Saturday, 2:15 PM
For a 50-year fan, this one is still sweet
By Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff
White-haired Nancy Hill stood against a metal barrier on the parade route this morning with her grandson, an ear-to-ear smile stretched across her face as she basked in a lifetime of Celtics memories.
"I'm a basketball junkie, my husband used to say," recalled Hill, 77, who was wearing the jersey of her first Celtics hero, Bill Russell.
Rubbing her 9-year-old grandson's head, Hill clarified what she just said: "I'm a Celtics junkie. And I'm thrilled, thrilled, thrilled."
She came to Boston from Maine as a bride in 1956 and the next year bought her late husband Kevin two $5 tickets to the Garden. "And they weren't nosebleeds," Hill said. "They were good seats."
The couple got lucky: A new Celtics player named Bill Russell took the floor, and Hill was hooked. She has watched through wins and losses, glory days, and last-place finishes. She remembered a previous victory rally in the 1980s, following the players who took flatbed trucks from the Park Plaza Hotel to City Hall. "I was so young then, I climbed a telephone pole to watch," Hill said wistfully.
This year she followed the games on television from her home in Roslindale. She yelled at the screen, and at times was too afraid to look. When Paul Pierce won the Most Valuable Player award, Hill howled with delight because she has "watched him grow up here."
So after 50-plus years, how does 2008 compare?
"Championships are always wonderful," Hill said.
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