Thursday, May 17, 2007

Vox in the Box (14)

Look, if you're like me and prefer to plan your weekends in is what I
recommend for Sunday:

1. Get up early and go to church or your respective place of worship

2. Pray your ass off that the Cavs win Game 7.

Because I've seen enough NBA ball in my day to know a formality game when I see one. And that's what we have for Game 6. SVAC has no chance to win. Let me repeat and reiterate. The Cavaliers will not win in New Jersey. I don't know if they'll play well or not, but it won't matter. It's no different than Game 7 in 'Roit last year; there was no point in playing that game. Sad thing is, the players and coaching staff know it too. Mike Brown will pull the starters early tomorrow night when the game gets out of hand to rest them for Game 7. Lawrence Frank is already making Sunday night plans to take his wife to Swingo's, before somebody else does. LeBron know it, dog. JKidd too.

In Larry Bird's epic auto-bio, Drive, he reveals how the Celtics knew damn well they were going to lose Game 6 of the 1987 ECF to the Pistons in the Pontiac Silverdome. But Boston knew Game 7 would be in the Garden, and they would have the home court advantage and win the series then. Which they did, and the post game press-conference produced Isiah in full sore-loser mode, quipping that "Bird would be just another player if he was black." But that's another Vox.

So use your time in the bar tonight to drink your drink, scout the room for waste-of-flesh college coeds proselytizing with bad-haircut John Bucks, dressed in outdated J-Crew and marijuana leaf ball-caps, and appreciate the ESPN bottom line scores when they don't have to preface it with AL and NL because, hey, we're starting interleague play 2day and there are no leagues, just the fucking teams seemingly meshed together in one giant, gaudy statistic, culminating in: BREWERS 6 TWINS 2. W: Capuano (6-1) L: Bonser (1-2) Hardy: 2-3 HR (14), 3 RBI. In other words, don't worry about our beloved SVAC...they'll live to play another game, and we'll finally cut down the Nets on Sunday. And then everything will make sense again. Most of us figured it a seven game series anyway.

For the first time since the mid-80s, I did not attend a Cavalier regular-season game.. And maybe for no good reason, but I couldn't respect myself if I ignored the foolish firing of Reghi. And if every fan that hated the move joined me in protest, Gilbert would've taken action. But, alas, every great boycott must come to an end-- because there is a time to put personal feelings aside and unite with the greater public for the common good. For me, the common good was Home Playoff Game # E. I would take off work, grab the wife, put on the Jersey Formerly Known As Jeff McInnis and witness the birth of our 2nd ECF in 15 years.

But everything was different from that Sunday afternoon in 1992. There would be no life threatening trip down 1-271, when the occassional gust of May wind though the sunroof of my 1987 Hyundai Excel threatened to spill us off the highway. There would be no national TV crew filming Froms, Hadman and I knifing through the Coliseum turnstiles. There would be no mock tears from yours truly in the nose-bleeds, as SVAC put the finishing touches on a Boston blowout and Bird's career. This time, just a bitter 32-year old in the club seats...cursing the asinine Q in-game production and wondering when Coach Brown would figure out that maybe his point guard wasn't very locked in. Still, some things were the same. Mark Price was in the house, smiling awkwardly on the Jumbo-tron. Terry Pluto, to my left, plucking away to make his deadline. And Joe Tait, of course. On his 70th birthday, suffering maybe the most crushing loss of his radio tenure.

I have never believed in booing the home team. In a lifetime of Cavs, Tribe, Browns, Force, and Buckeye games...I never once voiced my displeasure towards our guys. I respected those who did, but I felt it counter-productive and not my style. I was not going to boo my team, just like I wouldn't boo one of my children. How I managed to never boo the new Browns is a minor miracle, but I know I never have. No, you never heard a boo outta SamVox bra.

It all changed at Game 5. I booed my pale white ass off. I booed until I couldn't breathe. I cursed LHughes. Cursed Coach Brown. Donyell. Gooden, That skinny, nauseatingly peppy blonde chick wanna-be-Jenny-McCarthy-in-SingledOut that acts like a free DiGiorno pizza is like winning the mega-millions...yeah, I booed the hell out of her. I booed anything that moooooves. Den I booed some more. Like Mrs, Vox said, I embarrassed her and everyone around me and I made a fool out of myself. I had no control over my rage, kind of like when Brendan Fallone would try to talk business with Tony in the BadaBing bathroom.

Afterwards, I tried to justify my behavior to Mrs. Vox, arguing that it was more than a basketball game. That the Cavs had blown yet another opportunity to save this city from the proverbial dark cloud that constantly hangs above us; the sagging economy, the crime and poverty, the foreclosures, the busted-up job market, the racism, the smell of a bullshit war a continent away that recently claimed an Elyrian, my brother-in-law's buddy. And, on the day the Ohio House of Reps passed the "no touching" law that will ruin every adult night-club in the state, the Cleveland Cavaliers had 48 minutes to do something right for us. No, said Mrs. Vox, you probably just lost money on the game. Don't bullshit me, she said. But for once, I hadn't bet the game. And I didn't care about the money. The Cavs had 20,000 people on their back, but couldn't find a way to compete. That's pathetic. Then I realized why we boo. We were all hurting. We're tired of hurting. We are so our city tonight. The underbelly of Cleveland ain't soft and white. It's hardcore depravity and resignation. But we are rich with identity. We wear our failures and shame like a fucking badge. Misery is exquisite here. Days start with small Lake Erie waves crashing dirty and meaningless on our tortured soil, afternoons toil on in our dying steel mills, the last remains of a once-proud post industrial city that is now overcome with poverty; on to our bars in the evening, free flowing spirits and libations-- while our ballteams eventually prove inferior...and the Cleveland sun will rise hungover again. Like Red said of Andy Dufrain, "Every man has his breaking point." I speak for the entire city when I say: I am now at mine.