Something wine and gold happened to me while trying to figure out what to write in my color blog. Something wine-believable. Something unfor-goldable. Something impossible that I need to share.
Sunday, June 19, 2016
It’s getting late and I’m stuck at my baseball game because the umps showed up forty minutes late. I’m happy to be playing ball again, but today isn’t about baseball. It’s hot, late and we are getting crushed. This is Father’s Day, and the night of the two most magical words in sports – Game Seven.
I feel guilty while racing home. The day is almost over and I haven’t seen my daughter, Olivia, at all because she worked in the morning and I had my game in the afternoon. She is texting me throughout the day, “Where are you!?” “I want to see you on Fathers Day.” “Can’t you just leave your game?” “Game seven is gonna start!” I rush into the house ten minutes before tip-off, expecting to see disappointment in her eyes, when she turns to me and says, “Happy Father’s Day… I don’t think I can do it.”
Me: “What can’t you do?”
Her: “I’m too nervous, I don’t think I can watch this game.”
Me: “We have too. We have to be ‘All In.’ This could be history. You’ll never forgive yourself if you miss this. Win or lose, we have to watch. We’ll do it together.”
Her: “ughhhhh…Ok, but if they start getting crushed, I’m outta here.”
Me: “Fair enough”
I look around the living room, Olivia has her Cavs gear draped everywhere. A Cavs shirt and a Kevin Love pennant are pinned on the entertainment center. Jerseys hang on the mantle like the night before a Cavs Christmas. She has her favorite Cavs shirt on. (She had texted me earlier that she had all five of her Cavs shirts on at once for good luck, but got hot.). Wine and gold everywhere. However, I can’t wear the wine and gold for this game. I bought a black Cavs shirt to wear for the finals and it lost us the first two games. I swear that it did, why would I get a black Cavs shirt? No, this time I’m going without a good luck charm in my plain gray t-shirt. Plus, I feel comforted by Olivia’s shrine. We are ready.
We sit side-by-side on the couch. Father and Daughter with a combined 63 years without a title to our fandom. Clammy hands interlock one last time before tip off. The game goes back and forth and she gets antsy. We’re down by eight. She is going into full panic mode. I’m strangely calm. I’ve been through the Cleveland heartbreak many times and have the scar tissue to endure the impending stab to the heart. But she hasn’t. She hasn’t lived through the Fumble, the Shot, the Drive, Red Right 88, Jose Mesa, etc. I tell her as long as we keep it within 10, we will have a chance. We have Lebron. We have Kyrie. Anything is possible. I tell her what I think can happen, but not about the soul crushing thing that always happens.
In the second half she moves to the floor in front of the TV. The Cavs inexplicably catch up and take a momentary lead. It’s tense. Is this really happening? Superstitions are in full force. I don’t dare move from my spot on the couch. My girlfriend, Andrea, tells Olivia that there is no way she can move now. No snacks or drinks or bathroom breaks from here on out. If she moves from her spot on the floor, we lose. Olivia doesn’t move an inch the whole second half.
Then… the Block, the Three and the Stop happen within the last four minutes that took both an eternity, while simultaneously going by in a flash. The clock hits zero. They did it! We did it! The rush of emotions overcome all of us. We scream. We jump. We fight back tears of joy (I had something in my eye, I swear). We stand there in quiet disbelief. We scream again.
I jokingly had told her earlier that all I wanted for Father’s Day was a Cavs title. While hugging, I said, “Thanks for the best gift ever.” She smiled and said, “No problem Dad.” It was the best moment of the night.
Three days later Olivia and I spent the day together with 1.3 million others at the victory parade in our city. It feels different here now. We could win again next year. Heck, the Tribe is looking good for this year. The impossible is now possible for Cleveland. But nothing will ever top this one. I’m forever grateful to be able to share these moments with her.
Wine and gold happened to me, and it turned into a memory I’ll cherish forever. And a blog.
PS- We’d love to hear your Game 7 or parade experiences!
Oh, and to fulfill my blog topic obligation The Cavs color specs are:
Wine: PMS 209
Gold: PMS 1235
Wear them proudly. We do!