as the player who made that fucking magnificent half-court shot.

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Payton Michael Pritchard, I Will Move Back to Boston for You

I grew up 30 miles north of Boston but I’ve lived in NYC for the last 11 years. And for the last 10 1/2 years, my friends and family in Massachusetts have asked me, “When are you moving back?!?!?!” While I appreciate people wanting me to live in the same state as them, my answer is usually, “No.” Sometimes it’s, “No, thank you.”

But after Payton Michael Pritchard’s half-court shot Monday night during Game 5 of the Celtics vs. Mavericks NBA Finals with less than four seconds left in the first half—a shot that gave me a type of tingle I’ve never experienced before—my answer is now, “Hmm.” (Which, you’ll notice, is no longer a definitive “no.”) I witnessed that moment at a bar in Charlestown and it was the first time in my entire life (including the years that I did live here) that I ever thought, Wait, maybe I could live here. The power of sports! Specifically, the mind-altering power of a sportsgasm.

I would not consider myself a Celtics fan, mostly because I’m scared that actual Celtics fans who did not move away from Boston would punch me in the face. But since I fucking hate the Knicks, I will casually root for the Celtics whenever I get the urge to follow the NBA—which is rare and hasn’t really happened since the last time the Celtics won the championship in 2008 lol. My NBA fandom is also almost entirely dependent on whether Jezebel’s resident NBA fan, Kylie Cheung, deems an NBA story worthy enough to write about. Speaking of which, I’d be remiss not to include Kylie’s take on the Celtics (record!!!!) 18th NBA Championship:

As a Sixers super fan (the Sixers share a historic rivalry with the Celtics, at least if getting curb-stomped by the Celtics every year counts as a rivalry) and a James Harden super fan (Harden’s Clippers were curb-stomped by the Dallas Mavericks in May), picking a side this NBA Finals felt a lot like voting in the general election. It came down to choosing the lesser of two evils, which, for me, was ultimately Boston. So, I’m not exactly thrilled with this outcome or how this year’s playoffs went down as a whole. But I’m definitely relieved that Dallas didn’t win and I enjoyed my short-lived alliance with my friends who are Celtics fans, but I am ready for NBA fan fiction season, AKA the off-season…

But let’s get back to Pritchard! In the 12 or so hours since I first learned Payton Michael Pritchard’s full name, I’ve also learned that he’s 6’1″ (the most honest height a man can be), he’s number 11 (a favorite number of mine since I was born in November), he’s from Oregon (suspicious but I have heard stories of people being from there), and he’s a January Aquarius (unpredictable and chaotic queens). I appreciate a January Aquarius but as a November Sagittarius, I’m not confident we’d ever be able to commit to plans, and, not to brag, but my boyfriend is currently 6’4″—which is to say, I’m not even moving back to Massachusetts in search of love or friendship from Pritchard! I am moving back to Massachusetts solely to breathe the same air as a man who made me tear up from throwing an orange ball into a net from kind of far away.

 

Because even though being a sports fan means getting to see your team win a bunch of championships (or is that only being a Boston sports fan?? 🥁😏) I’ve learned that winning a championship doesn’t always mean you get such a skin-tingling, hope-renewing moment like Pritchard’s half-court shot: A moment that inspires friendship among strangers; that injects your soul with a feeling of weightlessness; that briefly has you forgetting that Boston’s pretty annoying and racist; and that fully drugs your brain into thinking, wow maybe I could move back to where I came from. 

Ultimately, I left Massachusetts and moved to New York because I wanted to live in New York and not Massachusetts. But what a thrill it was to be in Boston to watch the Celtics win the 2024 NBA  Championship, made even more thrilling by the fact that now I get to go home…to New York.

So thank you, Pritchard, for the sportsgasm, and if (IF) I ever move back, I’ll be sending you my therapy bill.

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