Last night’s Cavs-Heat game was so bad that midway through the third quarter, I started watching “The Road” to cheer me up. The movie has death, cannibalism and a post-apocalyptic wasteland, but it was better than watching LeBron and the talent from South Beach obliterate the Cavs.
At least the movie has redemption at the end.
And a dog.
By the time the Cavs fell behind by 25 points shortly after halftime, watching the game only had value for two reasons: 1) to see if Clevelanders themselves would hang in and not succumb to the riotous uprisings the national media believed were possible and 2) to hear what innovative chants they had for James. My favorite? A tie between “Akron hates you” and “Scottie Pippen.”
Watching the game was like seeing the girl who broke up with you again: It hurts and all those little mannerisms that were cute when you were dating are just annoying now. His dancing, his posing and that thing he does with the powder prior to the game were great when we had him. The Cavs used to even give out powder to fans who sat facing the scorer’s table so they could throw it up when James did.
Now, we all wanted to throw up as he decorated the area with a cloud of talc.
The Cavs came out like a 16-seed in the NCAA tourney: They opened up with a flurry of points, hard fouls and tough play, pushing out to a 17-12 lead. The Heat did what better teams always do: They weathered the storm, chipped away and eventually broke the game open. When the carnage was ended, it was 118-90 and I’m not sure the game was even that close.
To their credit, the Cavs acknowledged this was more than just a regular game. Even in the pre-game efforts, they used pride and tradition and loyalty to make a point. They had former and current Browns and Indians on hand and introduced them prior to the game. Ironically, one of the players was Bernie Kosar, the state’s other beloved local son who tried to lead Cleveland to its first championship since 1964. He failed and was cut while still in his prime. He then took his talents to Dallas, where he won a Super Bowl.
One person I wish had been on hand was Frank Robinson, the Hall-of-Fame player and former Indians manager. In 1975, he became the first black manager in baseball and he was the target of much media interest. He once noted that he was looking forward to finishing up his first major road trip so the media could all do their “the first black manager” stories and then he could just be another manager.
So much has been made of LeBron and “The Decision” and “What will Cleveland do when he comes back?” I knew exactly what we would do: We’d boo, we’d chant and we’d lose. As much as I wanted to send LeBron home with LeLoss, I’m too much of a realist to know that storyline had no traction.
Like Robinson had hoped 35 years ago, I’m hoping that we’ve gotten this out of our system and that we can get back to playing ball. We can stop pissing and moaning about this guy, rejoicing in Miami losses and work toward a playoff spot. We can be like the kid at the end of the road, who found a family to live with and realized that maybe that last bullet he guarded so stringently wouldn’t be used in a suicide mission.
It’s not as glamorous as we’d like, but neither is Cleveland.