Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Thoughts on this sports weekend

It is a fun time in Cleveland sports.

The Indians are in first place. The Cavs are up 3-0. The Browns appeared to have picked up a franchise quarterback, a franchise left tackle and a shut-down corner on the draft's first day.

And the cherry on top... the Yankees are in last place.

And yet, the loudest and longest I cheered this weekend is watching the Golden State Warriors go up 3-1 on Dallas which has the NBA's best record.

I imagine this is what the Miracle of Richfield had to feel like. Warrior fan has waited 12 years to make the playoffs-- which they earned in the last game of the season. Their reward the NBA's best team. And now their boys are giving them the fight of a lifetime. The series isn't over but it is moments like this-- which make being a sports fan worth it. To root for a team that wins all the time would be one thing-- and at one point expectations of winning would ruin the thrill of it (In part, I think that is why the Indians don't draw like they should-- the mid 90s spoiled this generation of Tribe fans)-- but to have your underdog team rise up-- there can be no better feeling. Just to watch from afar is fun-- but to believe you can really win after hoping so long-- there is no better feeling. Just think back to halftime in 1985 against the Dolphins and most of 1994 and all of 1995 with the Indians. Sure, the endings sucked but just to have belief instead of hope was a remarkable feeling.

On related emotion, while the reviews have been ho-hum for the Cavs, they are up 3-0. A new feeling for me was calm watching game three. Even blowing the 17 point lead, I never flinched and not at any one point did I believe they would lose the game. The ghosts of the past haunt me as much as anyone else but we have LeBron now. I believe this team can win which is why I won't have minded playing the Heat and the Pistons. As this team continues to grow and move from underdog to favorite, I am not sure how I will handle it- but hey new experiences are not always bad.

Changing gears completely, HBO hit gold with this 24/7 show to promote the Oscar De La Hoya versus Floyd Mayweather fight. I have never been so excited for a fight. I hate Floyd. He is a punk. Even his father this week on the show said something to the effect-- Floyd used to be a good kid but this kid you are showing on TV I don't know this kid. I am afraid if Oscar doesn't beat him this weekend, there will be no one else for a decade. Oscar is a true champion and maybe the last of dying breed. It is possible the future will be filled with fighters like Floyd who take Muhammad Ali's bravado and mix it with gangsta rap. I want boxing and not pro wrestling.
So the show is doing its job at making Oscar the hero and Floyd the bad guy. But maybe the strongest part of the show is glimpses at the other less glamorous side of the sport. Behind the two fighters' mansions are the visible aftermath of the sport in the form of their trainers. Both Mayweather's father and his uncle Roger and Oscar's trainer Freddie Roach have paid the price for their love of the sport. Roach has boxing induced Parkinson's. Floyd Sr. and Roger's bodies and voices also betray what boxing does to a fighter. Roach is only 47, but seems at least a decade other. Roger is 46 and his brother is 55 and they both seem two decades older. It is a sad reminder of what hanging around the squared circle can do to a person. And it is why I hope Oscar kicks this kid's ass and then retires.