Culture of Hoops

The Cleveland Curse Is No More

Image courtesy of Erik Drost/Flickr

Image courtesy of Erik Drost/Flickr.


Curse. 1: a prayer or invocation for harm or injury to come upon one: imprecation. 2: something that is cursed or accursed. 3: evil or misfortune that comes as if in response to imprecation or as retribution. 4: a cause of great harm or misfortune: TORMENT.

Champion. 1: The Cleveland Cavaliers.

It’s kind of hard to put words down to describe the feeling I have right now. I guess in a sense it doesn’t change much. I’m going to wake up tomorrow and go to work. I’m going to clock in, do my eight hours, go home, wake up the next day, and do it again. But it will be a little different. I’ll get to do something that hasn’t been done since 1964.

I’m going to want to talk about it.

When I get asked, “How bout them Cavs?” I don’t have to look at the ground and say, “I don’t wanna talk about it.”

For the first time in a half a century we are not looking forward to next year. We’re looking forward to tomorrow, because today, LeBron James made us champions. We now live in a world where John Elway was held down, and Earnest Byner held onto the ball. Jose Mesa struck out the side, and Craig Ehlo got his hand on the ball. Now all those painful memories are just ghost stories. They’re footnotes in an increasingly more complex legacy that revolves around a city near a lake; One that invests more time in draft speculation than in championship celebration, but not anymore. The footnotes that marked the painful moments of our tortured past no longer have to dictate how we feel about our future. The footnotes are now ghost stories, and ghosts are only real if you believe in them.

In the grand scheme of things I guess it doesn’t mean anything really. The Earth will continue to revolve around the Sun as planned. There will still be violence in the Middle East, and Zika virus will continue to spread across South America. But, for the first time in over fifty years in this part of the country little kids don’t have to go bed in tears after a loss, and to them THAT means everything. That’s why sports are important. That’s why we care. Athletes at their absolute very best can inspire all of us to be the very best versions of ourselves, and at the end of the day, isn’t that why we’re fans? Is that why we stuck by these teams for so many years? Because one day we knew that someone would come along and through a series of seven games become the physical manifestation of resilience? I don’t know, but right now it seems to be the case.

Maybe those kids going to sleep tonight can grow up without believing in ridiculous curses, and knowing that good things do happen every now and then. Because to believe in a curse means that you believe that everything is predetermined, and to believe that your life is predetermined means that you believe in destiny, and to believe in destiny means that no matter how much talent, determination, and grit you show it doesn’t matter cause your story has already been written. “If you lose it’s not your fault. God hates you and wants you to lose, its part of the plan. If you win it doesn’t matter either because it had nothing to do with how hard you worked for it, its part of the plan.” If you believe that then why get out of bed in the morning?

I stopped believing in destiny when I was about thirteen-years-old. I got real sick in the middle of a church service and had to leave, and let me tell you something no one who’s ever shit their pants walking home from church on a Sunday morning believes in destiny.

I choose to believe that champions are made, and thought of out of thin air. I choose to go through my life knowing that I have the power to change my course, and that it hasn’t been written out for me, and I choose to celebrate this championship because who knows when the next time one of these is gonna come around, and I’m Cleveland sports fan not because I had to be, but because I chose to be. All the pain and torment we went through for this right now has all been worth it, and I’d go through all of it again to feel this way just this once.

Am I being hokey, and over dramatic? Maybe? But I don’t care, because right now I am downtown writing this surrounded by thousands and thousands of people who feel the exact same way I do and I DARE you to call these people hokey and over dramatic. They won’t respectfully disagree with you. They’ll throw batteries, and dog biscuits at you. They’ll hurl glass bottles at your head and then act like you’re the asshole, because guess what? What do we have to lose?

Goodnight Cleveland.

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