The Optimist

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Attention: People of Cleveland!!!

Hi. It’s me, the Optimist.

I didn’t mean to alarm you guys. I’m just geeked to the bejeezus for Cavaliers Opening Night, 2010-11!

This is my eighth season as the Wine and Gold’s in-house Optimist. Some of you might have been with me for all eight. Some of you might be tuning in for the first time today. Either way, all are welcome – except Celtic fans.

Ah, the Celtics.

I’ll bet some of you turkeys found yourself rooting for Gang Green last night.

Not me, baby.

This is the same squad that kicked your club out of the Playoffs in two of the last three seasons – not to mention in 1976 and 1985. And there’s you: rooting for them. Hey, why not? It’s not your groin getting elbowed by Ray Allen on Easter Sunday.

I can understand some of you sitting shiva for the summer because of Numeral 6’s decision. But the Boys are back in town, and I can’t have you hung up on an ex-. We’re not going to go over this every week, so let’s get it out of the way seven paragraphs into the season: LeBron is an ex-Cavalier – the same as Little Luke Jackson, Luscious Lucious Harris or Sir Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje.

So last night, while some of you nerds were busy rooting for the Celtics, I was already at the drawing board, game-planning for them tonight. And I went old-school, working into the wee hours with my best friend and co-creator of this crazy column – The Maniac.

(That’s him as “The Flash,” pictured to the left. It’s from a few Halloweens ago, and the Maniac doesn’t normally dress like that – although he did last night.)

I’m going to be honest: A victory over the hated Celtics will be a tall order. Literally. Boston was loaded with bullies before, and they just got bigger and badder in the offseason.

But it won’t scare Coach Scott and it doesn’t scare me. I remember a pair of big Irish O’Neal brothers picking on people when I was a kid, only their names weren’t Shaquille and Jermaine.

Of course, the Diesel spent (most of) last season in Cleveland, putting up stats that were almost Mokeskian, by his Hall of Fame standards. And now, after a summer of taking on the likes of Justin Bieber, he’s back in town with the Celts.

It’ll take the Wine and Gold’s best to beat the boys from Beantown.

It’ll take the same mojo from Mo Williams that saw him blow Mike Brown’s mind with a game-changing dunk in Game 1 or that which helped him score 20 points in the first half of Game 6. It’ll take Andy getting way under K.G.’s skin, which he’s wont to do.

Beating the Celtics in the opener will take Antawn Jamison, righting his outside shot in a reserve role. It’ll take J.J., finishing what he started against Boston last spring, when he went 11-for-16 in the first three games of the series before essentially finding the bench in the second three.

It’ll take A.P. in Ray Allen’s grill and Boobie and Ramon Sessions’ best efforts on both ends.

As for the final score and statistics … I have no idea. After the fakakta ending to last season, I’ve set aside such trivial pursuits.

And like I’ve explained before: my little boss Phyllis Salem doesn’t care how many assists Mo Wilson will make or how many slam-dunks Javario Moon might have. She just wants to know who’s gonna win and who’s gonna lose.

On Wednesday night, to the shock and awe of the basketball world, the Cavaliers are gonna win and the Celtics are gonna lose.

That’s my prediction. And I didn’t do it for Phyllis. I didn’t even do it for you faithful Cavalier fans. I did it for Paul.

On Tuesday morning, Paul the World Cup Octopus passed away in his tank at the Sea Life aquarium in the western German city of Oberhausen. He was 2 ½.

For those of you unfamiliar with Paul’s story, the world-renowned cephalopod CORRECTLY predicted each of Germany’s matches in this summer’s World Cup by opening the lid of one of two clear plastic boxes, each containing a mussel and bearing a team flag.

After correctly picking Spain to win the whole enchilada, Paul retired from the prognosticating business and – according to an aquarium spokesperson – wanted to “get back to his former job, namely making children laugh.”

Before Paul came along to predict World Cup matches and crack up little German kids, marine biologists thought all squids were good for was crushing 18th century ships and squirting ink out of their buttocks.

Our eight-tentacled friend changed all that.

I don’t know if they’re giving him a proper burial in Davy Jones Locker or donating his squishy little brain to FIFA. Either way, from one soothsayer to another, I think the little fella has earned himself a Moment of Silence™.

(Please no tapping on the glass.)

Thank you.

Are you feeling good, Cavalier fans? Are you feeling like you’re over your ex-?

We’re going to be alright, Cleveland. Our Brownies are riding a win streak, our Wine and Gold warriors are set to tip off and take game one. Sure, winter is on its way, but even that won’t be that bad on accounta we’ll have Snow Days at Progressive Field.

Our Cavaliers are a young, hungry team, and to paraphrase the late, great Jerry Reed: We’ve got a long way to go, and a short time to get there. And we’re gonna do what they say can’t be done.

The all-powerful owner of my organization guaranteed us a title, and I fully intend to do my part. That Championship isn’t going to win itself. So, let’s gird up and get after it. And let's ...

Chose faith, Cleveland

Your pal,
The Octomist