For a Cleveland Cavaliers fan, the 2012-2013 NBA season started off rather promising. On opening night, Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Anderson Varejao absolutely dominated the Washington Wizards, providing a glimpse at exactly what Cavs fans were hoping to see that season. A dynamic back-court with two guards that could both shoot and drive to the rim, and a dominating front-court playing clean-up and grabbing every loose ball that came their way. It gave Cavs fans hope and erased the memories of the previous two awful seasons.
And I missed it all. I was with the girl I was dating at the time, who I hadn't seen in a week and a half because she was out of town. While the Cavaliers were playing one of their most entertaining games of the season, I was at an awkward dinner with a girl who clearly wanted to be anywhere but with me. After dropping her off at her place, she completely disappeared from my life, not even having the common courtesy to break-up with me. Little did I know, that my opening night experience was going to mirror the NBA season far more than the Cavaliers' opening night experience.
Things continued to look promising for the Cavaliers, with another cohesive win against the far superior Los Angeles Clippers on the road indicating that their opening night performance wasn't a fluke. But there were indications of problems ahead. The bench was so bad that we made something like 300 "Yo Mama" jokes about how bad they were over at Fear the Sword.The Cavs were randomly getting stomped and blown out by teams at home and putting up some pretty anemic performances. While these things were bad, they were all things that could be excused by the Cavs being a young team.
And then Andy got hurt and nothing was the same again.
It looked like nothing at first. Anderson Varejao came down hard after a rebound against the Toronto Raptors and went back to the locker room to get looked at. He came back, finished the game and Cavs fans were told he might miss a few games nursing a knee contusion. But then, a few games became a few weeks. Then the news, Andy needed knee surgery and was going to miss a few more weeks. And that was it, the madness began. Fans foaming at the mouth on Twitter with totally uninformed conspiracy theories about how the Cavaliers were hiding the injury because of trade deals. Rants about how terrible the Cavaliers doctors were. With Andy gone, the focus again shifted to Tristan Thompson and the poor "Tristan Thompson sucks" dead horse from the 2011-2012 season was exhumed to continue being beaten into a pulpy paste on the Internet.
The losses began to rack up and so did the injuries. Kyrie Irving broke his finger. Tristan Thompson broke his face and had to wear a mask. Tyler Zeller broke his face and had to wear a mask. Kyrie Irving came back, broke his face and had to wear a mask.. When Cavs fans were expecting to hear good news about Andy's return, the news broke that he developed a pulmonary embolism after knee surgery and almost died. Because he would continue to need blood thinners to recover, he would miss the rest of the season, his third season ending injury in as many seasons.
With the Cavaliers season beginning to look like a trainwreck, a few bright spots emerged. Tristan Thompson began to show noticeable improvement, meaning that the "this guy was a stretch and a bad pick" argument turned it's spotlight onto Dion Waiters, and a new horse was killed to be beaten, ensuring that social media Twitter continued to remain insufferable.
And then The Rumor.
As true professionals will do, Fear the Sword's favorite "journalist" went and started a bullshit rumor about LeBron James wanting to opt out in Miami and come back to Cleveland. Just when I finally thought I could follow the Cavs and not have to constantly read shit about LeBron, this dude goes and makes up some shit to get some clicks and everything turns into a nightmare again. Kyrie Irving gets selected to the All-Star game, something which should have been a highlight to the season, and the narrative is all suddenly all about LeBron. "Is Spoelstra starting Bosh just so Kyrie and LeBron don't play together?" I don't know, shut up and go away. Byron Scott gets fired, Mike Brown returns and the big story is how this impacts the fictional, totally made-up and totally not going to happen "Return of the King".
And then the bloggers. Dear God the bloggers.
It's the end of the season, and there's nothing left to look forward to. No hope. Nothing. Just a bunch of meaningless games. Kyrie was out with another injury. Dion was out with an injury. Andy was still gone, of course. The Cavs were starting Shaun Livingston for crying out loud. Nothing to look forward to, except the ever so small chance that maybe, just maybe, the Cavaliers could be the one to snap the Heat's winning streak. Was it petty to hope for that? Sure. But you know what, I really don't give a shit how petty that may or may not be. After three seasons of torturous bullshit, are Cavs fans not entitled to a guilty pleasure? Can we not indulge in being petty and enjoying a win like that?
Not according to the Internet. You see, according to blogger groupthink, anyone who dares root against the Heat is a hater and needs to get over it and all sorts of sanctimonious bullshit like that. Why? Because arguments like that fuel page-views and clicks. It's easier to get attention by being a troll than actually writing something interesting, thoughtful, personal or sincere. It's the easy way to get attention and get noticed. And what fan-base is easier to troll than that of the poor Cavaliers?
So after yet another miserable season full of disappointment, I happen to find myself in a totally unexpected place. The Cavs are actually beating the Heat. Badly. In the fourth quarter. Much to the lament of all the bloggers, it looks like I'll actually be able to enjoy some sort of cheap satisfaction that night.
Nope. The Cavs choked and lost. And, because my Italian family made the mistake of settling in a town where a basketball team's owner would later write an email in a comical font, I had to again suffer the seas of trolling basketball bloggers, because that's what being a Cavs fan has become apparently.
But at least Kyrie had a pretty awesome season, right? Oh yeah, he blew off Fan Appreciation Night and got his coach fired. Then LeBron James and the Heat won the championship. Again.
That was how it felt to watch the 2012-2013 Cleveland Cavaliers. Pure torture. But hey, they have the first pick in the draft tomorrow. That can't possibly lead to any horrible arguments at all, can it?