The Optimist

by Joe Gabriele Managing Editor
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Que pasa, Cavalieros? It’s me, the Optimist – checking in from Beantown, the belly of the beast.

If I seem serious today, it’s because I am.

I didn’t choose to write this column. This column chose me. I’m from Cleveland; In fact, I’m from the Cleveland of Cleveland: Garbage Heights (pop. 30,734). Sports-wise, I’ve been kicked in the jimmy just as hard as you have. I feel the way you feel.

But unlike some of the more fickle neo-Cavalier fans – as well as TheBron – I’m nearly unfazed by Monday night’s Game 2 loss. Was it a butt-fugly performance by the Good Guys? Sure it was. But to be honest, there’s a big part of me that thinks it was the best thing that could’ve happened.

See, I don’t poop my pampers every time the Cavs lose, because I am – and always have been – in it for the long haul. I remember the turn-of-the-century days when the Cavaliers would literally get shut out in back-to-back games one week and suffer a pair of triple-digit defeats the next.

I can handle a loss or two.

What I cannot handle is POOR SPORTSMANSHIP.

And lo, over these many years against my beloved Cavaliers, the Boston Celtics have exhibited nothing but.

Where's Tree Rollins when you need

Thing is: I was ready to stop focusing on Boston’s thuggery – (spitting on our guys in Columbus, elbowing them in the groin on Easter Sunday) – and focus completely on basketball for the rest of the series. I was ready to build a little birdhouse in my soul, like it says in the Old Testament.

In fact, on Monday night, the Celtics actually played solid, clean basketball. And they cleaned Cleveland’s clock doing so.

Of course, four-time All-Optimist Second Team coach Doc Rivers was on his best behavior.

But before we got out of the third quarter, we watched Celtics GM Danny Ainge, playfully flinging a towel in the air while J.J. Hickson – some 30 years his junior and facing a 23-point deficit – attempted free throws. (To the Baby Bull’s credit, he splashed the second attempt.)

This is the equivalent of Dan Ferry, on Friday night at the Garden, smacking glo-sticks together or sporting a rain-fro™ and “John 3:16” sign with Big Baby at the stripe.

Would that be a totally awesome thing to see? Of course it would. But our general manager would never partake in such nincompoopery. He’s better than that.

As for me, I’ve already had enough of these Chowd’s shenanigans. And I think TheBron has, too. Exspecially after their GM tried to rattle his little buddy’s cage during a blowout at The Q.

We’ll get to the Chosen One’s wrath in two shakes.

First …

Dear Optimist,

I cannot let the Cavaliers’ recent play slide. It boggles my mind that a team with championship aspirations is letting itself get pushed around by a team that has three players that can basically be considered senior citizens.

So, unless the boys want to be playing golf in a week, I suggest they put their heads on straight and slap those AARP members around.

Sincerely yours,

Brandan K
Manhattan, KS

p.s. In no way, shape or form do I condone the slapping of old people, regardless of how entertaining it may or may not be.

Brandan, I too once matriculated at university. And I remember that dudes as old as Rasheed Wallace, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett seemed like fossils to me, too. I envy your youth. And you’re right, Brandan – the elderly are not to be slapped around under any circumstances.

“Slapping around” might be a crude way of describing what the Cavaliers do to Boston on Friday night. But I do see an aggressive band of Cavaliers taking the parquet for Game 3.

Now, I could run down a blow-by-blow account of the affair – score at halftime, after three quarters, etc.


But instead, I’ll tell you what the locker room will be like afterwards. I’ve been there in Boston many times before, and I can see it now …

TheBron (39 pts, 8 reb, 8 ast) is in the near corner of the locker room. He takes two stalls and is next to Boobie Gibson. Before he heads to the podium, he gets his silly side out, rapping his way into the showers, pausing occasionally to tell J.J. to shut up.

Anthony Parker (11 pts, 3 stls) teases Jamario Moon (nine points in 13 minutes) about his cowboy boots. And the game’s surprise hero, Zydrunas Ilgauskas (six points in the final three minutes) takes it all in, sitting quietly in an undersized towel, spitting into a cup.

How and where all their numbers unwind, you’ll have to see for yourselves. All I can tell you is that when we return from a second trip to the Optimist Mailbox


It is my dad's birthday tomorrow. As part of his birthday gift I promised him an extra special Cavs victory. It would be sweet if you could make it happen.

Thanks tons and GO CAVS!!!

Tyler Veldhuizen
North Canton, OH

… the Cavaliers will have taken Game 3 in convincing fashion – 101-91.

So let it be written. So let it be done.

Even if it’s not your birthday, you can still celebrate Friday’s big Game 3 victory. Put Game 2 in your rear view mirror, people. Rumors of the Cavaliers’ demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Gird up for another good one. Danny Ainge’ll be throwing in the towel tonight, but it won’t be with a 23-point lead, if you catch my drift.

We’ll reconvene for Game 4 on Sunday, knuckaheads.

In the meantime, please …

Keep the faith, Mr. Veldhuizen

One love,
The Optimist