It was a championship 52 years in the making and no longer are we the lovable losers. The Mistake on the Lake. The “Wait till next year” city.
It’s finally next year.
As the final agonizing seconds ran off the clock Sunday night, the curse on Cleveland sports had been lifted.
Final score in game No. 7 of The Finals — Cavaliers 93, Golden State 89.
My phone was ringing off the hook Monday morning.
The first one came from Dennis Danko, a longtime friend who works for King Features Syndicate. He’s a former employee of the Cleveland Press and a lifelong Cleveland fan.
I can’t tell you how many times over the years I felt like I had to talk him off the I-480 bridge. There were times he had to talk me off the Linwood Bridge.
I’m sure those discussions will come up again with the Indians and Browns, but it just won’t be the same.
John Batchelor called me from a beach in the Carolinas. A longtime Browns season ticket holder, Batchelor knows what real pain is. I have been fortunate to spend many Sunday afternoons with Batch, Pat and the crew in the Dawg Pound and we have had some miserable rides home.
Doesn’t training camp open in about five weeks?
I wrote a column Saturday talking about the final game and a little divine intervention.
Deb Lucal, a member of the Norwalk city council and another longtime Cleveland fan, said there were plenty of prayers during Sunday’s game.
“Oh, Matthew, please, please, please. Have some devine intervention with the game. Please let us win,” Lucal said.
Matthew Lucal died Nov. 12 following complications with Muscular Dystrophy, but in his short life there was no bigger Cleveland fan.
Less than a month before his death, Deb and Matthew were guests of the Cavs for an Oct. 15 preseason game against Indiana.
They got a picture with the Cavs girls and got a signed ball from Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao, one of Matthew’s favorite players.
Troy Stein and a number of Matthew’s classmates at St. Paul High School had an All-In Campaign to get Matt to the game.
“This was the best Father’s Day present ever,” Deb Lucal said about her husband, Ray.
Matthew would have loved to see this day.
So here’s the question: Does Varejao, who spent the majority of his career, including the first half of this season, deserve a ring despite playing in The Finals for Golden State?
“I hope so,” Deb Lucal said.
LeBron James made good on his promise to bring a championship to Cleveland. It didn’t look good when the Cavs were down 2-0 and then 3-1. The series seemed to turn when late in Game 4 with the outcome already decided, Golden State’s Draymond Green punked Lebron in the junk.
LeBron took over from there with help of his sidekick, Kyrie Irving, and the rest is history.
This is pretty cool stuff.
Joe Centers is Reflector managing editor. He can be reached at [email protected]