Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I'm a Grumpy Old Man

I knew how it would turn out, and I knew that I'd regret it, but I still had to see it. So, I bought a ticket to Game 4 of the NBA Finals for $75 at StubHub and cheered our lost cause on so loudly that I'm just now getting back my voice.

As you might imagine, $75 doesn't get you the best of seats, even in a Finals where even the play of the team that won in four straight was often listless and uninspiring. I was up in the cheap seats--the sections that the Cavs marketing department has christened "Loudville," but could more accurately be referred to as "Rafterville." I did, however, get a lot of free trinkets for my $75. In addition to the XL tee shirt that I have no illusions that I'll ever fit into, I got one of the annoying strobe light necklaces that I think almost gave me a seizure, and the obligatory "rally towel," which came in handy as a crying towel at the end of the game.

I also saw a wicked good fight in the seats right in front of me, which drew blood and everything. This provoked the line of the night. When the security guards strolled up to investigate the situation, they asked the guys who were sitting next to the one of the combatants if they saw anything. On cue, a leather-lunged guy three rows back cried out "We Are All Witnesses!"

Outstanding.

This is the first time I've ever seen a fight at a Cavs game. In contrast to my experiences at Browns games, where everybody involved in an altercation gets tossed, they actually take the time to administer some justice at the Q. To my surprise, one set of combatants was allowed to return to their seats, while the other guys presumably ended up in the back of a police cruiser. The funny thing is, it was the guys who went running to the police in the first place who ended up in cuffs. Just goes to show you that there's a lot to be said for the whole omerta thing.

So much for the highlights of the evening. The game itself was the usual mess of missed opportunities and uncharacteristic mistakes that plagued the Cavs the entire series. From a fan's perspective, it was punctuated by far too many and far too lengthy stoppages in play. These television driven interruptions are a fact of life in other sports as well, but what makes them so intolerable at NBA games is the frenetic blur of non-basketball antics that the teams feel compelled to break out in order to "entertain" us. These antics are annoying enough in the regular season, but they become so manic in the Finals that I can only conclude that they really are afraid that we all might get up and leave.

I must admit that I did like the Chinese unicycle lady at halftime who tossed about 50 bowls into a neat stack on her head with one foot while pedaling her unicycle with another. That's entertainment!

Then there's the whole organized cheering thing. As you know, fans can't be relied upon to cheer the Cavs on their own, even though they waited 37 seasons to see them get this far, so instead we get an unstopping stream of high-decibel exhortations to GET LOUD! or TWIRL YOUR TOWELS! or GET CLEVELAND LOUD! This little slice of totalitarianism is all delivered with a hip-hop beat -- sort of Triumph of the Will meets Straight Outta Compton.

A lot of this sounds like sour grapes, and it is. Hey, the NBA is what it is, but putting that aside, there's nobody who does more than Dan Gilbert to make the games as enjoyable as possible from a fan's perspective. Had they won, I'd undoubtedly have run straight home and blogged about the details of every possession and the incredible energy at the Q. They didn't, so instead, I took a week to get around to writing this grumpy screed about everything but the game.

I am so friggin' tired of losing. Losing just sucks.

1 comment:

chocolate starfish said...

What has been kinda lost in the euphoria of the Cavs overachieving this year was Mike Brown's mismanagement of the last minutes of Game 4 ... despite the poor shooting and blown opportunities, we had a chance to win that game, but Brown threw in the towel. He most certainly is a likeable guy, but I have real reservations as to whether he is the right guy to get us to The Promised Land ....