Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mavs title is not ours

I spent the better part of six years living in southeast Michigan. It was my first real exposure to hockey.

At the time, the Red Wings hadn’t won a Stanley Cup since 1955 and every year I lived there, it seemed like the Red Wings would dominate the regular season and get upset in the playoffs.

Felt like home to me.

So it didn’t feel like cheating to start following the team since Cleveland didn’t have a franchise. When the Wings finally broke through and won the Cup in 1997, I took a group of my students to the victory parade.

It seemed like there were a million people there — all deliriously happy. I, on the other, hand had never felt more alone. It was obvious that this wasn’t my parade. It didn’t count. The Red Wings weren’t my team.

When Ken Dorsey’s pass hit the ground at the end of the 2003 Fiesta Bowl, my friends erupted around me yet that same sinking feeling hit me. This wasn’t my championship either. I don’t live in Columbus. I didn’t attend Ohio State.

That feeling of disillusionment multiplied the next day during the Browns fourth quarter playoff meltdown.

I didn’t have much interest in this year’s NBA Finals. Didn’t watch a single second of the first five games and only watched game six in passing since it was on in the office.

I have been perplexed by the reaction of many locals during these finals. I get laughing at LePippen. You want to mock the kid, go ahead he certainly deserves it.

Did I offer a sly smile at another choke job? Did I prefer anyone else but him win a title? Of course, but there is no joy in watching another franchise win a title.

We don’t get to share.

I heard someone call this one of the 10 best Cleveland wins of all time, and frankly that angered me. You have to be at the bottom of the bandwagon to truly believe that.

I thought the Cavs for Mavs campaign and shirts were stupid and embarrassing. The idiot governor proclaiming the Mavs honorary Ohioans was asinine.

If you want to applaud the Mavericks or admire them for their play, fine, but this was not our championship.

I have not won many fights in my life, but I have never asked anyone to fight for me. I can take a punch or even a beating, but I am not going to tag-in a stranger to battle for me.

The pandering part of the Cleveland fan base made us all look like fools, and the national media happily ate it up.

The healing began when the Cavs beat the Heat at home. Winning the lottery helped remove the scab. If Mark Cuban could keep his mouth shut for three weeks, I wish Dan Gilbert could have kept his for one night.

Gilbert did get one thing right: There are no shortcuts.

The Browns, Indians and Cavs may never win a title in my lifetime. It certainly seems that way. But I will accept no substitute, and shame on you if you did.