Lifestyle Feature

Chad W. Lutz

The Night the Queen Came Home

(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
We knew this moment was coming for what seemed like ever, but it almost took us all by surprise. Without saying much, the entire city tried to forget, or at least put out of mind the man formerly known as 23. But on December 2nd, 2010, destiny was draining fade-away jumpers from the corner with a hand in his face, and he wasn’t on our side.

It might not have been the fairy tale ending everyone had hoped, but it was in true Cleveland fashion. All of us, I think, had some cosmic vision of justice unfolding for the man that “turned his back on a city.” The Queen, Prince James, the modern-day Art Model; ends up the victor. Who let Alfred Hitchcock direct this picture anyhow? The bad guy is not supposed to win. He’s supposed to fall rendered to the forces of good.

Well, apparently nobody handed Lebron that memo. Instead of falling to his knees and realizing the error of his ways by crying out in utter anguish to the fans that he was wrong while wearing a tutu, he stomped on us. Him, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and pretty much every stinking member of the Miami Heat beat us like a drum through four quarters, with the dagger coming in the third.

Looking heartless and definitely playing like it, the Cavaliers let their fans watch as Lebron James put up 38 points in just 30 minutes of play and 8 assists for good measure. Did he really just do that? He wasn’t supposed to do that. Why did he do that? The good guys were supposed to win.

When the blaze finally smoldered and His Royal Heat was out of town, the damage was severe. The scoreboard read 118 – 90, with the road team as the victor, but the real defeat was in the stands. A sellout crowd of 20,562 watched the paradigm shift right before their very eyes. This wasn’t the Cavaliers team they had grown and known to love over the last seven seasons. And who was this man wearing number 6 pretending to be a Miami Heat. Absurd! But it was all true.

Even Z was in on the act. He too was wearing an unusual jersey. What was this crazy dream we were all having? Who had slipped what into our White Russians? They were the visitors, soon to be victors. We were the deserted, soon to be defeated. Shakespeare, you have just been outdone.

There was one small victory for Cleveland. It appears that late in the third quarter, a renegade fan sporting a Miami Heat James jersey was flipping it around a bit too much while The King, meanwhile, was literally ruling the court. He was instantly doused with beer and escorted out of the premises by security. It may not have been the broken knees or searing mental anguish we had all hoped for, but it did make me chuckle, and that was about it.

The box score was dismal. Mo Williams was flat (11pts on 2-8 shooting and 4 turnovers). Antawn Jamison ran out of gas (11pts going 4-10 with 3 reb.). J.J. Hickson barely looked like he wanted to be there (6pts, 3-9fg with 4reb.). Daniel Gibson, the only Cavalier scoring twenty points or more (21pts, 4-6 from downtown), looked flustered and pissed off more than inspired. It was a lack luster performance from a team that has been anything but the better part of the last decade. Before a crowd of hometown sports heroes wearing city corresponding jerseys from the stands and stand up comics yelling “Cleveland Rocks!” at the top of their coke-bottle framed lungs, we had been put in our place.
(David Liam Kyle/NBAE/Getty Images)

“I know we can play a lot better than we did tonight. Like I told the guys in there, I haven't lost any faith in them.”
(Cavaliers Head Coach Byron Scott after the game)

There’s that word again. Funny how “faith” keeps popping up when mentioning Cleveland sports. Always about how, “there’s always next year.” When is next year? I’m still waiting for Mike Hargrove to put in Mike Jackson instead of Jose Mesa to win the 1997 World Series. Not as eager that James wasted no time reaffirming his desire to take his talents to Miami so readily. But maybe it was what this city needs. Maybe we just need some time off from another fateful championship run. There is always next year. Besides, we make a damn fine Christmas Ale, no one rocks harder than we do, and there isn’t a kitchen in the world that stacks up next to us when we make grilled cheese. Oncology? You’re looking at the best. Come on, Ohio. I know it’s been hard. But we’re still number one, and even if you don’t believe that. At least we’re not Michigan.


No sympathy for the Queen.

Photos courtesy of Google Images and and*