A Weekend Getaway

I suppose I ought to have a good excuse for not posting in eight days. For most of that time, I was distracted by one of my most significant decisions in quite a while. I’ll explain another time, but trust me, you wouldn’t have blogged either.

Towards the weekend, I had a different preoccupation. How good of an excuse it is depends on how much of a sports fan you are.

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On Saturday morning, I flew out to Cleveland, Ohio to watch the opening game of the Cavaliers 2015 Playoff run. My 1998, 1999, and 2007 trips to Cleveland were all during the offseason, and I’d never attended a Cavs home game through nearly eighteen years of fandom.

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Quicken Loans Arena, as it is called now, was Gund Arena back when I started following the team as a ten year old.

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I get the most pleasure from walking around new places. The above photo is of the Detroit-Superior Bridge that spans the Cuyahoga River to connect downtown Cleveland to the west side.

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The skyline photo came much later in that long walk, from the Hope Memorial Bridge as I headed back to my downtown apartment rental.

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Four of these guys guarded the Hope Memorial Bridge.

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Early Sunday morning I wandered around the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame area.

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It seems like someone had a little too much fun. There was still some wine in this bottle right outside of the Public Hall, where Saturday night’s star studded Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony took place.

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Damien, decked out in Cavs gear, is a Brooklyn resident originally from Marseille. He, too, was on an early-morning pregame stroll. After a brief chat, I took a cab to my uncle’s house on the city’s east side. Much too far to walk.

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This was new to me. The team sets up a concert, food trucks, and all sorts of activities, allowing fans to shoot hoops outside before game time.

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Or sling shot them, if they prefer.

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To soak in the momentous occasion, I got to my seats an hour and a half before tip off. White shirts were waiting for all 20,562 of us to wear.

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The game was spectacular. Three pointers, plenty of dunks. West Orange native Kyrie Irving scored 30 points for Cleveland in the first playoff game of his career. At last, I could cheer for the home team and really mean it.

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It was a Cavaliers victory, as everyone expected. They lead their first round series against the outmatched Celtics 1-0. More importantly, I was finally there to witness it, crossing one more thing off my never-done list.

As someone from New Jersey, the hospitality and warmth of Clevelanders was the most shocking part of my trip. In my two days there, people on the street started conversations with me, unprovoked, or asked me where I was from because I had a camera in my hand. They said “you have a good day” not like an obligatory pleasantry, but like they really wanted me to enjoy myself. At the game, the fan next to me even bought me a third quarter beer. “Enjoy Cleveland,” he said.

Maybe I’ll make this trip an annual thing. Nonetheless, with solid play and a little good luck, I’ll be returning soon – for a championship parade in June.

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