Ok, so I haven't read the blogosphere or the news wire today that much. So this article may have been written 20 times already, but here is my share of opinion.
In my lifetime, the closest I have ever come to a Cleveland championship is the 1997 Indians (though I believe the 2007 Indians were almost as close) - and I have never really experienced the absolute joy of a championship. My favorite moments are a sports fan include regular season games (Metcalf's punt returns, the 02 Falcons game) as well as important playoff games (Lebron's 48 pointer, The Bug Game, Alomar and Rivera) but never a championship clinching game.
Because of this lack, because of this inferiority I am forced to speak of the 48's and 64's with nostalgic memoriam. Those dates have become caricatures not unlike September 11th 2001 or November 22 1963. A simple championship would undeify these dates for me and change the outlook of how I view championship games in general.
But last night I kind of felt it. I know how different it would be if the Browns were involved. I know that the degree of my joy and catharsis were exponentially smaller than a potential Cleveland championship. But it was a different kind of joy.
Sandy Alomar tying game 4 of the 1997 division series was amazing. It was one of my favorite moments as a sports fan. The joy was greater than many of the most memorable moments of my life. But that joy is specific. It is organizable. It was a joy that the game was tied, we have momentum and a chance to win THIS game, which gives us momentum for tomorrow night.
The key here was that there was a tomorrow night.
When the Cavs vanquished the Pistons, as great as it was, there was a tomorrow.
When Metcalf avoided 546 black and gold cock suckers to score and take a lead in 93, it was amazing. It was "Pandemonium Palace". But that game was one of 16. It meant 1/16th of the season.
That's the difference with this joy that we have not yet experienced. NO TOMORROW. ITS OVER.
Then last night: Giants ball, 17-14, 1 second remaining and walking off the field was Bill Belichick. The most evil villain I have ever known as a sports fan. Not just a loser. Not just a failure. But a shamed and beaten loser. A loser without the courtesy to show his rival the satisfaction of winning. He couldn't lose. Not because he's a sore loser. Not because he's a bad sport. But because he's a bad person.
Losing is one thing. Trust me, we as Clevelanders know a lot about it. Losing happens. In every game, one coach loses. But this man was shamed.
This evil and hated man who now will be remembered more for scandal and unsportsmanlike behavior more than his historic 18 game winning streak, walked off of that field with no air of tragedy or drama. He had no one to run to. His "genius" was proved to not only be a house of cards, but a house of cards waiting to crumble. And he knew it. He knew that the only thing worse than losing is acknowledging failure. Accepting it.
And he couldn't. And he never will. That is why you shake hands after the game. A concession hand shake implies "I lost, and I will now have to accept that." He can't. And he never will. And that is the closest I have ever come to feeling that specific type of joy. Because with my joy, and Belichick's failure: There is no tomorrow.
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