The Optimist

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Happy gameday, knuckaheads! Yo soy el Optimisto, and today I’m checking in directly from the cozy confines of Quicken Loans Arena. The Indiana Pacers roll in later this evening. We’ll get back to them in a bit.

I rarely write a column from a live event at The Q, but today is a special day – one of my absolute favorites of the year. It’s the annual Lake Erie Monsters School Day Game, and if you’ve never been to one, you’re truly missing out.

The School Day game is the annual event where 7,000 screaming kids from over 30 Northeast Ohio schools – grade 2 through 12 – break the chains of educational oppression and come down to watch a Monsters matinee at The Q.

OK – two things …

First, there’s no reason not to come see any Lake Erie Monsters game. Our beloved Monsters are the hottest team in the league – coming into Wednesday morning’s contest having won three straight and five of their last six. Red-hot goalie Gerald Coleman is 7-2-1 over his last ten games and the Monsters are cutting through the AHL’s North Division like a hot knife through butter.

Or maybe you'd just like to come down and watch the guys skate out of the big, inflatable Monster head or want to see the squad’s enforcer, Patrick Bordeleau, knock an opponent’s chicklets down their throat. If you’re reading this column, you’re already a Cavs fan. So this Saturday would be a perfect opportunity to come see the Monsters – as rookies Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson will be on hand for “Cavs Night.”

Secondly, in regards to the School Day game, some of you parents out there might be thinking: ‘Hey Optimist, I already deal with (what feels like) 7,000 screaming kids – my own!

I suppose you’ve got me there. But it’s still hilarious to watch an arena full of mini-maniacs going berserk at the slightest prompting.

Show the Dance-Cam on Q-Vision – the place goes nuts. Play the “I Like to Move It, Move It” song or "Party in the U.S.A." – the place goes nuts. Show the black-and-white footage of the chicken on the turntable – the place goes nuts. Show SpongeBob -- and the place goes absolutely ape-S.

And when the words “LOUDER!” or “NOISE!” or “SCREAM!” appear on the big screen, you can believe that these happy little campers will poop their little pampers.

This is what sports are all about – true, unbridled passion. These screaming wee ones are no less rapacious than the drunken lunatics that tore old Browns Stadium limb from limb after the team’s last game in 1995.

And I guess the reason I’m writing about this electric atmosphere at The Q is because, after a pair of very tough losses over the weekend, I feel that the Wine and Gold is ready to rebound – feeding off the leftover energy that the nippers left in the gym this morning. That, and Kyrie Irving’s return.

That’s right, y’uns! The Kid makes his comeback on Wednesday night after three games on the shelf, suffering from a concussion. And when the Kid takes the floor, good things happen.

The Cavaliers dropped a tough overtime decision to the Bucks on Friday – losing Anderson Varejao to a fractured wrist in the process. On Saturday, the Sixers shellacked the good guys, but even Coach Scott gave them a mulligan for that one.

But it’ll be a different story on Wednesday night. The Kid will rejuvenate the Wine and Gold, and after missing a potential game-winning layup in a loss to Indy on December 30, the 19-year-old rook wants revenge.

After a hot start, the Pacers have dropped four straight and lost star forward Danny Granger to an ankle injury in Tuesday night’s 15-point loss to the Heat.

Maybe I have the naivety of some of the little kids that are going berserk here at The Q this morning, but I can feel a Guaranteed Win brewing deep within me, right next to the blueberry Eggo™ and black coffee I inhaled before leaving the house this morning.

I don’t do final scores no more. So let’s just say that the Wine and Gold will have more points than Indy, and that Cavalier fans will go home happy.

I’m going to enjoy the innocence of today’s School Day Game on Wednesday morning and even the Cavs-Pacers G.W.N. later this evening. Because it could get a little nasty in the arena on Friday night.

I hope you romantics had a fabulous Valentine’s Day. I have only minor swelling and bruising on Wednesday morning. Thankfully, the Optimette didn’t work me over with the rolling pin until after dinner and dishes. That was my present this year.

Gird thy loins, Cavaliers (and Monsters) faithful. The Kid is back, and with him come wins. I think.

Alright, I gotta go. The theme of today’s School Day game is “respect” and right now, Monsters defenseman Dave Liffiton is teaching Texas’ Francis Wathier all about it by punching him repeatedly in the mouth.

That’s what Francis Wather gets for misremembering to …

Keep the faith, Cleveland

Su hermano,
The Optimist