Thursday, June 07, 2007


On the eve of Game One of the Cavs/Spurs championship series, this is one of the better things I've read, summing up TCE, by Mansfield Lucas. Here are a couple snippets.

About then, a few of us started to accept the inevitable. We defined something called the Cleveland sports experience, or The Cleveland Experience ™, for short. Abbreviated as the now infamous “TCE”, we believe it is the work of a malevolent spirit, Jobu, immortalized by Pedro Serrano in “Major League” , by far the best of a trio of Cleveland-centric 1990’s movies that included “Howard The Duck” (The Ted Stepien of movies) and “The Light of Day” (the Chucky Brown of movies). Give Jobu enough rum and he allows you hope. But it is never enough. If you replaced all the brewskis imbibed at the nickel beer night riot with rum, Jobu would not be sated. Jobu is like the mythical Lucy holding the football for The Cleveland Fan who is Charlie Brown waiting to kick it. We always believe that Lucy will hold that ball and allow us to kick it. But we know Jobu plays tricks and moves it every time, and every damn time we run through the failed kick full speed and fall flat on our backs, breaking our hearts and sacroiliacs. The forces of darkness will always defeat Cleveland Fan and mire us in TCE. After all, we are a band of blood brothers bound by:

  • The (real) Catch
  • Jim Chones’ broken foot in The Miracle of Richfield Cavs’ run (thought I’d forgotten? Shame on you).
  • Red Right 88
  • The Drive
  • The Fumble
  • The Shot
  • The Injuries
  • The Betrayal
  • The Mesa
  • The Drop aka the sunlight in Grady’s eyes
  • The Guran-Sheed bad ball bounces of last season

It isn’t a pretty picture. I get visibly piqued when they think they know. Boston fan used to whine about the Red Sox through two Celtics dynasties, a Stanley Cup, and multiple recent Super Bowls. Up yers Chowds. Pain? What do you know of pain? Gimme 6 Bill Buckers and a dozen Bucky Dents for the Celtics’ ’84 title win alone. Cubs’ fan? You cheesy poseurs. You get MJ, a Sox title, and the 46 defense. A pox on you, HBO, as well. I got your goat right here. I can go on and on about whining fans of single teams in other cities that co-habitate with championship franchises and how hypocritical they all are. Buffalo fan gets a pass. Y’all’s teams suck. Bad. San Diego fan gets no love as they live in America’s most beautiful city. But both y’all have only had two franchises for most of this time frame, having only had cups of coffee with the same NBA franchise.

The national media and commentators bring these incidents up in isolation sometimes. Occasionally, a few who lived among us connect the dots as Steve Kerr did last week. But they don’t know. They can’t know. They haven’t lived the whole TCE.


Let’s put this in the proper perspective. Watching LeBron James do what he did that Thursday night in Detroit in Game 5 against that media hyped “great” defensive team wasn’t a spectacular basketball performance. It transcended that. It wasn’t even really about athletics. What he did was reach a level of human perfection that is not even considered to exist in the realm of the possible. What he did was legendary, mythical. We weren’t watching Bron on the court, we were watching Achilles on the plains outside the walls of Troy. We were watching Michelangelo paint the ceiling. We were listening to Lincoln say a few words to consecrate the final resting place of thousands of young men in south central Pennsylvania. We were watching greatness and perfection that should not exist in the reality of our human condition. It was beyond any reasonable expectation to achieve, beyond even our ability to witness with credibility. And yet we were all witnesses.

And he topped it in game six.

When LeBron James subjugated his own accomplishments for those of the team the next game, he somehow he managed to step up even from his personal perfection the previous game. When he gives yet another post game interview where he comes off as level headed, confident but not cocky, well-spoken but with real perspective, you marvel at all he’s accomplished and the man he’s become given the challenges of both his immense obstacles and great blessings that seem to otherwise shape the maladjusted young men who seem to disproportionately represent today’s professional athletic superstars. LeBron James is as differentiated by his character as much as by his talents and accomplishments. I am so proud he’s one of us.

If you want to read the whole article, go here. I won't lie though, apart from a stretch in the late eighties / early nineties when they were my favorite team around playing my favorite, the Cavs were third fiddle to me, behind the Browns and Indians. That was mostly a result from the general malaise associated with the Bulls winning championship after championship, the level of play in the NBA declining rapidly with the advent of high-schoolers making the jump, and a Mike Fratello coached Cavs team that consistently put forth 67-72 scores, epitomizing how unwatchable the NBA had become. All this, plus a players lockout led to professional basketball's downsizing in my ranking of sports teams. Still though, I will be rooting no less hard for the Cavs to knock off the heavily favored Spurs, starting tonight. Can the Cavs win? Sure. This team can run with anyone. It's not a particularly good team, LeBron aside, but their defensive style can grind it out with anyone. Will they win? Gun to my head, I'd go with "no." But a lot of that is probably conditioning from years of rooting for Cleveland.

So screw convention. Screw conditioning. Screw Bruce Bowen and his jump kicking ways. Cavs in six!

We are all witnesses.


Ash said...

My humblest condolences. Though seeing Eva Longoria jump into Tony Parker's arms sort of made it all worth it.

Ash said...

I mean, deepest condolences . .