Time heals all wounds.
The sun will come up tomorrow.
That which does not kill you makes you stronger.
These condolences and ‘keep your chin up-isms' are, for the most part, tried and true. I know this due to the repetition of hearing them that comes from living in this city and from putting them to the test on what seems to be countless occasions.
I'm still not sold on the ‘That which does not kill you makes you stronger' thing though. It just seems like it's a bit excessive in that you could end up near death or in a medically induced coma which really wouldn't seem to make you stronger despite not killing you. I mean, really, that's actually a pretty ignorant phrase for someone to have turned when you think about it;
"Good news Mrs. McPeek. The explosion and resulting fire didn't kill Brian. In fact, losing his legs and a lung will likely just make him stronger. So there's that. Congrats."
Anyway, you know what I mean. We're conditioned to defeat and disappointment here and the theory is that you get toughened but that.
So I'm wondering if that's why I don't feel the pain and loss over the Cavaliers that I've felt in the past. I'm not distraught this morning. I'm disappointed that the ride ended for the Cavaliers but on the Cleveland Heartbreak Scale (that goes up to eleven) this doesn't move the needle to five. And I'm wondering if that's because my skin is thicker and I'm one tough hombre whose metal has been formed in the crucible of countless horrific defeats. That would be okay. That would be honorable.
But I have a strange feeling it's something else. I have a feeling that many of us want a title in this town so badly that now we're starting to cheat on the front side of the deal. Many of us talked ourselves into this Cavaliers team being ‘The One'. We saw a team knife through the regular season and set a franchise record for wins, home wins and road wins. We saw them destroy early round playoff fodder like Detroit and Atlanta with double digit wins in eight straight playoff wins.
That strengthened our beliefs that this team was the one.
But we never took time to acknowledge the truth that this team was still flawed and exposed. We never looked closely enough at a match up with a team like Orlando that's big, athletic and talented and wondered how the smurfs in our own back court were going to slow them down. We never considered that we'd have to see Anderson Varejao play on Rashard Lewis for the majority of the series.
Some people tried to tell us. But we passed them off as paranoid and pointed to the picture of LeBron James. The King wouldn't let losses happen. This was destiny.
Well, it was destiny, but it wasn't the one we were looking for. You're destined to lose when you're not as talented, not as athletic, not as fast and not as strong.
That's what happened.
And the mind can only fool itself for a short period of time. At least that's the case if you're not bat-crap crazy.
Reality hit hard in Game 1. But there was resistance from the heart.
Reality punched me square in the mouth surprisingly more so in Game 2. I didn't feel joy when LBJ hit that buzzer beating miracle. I felt relief. I felt like someone under water whose jacket is stuck in the car door and who can't scramble to the surface (like a Ted Kennedy date) and who finally gets there and can take a huge breath again. But I was far from joy. It was much more, "Uh oh. This is still a really bad situation."
I think the Game 2 win is where I came to grips with the potential series loss.
I didn't want to believe it, admit it to myself or say it loud, but the Cavaliers were outclassed going into that series and it ultimately ended the way it should have.
That's what worries me about all of this. It's like my mind has seen my heart break so many times that it has to self-medicate me beforehand. I'm the guy that used to deal with the pain of these losses with nothing more than a dark room and a no television and newspaper rule. Now I'm like the opiate junkie who needs an oxy or a percocet with his coffee and every eight hours after that just to feel ‘right'.
The Magic were the basketball equivalent of rehab. From Game 1 they showed me a flawed Cavalier basketball team that needs some athletes on the perimeter and that needs a big ass in the post to lean on opposing post players.
Now they have to go find a couple of those guys. The good is news is they don't have anything standing in their way, like pesky NBA championship games, of identifying those players starting this week.
Oh Yeah, I Almost Forgot
The Indians took four straight from Tampa to show signs of life and the potential to escape the doldrums and uneven play that has thus far defined the season. Then they lost the first two games of their series with the Yankees to go right back to that rotten place.
They may have won Sunday. Although, given their record, their pitching and their roster in general, they probably did not. I don't really know. I'm just not in the mood to watch them right now.