A little over a year ago today I wrote this post during the start of the 2015 Eastern Conference Finals. We would go on to play against the Golden State Warriors in a six-game series that we lost-won-won and then lost until the end. It was heartbreaking. But it was hopeful. We made it THAT FAR. We were SO CLOSE. And while the loss was difficult…it’s something we in Cleveland have experience coping with.
There’s always next year.
I went into this years Finals like any Cleveland sports fan. Hopeful. Again. Always. Eternally.
We lost the first two games of the series pretty bad: 104 – 89 and 110 – 77. We made our first win in the third game, 120 -90, and then we lost again in the fourth game: 108 – 97. Golden State is up 3 wins to 1. And the fifth game of the series…potentially the last one…was in California. Surely they’re going to close the series and win.
But they didn’t.
The Cavs fought back in game five and won 112 – 97, bringing the totals up to 3 Golden State, 2 Cleveland. But let’s be real here…all the Warriors need to do is win just one more game. Game six and they’re champions.
It never happened for them because the Cavs kept pushing forward. Another win. Another win. And we’re champions.
With only a few minutes left in the 4th quarter of Game 7 the Cavs were tied with the Warriors, 89 – 89. I could hear people shouting in the streets and just had this feeling….we’re going to make it. We’re going to win. So with 2 minutes and a time-out I literally ran down the street to the Painini’s on 9th and Prospect. The streets were closed by police (smart move) and crowds a dozen people deep were lining the streets around every bar peering in to watch the game. I saw Lebron fall. I saw us gain an advantage. And I saw us win.
I’ve never been one for crowds. For noise. For rowdy people with beer. But when the Cavs won I got swept into a mass of people flooding the streets cheering. Beer was being thrown around like champagne. People were screaming, laughing, crying.
I didn’t stay long before I went home but you could hear cheering and car horns for hours afterwards.
The Cavs did it. They won one for Cleveland.
As I got in bed early Monday morning I saw this ad from Nike and started crying. It would be the kick-off of many ads, videos, and social posts I’d see Monday and today that have kept me in a steady state of weepy.
Yesterday I begrudgingly went to work, tired as hell, but saw this video from the night before. Lebron James on the court, on his knees, crying. Tyronn Lue sitting courtside, crying.
I watched the team return home yesterday afternoon and cried just seeing the crowd that turned out to welcome our boys home. This is Cleveland. These are our champions.
After years…my entire life so far…of seeing nothing but defeat, heartbreak, and loss in Cleveland I now can’t stop crying over finally winning. Lebron posted this on Instagram and I think it’s the absolute perfect way to sum things up:
God blessed us here in Cleveland. Go Cavs.