The Optimist

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Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. America and all the ships at sea! It’s me, the O.G. of Optimism, challenging your stamina and dedication vis-à-vis another ear-splitting installment of News … Around … The … League.

The reason I begin by questioning you nerd’s stamina and dedication is because News … Around … The … League was originally designed for speed – not comfort. It was never designed to go this deep into the offseason. And Cavalier news has been scant as we press into mid-October.

You readers must now realize: This is no longer an offseason. It’s a quest.

It’s a quest for fun.

True, there’s no Cavaliers basketball, Browns football or Indians baseball to report on this weekend. But we’ve got plenty of sports action in today’s column, don’t you worry your pretty little heads.

Even this date – October 7 – is stuffed with stellar sports birthdays and anniversaries. Heavy hitters born on this date include former Chiefs running back Priest Holmes, hockey great Brian Sutter, Rays superstar Evan Longoria, embattled Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano, Finnish soccer standout Sami Hyypiä and controversial Pakistani cricketer, Salmon Butt.

And what sports fan among us could forget what went down on this date back in 1916?

That is, of course, the day that Georgia Tech laid a 222-0 beating on Cumberland College in the most lopsided game in college football history.

Cumberland College, a small school from Lebanon, Tennessee actually discontinued its football program before the 1916 season, but was not permitted to cancel their meeting with Georgia Tech.

During the previous spring, Cumberland College’s baseball team stoot-slapped Georgia Tech, 22-0, using pros as ringers. This didn’t sit well with Tech’s head coach (Cleveland’s own) John Heisman. So Heisman insisted that Cumberland either face Tech on the gridiron or pay the equivalent of 60-large to the school for the scheduling snafu.

So George E. Allen (who was the squad’s student manager) slapped together a team of 14 men to travel to Atlanta as the Cumberland Bulldogs football team.

Along with Lee Corso calling for the upset earlier that morning, the day started out swimmingly for Cumberland -- which won the toss and elected to receive. But on their first drive, they failed to make a first down. They punted, and Georgia Tech scored on its first play from scrimmage.

Cumberland fumbled on their next play from scrimmage and a Tech player returned the fumble for a touchdown. The Bulldogs fumbled again on their next play, and it took Heisman’s squad all of two runs to score its third touchdown.

As you can imagine, the rest of the day didn’t go much differently for Cumberland, which trailed 63-0 after the first quarter and 126-0 at intermission. Tech added 54 points in the third period and, despite simply taking a knee, notched 42 points more in the fourth quarter.

Statistically, Cumberland’s longest play from scrimmage was a 10-yard pass completion on 4th-and-22. Georgia Tech scored a touchdown on every offensive possession and amassed a gaudy 1,620 yards of offense – all rushing. Tech didn’t attempt a single pass all afternoon.

Of course, Georgia Tech went on to become one of college football’s prolific programs. As for Cumberland College, the players who survived the October 7th massacre had the memory of a lifetime: Winning that coin toss against Georgia Tech back in 1916.

I suppose the best lesson we can take from the 222-0 whipping is simply: Never rub another man’s rhubarb. After all, you know what it says about poor sportsmanship in The Bible …

It’s against it.

So consider yourself educated on the do’s and don’t do’s of athletic integrity.

Unfortunately, that practical lesson sets us so far back that there’s virtually no chance of getting to some of this week’s hardest-hitting stories, like Bosephus getting das boot from Monday Night Football, the surging movement of Occupy Wall Street or the town in Alabama that – after 34 years – is finally allowing beer at their Oktoberfest.

Oktoberfest without beer is completely counterintuitive – even for Alabama. So this past fall, voters in Cullman, AL (pop. 14,000) finally put it together that dancing around in lederhosen, scarfing down braunschweiger and listening to oompah music is much, much more fun when aided and abetted by enormous steins of beer.

Glad you joined the party, Dixie dummkopfs! If you can see straight enough to read on, let’s get this N.A.T.L. started – macht schnell!!

Voice Recognition – On Thursday afternoon, the Cavaliers put an end to the suspense – naming their new broadcast team, which includes John Michael as heir to the great Joe Tait’s play-by-play throne. He will join color analyst, Jim Chones and studio host, Mike Snyder on all Cavalier broadcasts.

Besides being just a good all-around guy, John Michael brings over a decade of pro sports play-by-play experience to the Wine and Gold. He was with the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets for the past two years. Immediately prior to that, he served as the first-ever radio/TV broadcaster with the Lake Erie Monsters for the first two seasons.

Before plunging into the world of broadcasting, he practiced law as a trial attorney after graduating from Notre Dame with mechanical engineering, law and MBA degrees, all cum laude.

Did you guys read that last part? It said “ … after graduating from Notre Dame with mechanical engineering, law and MBA degrees, all cum laude.” That means, not only can John Michael call one heck of game – (which we already knew) – but he’s also smarter than every person reading this column and the person who wrote it – combined!

It also means John could do about anything he chooses, but chose broadcasting because he loves it.

Welcome (back) to the family, John Michael! You’re not replacing Joe Tait – and nobody expects you to. But you are carrying forth a proud tradition of an icon behind the mic.

I have no doubt that John will be outstanding as the Cavaliers new play-by-play man. And when you Cavalier fans hear him, I’m confident that you’ll agree.

Feel Like a Monster – Expect for Quicken Loans Arena to be pulsating with excitement this weekend as our beloved Lake Erie Monsters return to the ice – celebrating their fifth anniversary as a franchise.

The Monsters are coming off their most successful season – setting marks for total wins, home wins and road victories. The team posted the best overall home and road records in franchise history, finished second in the North Division and made their first-ever playoff appearance.

In the postseason, the Monsters took a 3-1 series lead over the filthy Manitoba Moose before ultimately dropping their final two contests – and their first round series – at The Q.

On both Friday and Saturday night, the Monsters square off against the Abbotsford Heat. They’ve got a bad taste in their mouths from how last season ended and it’s put them in a nasty mood for the upcoming season. And you know what happens when hockey players get mad? They knock somebody’s chicklets in.

Not Ogie!!
I’m not saying there will be violence on the ice this weekend.

Coach Quinn’s club plays a clean, competitive brand of hockey – and we’re long removed from the dark AHL days featuring the likes of Tim “Dr. Hook” McCracken, Andre "Poodle" Lussier, Clarence "Screaming Buffalo" Swamptown and the man who went through a trying rookie season with the litigation, the notoriety, his subsequent deportation to Canada and that country's refusal to accept him: Ogie Ogilthorpe

The Big O will be in the house tonight when the puck drops. I might even put on the foil.

Silent, But Deadly – After going nearly the entire offseason without having to pause in honor of a deceased human or animal celebrity, we’re about to go back-to-back in our duty to honor the fallen. But apparently – as I recently learned – not all tributes are without controversy.

Last week, we paused for a Moment of Silence™ out of respect for Heidi, the cross-eyed Oscar-predicting opossum. As a fellow prognosticator I praised Heidi’s courage in the face of critics, second-guessers and Monday Morning Quarterbacks.

Then, I did a little more research and found this photo (right).

To my shock, I discovered that Heidi’s handlers simply put the “winner” in the middle of three choices for her to choose from. Because she’s cross-eyed, she’s ALWAYS going to pick the one in the middle! (In this case, Colin Firth, who won the Academy Award for “The King’s Speech.”)

This is a total shamockery. And it makes me question Heidi’s psychic powers, in general. I don’t mean to dishonor the dead, but I feel like I’ve been duped.

Unlike Heidi, the great Steve Jobs was no fraud. From Apple computers to Pixar Animation Studios to the iPhone, iPad and iPod – Jobs was a visionary, a pioneer. He made people’s lives better. He made my life better.

Much has been written about the reclusive Jobs. He dated Joan Baez and Diane Keaton. He invented the game “Breakout.” His business model was the Beatles. He held 338 patents and his net worth was $8.3 billion. He went to college for one semester.

You’ve probably read your fair share of quotes from the man who was part-nerd/part-rockstar. But this is the one I prefer:

“Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life,” said Jobs. “Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”


You know the drill, knuckaheads. Please closeth thy cakeholes and removeth thy hats and/or hairpieces as we honor one of the true geniuses of our time with a well-earned Moment of Silence™

Thank you.

There you have it, Cavalier fans. You heard the man. This weekend, get naked and follow your heart!

With the weather as beautiful as it’s been, there’s almost no reason not to bust down to your birthday suit and live life to the fullest.

I’ll check back with you guys seven short days from now. Hopefully, you’ll have covered your shame by then. But if you’re still letting it all hang out when we reconvene – more power to you!

Either way, please remember to …

Keep the faith, Cleveland

One love,
The Optimist