Wednesday, June 22, 2016

This Is Our Next Year #Cavs #Allin216 #AlwaysBelieve

By Brandon Albright, @B_Rock1978

As I sit here typing this out, everything just feels like a dream. Cleveland winning a championship? Yeah right, that's something that only happens in fairy tails and movies.

Cleveland will never win a title. Cleveland is the mistake by the lake. Cleveland is the sports world's whipping boy. Cleveland is a disgrace. Did you know their river caught on fire? Too bad the whole city didn't burn with it.

I look back at those harsh things that have been said about the city that I hold near and dear to my heart and it always angered me. I hated being the world's laughing stock, I hated seeing my city made fun of on a daily basis by people that had never once stepped foot in Cleveland. People who never walked Public Square, people who never took in a show at Playhouse, people who never partied on East 4th Street, people who never stood in Voinovich Park and looked out to the lake with the Cleveland skyline at their back. People who just didn't understand the impact the city of Cleveland had on each and every one of us who grew up here.

Unfortunately sports wasn't friendly with us either, which added more fuel to the fire for the critics. Cleveland will get there, but don't expect them to win it. Cleveland choked again. You may as well just enjoy the ride cause it'll be over soon. Wait till next year. Cleveland is cursed, they'll never win anything.

The Catch, The Curse of Rocky Calavito, Red Right 88, The Drive, The Fumble, The Move, The Shot, The Decision, Bottlegate, The Finals Sweep, The 95' World Series Defeat, The 97' World Series Collapse, The Red Sox Comeback of 07', The Golden State Finals Loss. As the years went on, Cleveland seemed to gain more cursed nicknames than championships.

But then a glimpse of hope finally shined down on Cleveland when our hometown boy LeBron James said he was coming home. Finally we had some hope, we had the hometown boy that knew what the pain felt like, he knew what we'd been through and he wanted to take us to a championship and take away all of our pain and suffering. LeBron said it wouldn't be easy, but was up for the challenge. My only hope was that LeBron could deliver because I wasn't sure how much more pain and heartbreak I could take.

When I say pain and heartbreak, I'm for real about it. I'm very emotional when it comes to my Cleveland teams. The night the Indians collapsed in game 7 in the 1997 World Series, I cried. I'm not talking just tears streaming down my face, I'm talking crying like an infant. That game was so heart breaking to me that I can't watch highlights to that game still to this day, cause I'm still shaken up over the collapse. Just knowing we were only two outs away from winning the championship would make any grown man cry hard.

Last year we were given that hope again as LeBron took us to The Finals, however, half of the team was injured. LeBron played his heart out, but ones heart can only go so far before it gives out. The Cavs fell to the Golden State Warriors 4-2 in the series and the Warriors were champions.

This year began and things just didn't seem right. The media didn't help matters either with the constant LeBron and Kyrie don't get along rumors, the nobody likes Kevin Love rumors, LeBron's free agency at seasons end, the should the Cavs trade away guys before the trade deadline talk?, the firing of Coach Blatt and the rumors of everyone letting LeBron call the shots on and off the court.

All these media issues that consistently came up with the Cavs and over in the west there was a well oiled Golden State Warriors team that had just broken the best record in the NBA. All hope and that championship that LeBron promised just seemed like another dream for us Clevelanders.

Come playoff time, the Cavs seemed like a newly focused team, as they swept out Detroit and Atlanta and then took a 4-2 series win from Toronto. Here we were again, just four wins away from getting what we wanted for our city. But the Warriors stood in our way again.

After dropping Game 1 and 2 to the Warriors in The Finals, all I could think to myself was "This can't be happening to us again...really?".  Cavs took Game 3 and hope had returned again. "OK we'll take the next one too and tie things up".  I thought to myself. Game 4 went to the Warriors and here we were again, down 3-1 with all hope lost. No one had ever come back down 3-1 in The Finals to win the championship. Game 5, I'm not going to lie, I was expecting it to end here. LeBron and Kyrie said no as they both dropped 41 points and made it 3-2. Instead of me enjoying the win, all I could think of was "These Warriors are for real going to come into our city, in our arena and win the championship again just like last year in Game 6." But it didn't happen, instead the Cavs rolled over the Warriors and refused to die and took Game 6.
Suddenly I felt that nervousness, that feeling you get when you want something good to happen, but know it could also lead to heart break. Game 7, I didn't watch any of it, I was too scared, too nervous. Thankfully I was also at work, which kept my mind off the game just a little bit. I still did check the score on my phone every five minutes though. Then it happened, Kyrie hits the three and the Cavs are up by three with under 20 seconds left. I ran to the break room and I knew I had to watch what may have been my only chance at seeing a championship come home.

When the buzzer sounded and the Cavs did what no one said they could do and came back to win the series 4-3 and win the championship Cleveland thought they'd never see, I stood there stunned. Did this just happen? Did the curse just end? Are we for real champions? All I remember after that is watching the trophy presentation in the break room, not caring I was at work, because this was apart of my life that I had to witness. I then walked out to my car and sat for five minutes and cried. Except these weren't the tears of heartbreak and anger I shed in 1997, these were tears of happiness and joy of finally being a winner.

Thank you LeBron, Kyrie, KLove, JR, Shump, TT, Delly, RJ, Mo, Mozzy and the rest of the Cavs! You gave us Clevelanders that feeling of being important again and that feeling of finally knowing what it's like to be sitting on top of the world.

Indians and Browns, the Cavs just called you out, what are you going to do about it?

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