By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – It was a long weekend for Celtics fans, ruing the opportunity lost in Games 6 and 7, the sting of losing to a longtime rival, and the sadness of seeing the Big Three era come to an end.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

For older fans, experience is a comfort of sorts.

We know we’ll get over it, and that next year will bring renewed hope, especially if we get Kevin Garnett back.

But for younger Celtics fans, perhaps caught up in their first encounter with full-blown playoff fever, I know this may be an especially bitter pill.

So I’ll do my best to turn their mood around.

Yes, kids, your team lost.

They are not the best team in the league this year. But they were beaten by a better team, a healthier, younger team that had more gas in the tank at the end than the Celtics did.

There is no shame in that.

In fact, as you grow older you will learn that most people do not win the grand prize in life. Very few, in fact, enjoy the fame, wealth, beauty and accolades we are taught by our culture to value so highly.

But that doesn’t make them losers, not at all.

The Celtics handily defeated expectations, and by doing so, won the respect of their peers.

They can take unqualified pride in how they competed, and in the end, pride and respect are every bit as valuable as gold medals.

(However, Rajon Rondo and Garnett should have stayed on the court to congratulate the Heat at the end. Good sportsmanship and the class it denotes have high value as well.)

And perhaps most importantly, the Celtics and their fans have something priceless – hope for the future.

Setbacks in life are only lasting if they stifle hope.

With their bench back healthy, Rondo one year better, Avery Bradley emerging as a star, and two high draft picks later this month, the Celtics have as bright a future as any team in the league.

And so do you, if you learn to put life’s disappointments in perspective, like this unfortunate end to a fantastic season.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.


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