Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Curse is over

A group of us were watching game five between the Cavs and the Pistons, when another dropped in during the fourth quarter. Now this fellow had not watched a Cavs game all year let alone in the playoffs. Yet when the announcer said, "The Pistons can take their first lead of the second half,” he said, "Typical Cleveland."

On Sunday as game seven slipped away the ABC network, just in case we had forgotten, went through all of the low water marks of our sports history. There was "The Catch,” "Red Right 88,” "The Drive," "The Fumble," "The Shot" and game seven of the 1997 World Series.

But before you put the "The Rebound," onto that list, realize it doesn't belong.

In each and every case of the above aforementioned travesties, we had the better team. We were supposed to win those games, but didn't.

Now I am not going to say that game six didn't hurt. And that the second half of game seven wasn't difficult to swallow, but curses had nothing to do with either.

The Detroit Pistons are a very good basketball team. And yes we had them by the throat and they slipped away.

Here is what I have heard from radio call-in shows and from Cleveland Sports fans who didn't bother to tune in until game six.

"We have a rookie coach who doesn't know how to sub," or my favorite "This game was lost when Mike Brown was hired back last summer."

"Z is awful."
"Drew Gooden is dumb. Andy needed to play more. "
"Andy fouls too much and can't shoot. Drew needed to play more."
"Marshall AND/OR Jones can't shoot"
"Snow is awful."
"LeBron had no help."
"LeBron tried to do too much. Why is he shooting those fade-away 20-footers?"
If that is you-- well, sir, you are an idiot.

Shut up!

If the team is that bad and everyone except LeBron is a bum including the coach, explain how it came within one offensive rebound of beating the two-time Eastern Conference champions.

If you read me regularly then you know no one believes in curses more than me. Don't you get it? This whole playoff series was a blessing. The curse is over.

I am reminded of that new show "How I Met Your Mother,” when Ted meets Barney at a food shelter on thanksgiving and he asks if he can scoop stuffing for a while. Barney scoffs and says, "You wanna scoop stuffing on your first day? Hello, NFL, can I be quarterback next Sunday?"

No one hands out championships without hard work and disappointment except in Hollywood. If no one honestly believed the Cavs could beat the Pistons in a seven game series before it started, why be all bent out of shape when they didn't?

Would have winning game six or seven been awesome? No doubt. But trust me when I tell you that LeBron James learned more in those last two losses then he did in any of the 57 games he did win this year. And so did Danny Ferry and Mike Brown.

Beating the Pistons as breath-taking as it would have been would have been Fool's gold. While we are not as bad as the radio callers would have you believe, we weren't as good as we played for most of this series. Some alterations need to made.

But the pieces are starting to fall in place. You can see who fits in the puzzle and who doesn't. As much as it hurt, that fourth quarter was the best thing ever to happen to LeBron James and to this city's sports fans since 1964.

And if you didn't see that, you weren't watching close enough.

It is going to get better. Much, much better. And soon.