Monday, June 13, 2011

In Real Life, You Get What You Deserve

Eleven months ago, the Miami Heat organization held an infamous WWE-style celebration following The Decision, complete with dancing, pyrotechnics, smoke, and gloating. And with that, the Heat became the biggest heels (wrestling jargon for villains) in the sports world. And if there's one thing I've learned from my years of studying the male soap opera that is sports entertainment (besides how hilarious, insane, and frightening Vince McMahon can be) is that the heel ALWAYS, and I mean ALWAYS (eventually) gets his comeuppance.

And boy did the Heat, and LeBron, get theirs. Like a well-booked feud, the arrogant, cocky heels kept getting over and built momentum leading up to and through the playoffs. Seemingly unbeatable, it would take an incredible and heroic effort to stop the world dominance about to unfold. Like LeBron, the legendary Andre the Giant turned his back on his fans to take the easy road to a title... and like Andre the Giant, LeBron (and his Heat teammates) got a Hulk Hogan Wrestlemania III bodyslam for their efforts. Oh hell yeah... The heel ALWAYS gets his comeuppance.

I've had an gift card sitting on my dresser for over a year. I waited (thankfully) to hear LeBron's "Decision" before making my purchase. Last thing I wanted was to be stuck with (one more of) that traitor's jersey. (What to do with my orange LBJ throw back?) Since then I vowed to buy the jersey of whatever team knocked those arrogant asses off their self-built pedestals. I made a promise to the Sports Gods that, so help me, I'd do it if they just tossed me this one bone in an otherwise nauseating sports year. And today, against the wishes of several CST contributors, payment is due. Not because I'm now a Mavericks fan. Not because I'm a frontrunner. But because I'm both man enough and childish enough to admit how appreciative and gleeful I am that the Heat failed and LeBron crapped the bed. I've said it before... when it comes to sports, I'm a vindictive S.O.B.. I wear my emotions on my sleeve. And a promise is a promise.

I may never wear the Dirk Nowitzki jersey. I may just look at it when I need a little pick-me-up, but really, the purchase is simple. It's simple because being a Dirk Nowitzki fan is easy. Dirk didn't bolt for greener pastures. He doesn't have one, let alone two, superstars to "take pressure off him". (Really, was there much difference - not counting the last the last two games - between Mo Williams and Jason Terry? Or Andy Varejao and Tyson Chandler? Antawn Jameson and Shawn Marion?). The Mavericks built and rebuilt and rebuilt again, and Dirk stuck it out. He had faith in the organization and last summer he made his own, much more humble decision. He repaid the fans and Mavs Owner Mark Cuban for their support instead of spitting in their faces. He did it the right way. The Mavericks are the anti-Heat. A true TEAM of humble veterans who used basketball skills to defeat two and a half superstars and a bunch of tag alongs.

In pro wrestling, the heels take shortcuts. As Cavs Owner Dan Gilbert tweeted following the game last night:
Congrats to Mark C.&entire Mavs org. Mavs NEVER stopped & now entire franchise gets rings. Old Lesson for all:There are NO SHORTCUTS. NONE.
The Heat may win it all next year. They may win two, three, four championships. But for one glorious night, the heels (and the biggest heel of them all) got their comeuppance.

And while LeBron is living it up, as he told all his "haters" he would following his latest 4th quarter no-show, he might want to download one of my all time favorite motivational songs by Robert Tepper, take a drive in one of his lavish sports cars that us common folk cannot afford because of our "personal problems", and crank the volume like Sly Stallone did in Rocky IV (although LeBron may have been better served to have listened to it last year prior to his Decision):

We're not indestructible, baby better get that straight
I think it's unbelievable how you give into the hands of fate
Some things are worth fighting for some feelings never die
I'm not askin' for another chance I just wanna know why
There's no easy way out there's no shortcut home
There's no easy way out givin' in can't be wrong.

The are no easy ways out. Andre the Giant learned it. The Million Dollar Man learned it. "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff learned it. Even the all-powerful NWO learned it. Then again, wrestling is scripted, or so they tell me. In real life, we learn through experience, humility, and proper guidance. That being said, isn't it fitting that the (mis)guidance that has helped to chop the King's image into itty bitty pieces comes largely from a young, inexperienced kid named MAVERICK (Carter), while a team of veterans called the Mavericks delivered perhaps the largest blow to date.

With that, I joyfully utter to LeBron, a line we as Clevelanders know, and he should know, all too well... "Maybe next year." Until then, the Cavs own the #1 and #4 picks in the upcoming draft, and Dan Gilbert's prediction of winning a championship before the so-called King is alive and well.