How a daring Celtics tattoo brought a family and a fan base together

It was the sixth period of mathematics in Mr. Lawson’s class when Jack Benveno said he had an obsession. He remembers that it was exactly 2:15 p.m. on March 21 when his life completely changed.

Bienvenue, an 18-year-old who graduated from Cape Cod Technical High School this past weekend, had seen the beloved Boston Celtics climb out of the Easten conference vault all the way to fourth. So when his friends were arguing about who would win the title, he didn’t understand what the debate was.

“I said, ‘I’m very confident the Celtics will win it,'” Bianveno said, ‘and I’ll get a tattoo (the 2022 banner)’. athlete. “My friend said, ‘No, you won’t.’ So I was like, ‘Fuck you guys, I got it done.'”

The day before, he was planning on getting a tattoo of the Boston area code 617. But after watching Boston go to Denver and lock up on MVP Nikola Joki that night, he had seen enough. The hype about the league the Celtics can achieve has been slowly starting to build, but it still seems premature.

Bienvenue didn’t care.

He knew his friends and family would think he wasn’t feeling well, but in fact it was his mother’s idea for him to get involved in the first place. Nancy Simer has always wanted to memorialize her father and best friend, so I thought she and Jack should do it together now that he’s 18 and is on his way to college.

“I kept paying my ass, saying I’d get to it eventually and he got tired of waiting,” Simer, a teacher at Nawsett Regional School District, said. So he was like, ‘Mom, I’m going to get my tattoo today,’ and I’m like, ‘Wow, what are you going to get?’ It’s like, ‘Okay, you’ll see.’

He had to surprise his parents – Semmer and his father Richard, an official in Eastham, Massachusetts.

Now, with the series tied and the Celtics back in Boston for Game Three of the NBA Finals, it’s hard to remember when that playoff round sounded like a fantasy. But back in March, it was too wild an idea to risk his parents’ intervention. Bienvenue knew when he told his friend Charlie Perkins he was getting the tattoo, Perkins would never be able to talk about it.

“My son Jack, he’s got some balls on him,” Perkins said.

“He said, ‘I’m going to get this tattoo that says Celtics 2022 World Champions,’” he recalled, recalling the math class conversation. “I said something like, dude, the playoffs haven’t started yet. you are crazy.'”

Once out of school, Bienvenue called tattoo artist Taylor Lindley at Hyannis’ new Hotline Tattoo parlor and told him he would be there in 30 minutes.

“It took me a little persuasion to put it on my shoulder, but he gave up in the end,” Benveno said.

“I’ve been tattooing for nearly 20 years, so I’ve seen a lot of weird things come up, but this one was really stand out,” Lindley said. “He was one of the first customers in my new store and he came up with this funny idea and seemed really confident to get it done. He seemed like a fun kid and was really well mannered, so I said, ‘What the hell is that?’

Lindley pulled out a picture of an actual Celtics championship banner, Bienvenue sat, and, 90 minutes later, it was engraved in ink.

Lindley took some photos and videos, bandaged them, and sent him home to face the music with his parents.

“My parents knew I was getting Celtics tattoos, but they didn’t really expect me to come home with a banner tattoo, so that was totally the experience,” Bienvenue said.

To his surprise, Semmer didn’t think it was that bad. She liked her son to be ambitious and daring.

“I definitely thought it was full of balls, but it was cool,” Simer said. “I wasn’t angry or anything, I thought it was cool, but they haven’t won yet.”

He posted a photo and video on Instagram of the tattoo and it sparked a frenzy at school. While his friends were anxiously awaiting the big reveal, he was home sick for a few days and anticipation reached a peak.

“They were all so excited to see this tattoo,” Perkins said of his friends. “He got it in early spring and when he got that tattoo I stopped caring about school and started having a good time.

“This is the biggest commitment I’ve ever seen from anyone.”

Bienvenue traced his belief in the team when he was at the Celtics game in New York – the MSG meltdown – as Knicks winger RJ Barrett hit a bat on January 6, a game the Celtics often referred to as rock bottom. .

“That was the lowest point of the season for me and all the Celtics fans, so I think it was ironic that I was in that game,” Bianvino said. “Looking back at how the season has turned out, it’s a good memory because we are now at our peak.”

Bienvenue said he could still hear the boos from Knicks fans as he walked out of the game wearing a shamrock jacket and green curly wig. So, when he saw how far the team had come by mid-March, he appreciated the big turnaround.

He was only five years old at the last tournament in 2008, and only a few of his friends were lucky enough to remember the pain of losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2010. He saw something in this team that made him feel that if they could beat the meltdown in New York, they could withstand the meltdown in New York. Anything.

“It means a lot of being in the first Finals I saw, because the first year I joined Celtics basketball was (Jayson) Tatum’s rookie year when we got to the conference finals,” Bienvenue said. “Game 7, I thought we won it, Tatum dunked on LeBron, and then LeBron did LeBron stuff. When we lost, I remember I was totally sad that night. Being able to finally get over that hump and get there this year means a lot. But The job is not over yet.”

Summer was with her son at the game in New York and began to understand why he was so passionate about it. When she saw the tattoo a few months later, she was everything. Bienvenue said his mom is almost the biggest Celtics fan at this point. Games spend on the edge of their seat, raising their praying hands every time a bullet flies through the air.

“I’m more of a basketball fan now than ever,” Simer said. “I think his tattoo got me into basketball. His tattoo took him to another level and I love watching him get so excited about him and having fun.”

She went with Bienvenue to her first game a few years ago after a few days of tattooing, watching the Boston Minnesota Timberwolves claim their 11th win in 12 games. At that point, the Celtics had established themselves as contenders and Simer could see why her son was willing to take the leap.

But what made it special was seeing him live carefree, even with his big bet still recovering on the upper arm.

“What I’m really happy to see is that Jack is confident and Jack is comfortable with himself,” Simer said. “I am a dancer and I love to dance, and I always dance like no one is watching. So I love the way he carried himself through the Boston Celtics games like no one else has. He is himself and that makes me really proud.”

Bienvenue’s friends and family gather to watch games with him now, and to click tattoos for good luck. Perkins was by his side the whole time, and he was equally fascinated by the post-season Boston race. He’s now following the team for the first time since Ray Allen was wearing green.

“When you watch the Celtics with Jack, it doesn’t matter if they win or lose, you’re going to have a great time,” Perkins said. “Jack really got me into basketball. I wasn’t very old (at that) and I was a Bruins fan, but he got me into a game after[he got tattoos]and I just started liking the guys on the team.

“(Payton) Pritchard is the next Larry Bird, I have to tell you. Golden State better look if Pritchard is on the field. Tatum is definitely the best player on this team. Give (Pritchard) a few years. He will be a star. The best player in the league NBA”.

While those around him hopped on board for a ride, Bienvenue was sure to be an internet clown after being interviewed in the local news and a picture of his tattoo when it went viral. It was shocking at first, when she was dealt with a sudden publicity after growing up with a quiet childhood on Cape Cod.

“Everyone is for me, but the general public, it took a lot longer to get around because the haters would hate it,” Bienvenue said. “All my friends are very supportive of her, even those who don’t like basketball started watching the Celtics religiously just because of the tattoos.”

Even Lindley, who hardly watches sports, said he’s become a fan now. Bienvenue said he wants to share his passion for the Celtics, and he cherishes how they build a community around him, just as he prepares to step out of the community he’s known all his life and head to Lassell University, where he will have to study sports management. He was even the star of his principal’s graduation speech at graduation last weekend.

“This class, like the Celtics, is resilient,” Director William Terranova said during his speech.

Bienvenue uses the word fate often in our conversation – and it’s about more than just getting that tattoo early and likely to pay off. It’s as the season and life go on, he continues to see the stars align.

“A couple of months ago, I planned a graduation trip for myself to go to the West Coast,” Bianvino said. “(I graduated) on Saturday and I’ll be leaving on Monday for the Bay Area, easily there (for match 5) during the finals, which is crazy. They just happened to line up, so that’s part of why I think that’s fate.”

He’ll travel across California for the rest of the finals, hoping to celebrate the Celtics’ championship in enemy territory. Whether it worked for him or not, it was the trip with friends and strangers who rooted for him that made everything so special.

“I don’t want him to cover him,” Semer said. “Some people say: Does it cover it?” I’m like, “I don’t think so.” I wouldn’t do that because it would just be a great memory. He met some really nice people, and we tuned in to the jumbotron and that was great for me.”

His parents were on board from the start and just like her son, Simmer sees it as more than just a sign in time, as evidence of one’s decision. It is a symbol of their journey as mother and son, a reflection of him entering adulthood and venturing out into the world.

“The lesson I have to give up is to let go of him and trust his judgment and just have fun with him. It means a lot because he’s 18 and going to school, and that’s hard enough to let go,” Simer said. “So experiencing this trip with him before he was gone was the absolute (gift) to be a part of it all with him.”

Although Bienvenue is proud of his decision, he said it was nerve-wracking every time the team fell. When Jimmy Butler pulled 3 at the end of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, he said he was sweating, but it added another layer of excitement.

“He came up to me that day and was like, ‘If I go to the beach and they lose, everyone is going to stare at me like I’m an idiot,’” Perkins said. “But if the Celtics win, they’ll be a legend.”

When asked what he would do if the Celtics lost, he said he didn’t really think about it. As much as a tattoo hurts, the aggravation of removing it will be worse – but not because of the physical pain.

“Maybe the emotional[pain]dude. Damn, I don’t think I’d get it lasered, because it’s a part of me,” Bianvenio said. “If they end up losing and then they win like next year, after they win I can fix it. Get two lasers and get three.

“But if I succeed, I am a prophet.”

(Top photo by Jack Bienvenue: Brian Babineau/Boston Celtics)

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