The Heart of Cleveland: Broken Once Again, and Online
There are a million outcomes of the Eastern Conference Finals' Game 6. The Lakers got homecourt advantage in the Finals. Some quick fouls on the likes of Anderson Varejao and Mo Williams will help to kill talk that the playoffs were rigged to present us Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron James. Dwight Howard played his biggest in his biggest game yet, and Stan Van Gundy has more than proved Shaquille O'Neal wrong.
But of all the storylines and lessons, does anything really resonate more than the fact that Cleveland fans once again did not get a championship?
It had been penciled in as theirs for nearly the entire season. The Cavaliers lost just 20 of their 96 games. A fan-base that has been needing oxygen for decades was about to surface and taste the sweet air of success.
In the process, they were going to celebrate right alongside local hero and best basketball player on the planet, LeBron James, who would be so thrilled by the title that he would be simply unable to fathom leaving in the summer of 2010.
Now though, despite all the success, for Cleveland fans, the Game 6 departure felt like more of the same: Misery.
Thanks to instant communication from fans on Twitter, Facebook, RealCavsFans, Cleveland.com, CavstheBlog.com, ESPN.com and the like, it's possible to have a pretty good idea what's going through the minds of Cavalier fans after their team -- the favorites -- were sent home well short of their goal.
Many fans, of course, are angry, and ready to point fingers. They are upset at:
- LeBron James, for one reason or another. He's the face of the franchise, and as such sure to catch some heat. He played about as well as is humanly possible in this series, however, so tonight, some fans are upset at him for not sticking around to congratulate opponents after the game.
- Mike Brown, for everything under the sun. Defensive matchups, offensive schemes, eye wear ...
- Mo Williams, Delonte West, Wally Szczerbiak and the rest of the Cleveland supporting cast for not playing well when it mattered most.
- General Manager Danny Ferry, for the lack of a quality big man (Shaquille O'Neal -- rumored to have been on his way to Cleveland at mid-season -- is mentioned).
But all over the Web, more than anything, Cavalier fans seem to be as supportive as every of their team. They're not accusing anyone of anything. Instead they are grabbing their plates, and lining up for yet another trip to the buffet of disappointment.
28 NBA teams have already been eliminated. But in this one, more than any other, such an event can feel like destiny fulfilled.
Some of what people are saying online about the Cavaliers:
- On RealCavsFans bojingles has the nihilism down pat: "I'm not even phased one bit. I'm used to it living in this god awful city where wait till next year is our motto."
- stefandam tweets a similar thought: "Cleveland Cavs lose playoffs. Also, water is wet."
- As Orlando had the game well in hand, on Cleveland.com, Bobbyjoe47 grasped for a silver lining: "Well," he wrote, "at least they are not going to break our hearts with a last second loss."
- On the Cavs' Facebook page Kevin Michael Snader writes: "You know ... It would be nice if I could live to see Cleveland make it happen at least once. Over-confidence and a lack of teamwork mixed with choking in the playoffs ... that's Cleveland's legacy when they have a working team. Honestly, Ohio deserves better than false optimism."
- jomama059 had a tweet that summed up many others, without needing anywhere near the full allowance of 140 characters: "Damn......CAVS......sigh"
- On RealCavsFans (some PG-13), the playoffs have included a series of haikus. The poster "backstage" added one post-elimination:
Heartbreak from this loss
Means Ferry jumps on the phone.
Let's learn this lesson.
- blank964 writes on RealCavsFans: "I know we say that every year but we blew the doors off the league most of the season and then started the playoffs off with a bang. We had the supposed Coach of the Year and the MVP and had the best opportunity probably in the history of the franchise to win a championship. Last season we were going up against the number one seed in the league and we were not the complete team like we were this season. I doubt most of us really expected the Cavs to win the championship last season but this year was different."
- "I dont know about these Cavs," MPchris tweets "but this beer isnt too bad."