The Drought Ends

In my favorite sports column ever Bill Simmons wrote:

I was there. The Superdome. Feb. 3, 2002. Section 347, row 15, seat 10. And I’m not writing this for you right now, I’m writing this for me. I don’t want to forget anything that happened Sunday night.

Well me too…I’ll never forget the weekend of June 19th, 2016 and I’m writing this for me.

I’ll always remember…

…The Cavs running the Warriors out of the building on Thursday night, forcing a Game 7 and immediately booking my flight home at the final whistle.

…Being unable to focus Friday on anything except Game Seven…Game Seven.

…Waking up at 4am Pacific to catch my flight to Cleveland on Saturday. Having a layover in Minneapolis, leaving a $10 tip on a $15 bill with a note — “Go Cavs!” (I believe in Karma).

…High-fiving a fan in an “All In” tee on the flight. Goosebumps.

…Going out on Saturday with some of my best friends, drinking on the Cuyahoga river under a full moon… more goosebumps.

…A hungover Father’s day brunch with Mom and Dad (they were drinking, I was not — a first).

…Laying in bed with Sara who broke her back and video calling Kathleen to wish luck.

…Regretting wearing jeans because it was so damn hot.

…Unable to get a table anywhere downtown 4.5 hours before tip-off.

…Establishing position at the bar, surrounded by friends I’d known for most of my 24 years.

…Waiting, waiting, oh FFS the waiting.

…Getting comments on my LeBron 1’s by no fewer than seven people (no one outside of Cleveland has ever recognized them).

…Shitting in the basement bathroom of the Corner Alley Bar an hour before the game (You may think this is insignificant and/or gross but have you ever had a shit you’ll remember forever?)

…Putting $50 on the Cavs with Joe B, because gambling.

…Singing the national anthem with the entire bar.

…Goosebumps.

…Tepid optimism as the Cavs kept it close in the first quarter.

…Dread as Steph Curry and Klay Thompson hit back to back threes. Intimately familiar dread.

…Walking across the bar to more friends before the second half started to get some good luck fist pounds — down seven.

…J.R. Smith BALLING to start the third (Hennything is possible!)

…Being down one going into the fourth — 12 minutes to go.

…Anxiety.

…The game finally falling into a slog that Game 7’s always are, 89–89.

…Being relieved by LeBron’s block when it was made. (I wouldn’t appreciate what a feat of athleticism and clutchness it was until the next day).

…Going nuts when Kyrie’s three fell.

… “Shit they switched Curry onto Love.”

…“Holy shit, Kevin Love!”

…LeBron staying down on the ground for a solid 2 minutes after getting fouled in the last 12 seconds — running through scenarios in my head.

…Brett nearly toppling me with a hug after LeBron’s second free throw fell.

…Not quite being ready to celebrate myself.

…The crescendo of noise and exultation and flying liquid and goosebumps as Curry’s final shot bricked and the clock hit zero.

…Hugs, smiles, screams, and more hugs (this is where I mention Jeremy, Mike, and Steve three of my best friends who I couldn’t possibly omit from this post).

…Finding my hat soaked with beer on the ground, throwing it back on with a smile, and more hugs.

…Miraculously meeting Dan and Tim outside the corner alley in a throng of people.

…Noticing people climbing various poles, and vehicles, and surfaces.

…Accidentally walking into the women’s bathroom at the House of Blues afterparty (JK I don’t remember this).

…Coming home to my Mom and Dad and holding a drunk conversation with them. More hugs.

…Realizing the next morning I didn’t touch my phone the entire night from the moment the ball tipped.

…Being mad at myself that I blacked out for the postgame celebration.

…Scrolling through text messages from friends new and old (thank you all).

…Crying in bed.

…Crying with Mom.

…Walking by Great Lakes Brewing at the airport as a replay of the final seconds ticked off, raising my hands in the air as everyone cheered like it just happened again.

…Seeing 70% of the airport in wine and gold.

…Buying my commemorative Plain Dealer — “BELIEVE IT!”

…Being able to smell the beer on me while waiting at my gate.

…Re-watching the game on both legs of my return flight (thanks NBAtv), high-fiving the fan next to me on the first leg as the clock ran out again.

…Swapping stories with a brother and sister in Cavs gear at a food stop in Denver (they lived in Arizona and came home for the game, they claimed they could hear the roar from downtown all the way in Bay Village).

…Feeling a weird sense of anxiety on Tuesday morning — what now? The anxiety lasted all day.

…Smiling at Cleveland today watching the parade and rally. Shaking my head in disbelief.

…Realizing today that what previously defined us as fans is now gone (and realizing that’s why I was anxious on Tuesday).

…Realizing that what previously defined us were now just stories in an anthology.

….Realizing the anthology includes the greatest sports story of all time.

…Crying.

…Smiling.

The Final Buzzer