Sunday, February 2, 2014

Breaking Up with the Cavs

If it seems like this column is always in crisis, well, it is. And if there is no crisis, I'll create one. I prefer to write with my back against the wall, my wallet empty, and some Mark Wahlberg-defying-all-odds flick as background noise. I like to pretend that my very life depends on the sanctity of the next word. I am Pip with a rage-filled heart, reinvented and relevant, screaming for Estella and for his own freedom. Simulating such sweeping themes gets tiring, but it's the only way to write with an alter ego:

This week I let go of the longest and most dysfunctional relationship of my life, the floundering and feckless Cavs. They emerged in my youth when I needed them most, after the Force folded. They carried me through high school and my parents' divorce with crisp passing and superb shooting during three 50+ win seasons. Eliminations at the hands of the Bulls hurt badly, but, in retrospect, history tells us it was an honor to lose to MJ. They energized me while I blew off college with four Fratello-led playoff appearances, unlikely after two roster turnovers. They took me to wuthering heights during my diaper-changing years. And even after my daughters learned that the Chosen One was a fraud, well, that just strengthened our cavalier-resolve. The team needed us more than ever, so I latched on to Baron Davis and Ramon Sessions like they were a briefcase full of "choose life" cash and I was freaking Begbie.

This season, of course, offered a post-season promise from ownership. The Cavs were certainly primed for a better than average performance with a defensively-addicted coach, a young, explosive backcourt, two healthy Andys, and the expensive leadership of veteran Jarrett Jack. After Chris Grant impressively flipped Bynum into Deng, I was still all-in. Why wouldn't I be? I'd given my winter nights to this team for 25 years and the post-LeBron payoff was finally in effect. Understand, I'm not here to explain how it all went to shit. I have no interest in speculating why this squad sleepwalks during the most urgent moments of their season. I only wish to convey that their effort, intelligence and execution has been awful enough to alienate even the loyalest of supporters.

So farewell, Cleveland Cavaliers. We'll always have Richfield, Vitaly Potapenko and Delonte West. We may bump into each other on the weekends at a neighborhood bar, from time to time. I'll look up and say hi; you may even look cute for a minute or two, but our romance was entirely one-sided. Sure, I'll occasionally creep your whereabouts on Twitter when I'm feeling wistful. Or ask Jason Lloyd how you're handling life without me. But I believe it was Keane's frontman who crooned, "I'm getting older, I need something to rely on." And I just couldn't count on you, CC. Sad thing is, I was an easy, low-maintenance lover. I never required a championship or a superstar. All I wanted was some type of game-time affirmation. That was, apparently, too much to ask.


Seahawks (+3) over Denver, 2 dimes
Season: 16-16-3 (+1 dime)