Monday, May 5, 2008

Born To Be Down

In Jean-Paul Sartre's novel "Nausea" Antoine Roquetin becomes filled with an existential angst that drives him mad with self-loathing. Roquetin's life is filled with sickness in the form of dread about every facet of his everyday life. Antoine Roquetin should've been a Cleveland sports fan.

Another chapter in Cleveland's version of "Nausea" is about to be written by the Caveliers in their upcoming series against the Celtics. Cleveland fan is well justified in his playoff induced existential dread; this year's NBA playoffs are but one of many stories of inevitable failure that he has suffered over the years.

Last year's emasculation in the NBA finals wouldn't psychologically scar the fans of other cities, but Cleveland fan has grown to expect spectacular failure in the theatre of sport. Let's recall some of the tragic failures of Cleveland sports teams:

"The Fumble" - Earnest Byner's fumble near the Denver goal line in the '88 AFC Championship game that deprived the Browns of their first Super Bowl berth

"The Drive" - John Elway's 98 yard winning TD drive in the final 5:39 of the '87 AFC Championship game to snatch the Super Bowl from the clutches of the Dawg Pound

"Red Right 88" - Brian Sipe's interception on the Raider 12 yard line that led to a 14-12 loss in the '81 AFC Divisional Playoff

"The Shot" - Michael Jordan's last second shot over Craig Ehlo in the 5th game of the first round of the '89 NBA playoffs (Youtube enshrines this moment in the Cleveland sports psyche here )

In addition to years of failure the Indians have made a decent dent in the Cleveland fan's reflected glory with their collapse in the 2007 playoffs.

To add insult to injury, the Ohio State Buckeyes have lost three national championship games in the last two years in basketball and football. (But, the Buckeyes did win the football championship improbably in 2002)

Suffice to say, Cleveland has a lot of baggage.

Remember that this year as LeBron and the Cavs face the Celtics. The only question for Cleveland fan is not whether the Cavs will lose, but how spectacularly it will happen.


Todd lang said...

Not to mention the old Cleveland Force of the MISL. The Force lost the 1988 MISL championship series to the San Diego Sockers.

sluggo said...

No doubt, Todd, that MISL loss will loom large in the mind of Cleveland fan as he watches the Cavs and the Celts.

Surely, when Paul Pierce clocks LeBron, Cleveland fan will shake his fist at the heavens and shout, "Damn you Hugo Perez!"