Wait 'Till Next Year...Again!!

Mark HicksContributor IMay 31, 2009

ORLANDO, FL - MAY 30:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts after a play against the Orlando Magic in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2009 Playoffs at Amway Arena on May 30, 2009 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)


Another season, another heartbreak!

That's what we Cleveland fans are used to—and this time it's no different after the Cavaliers' 103-90 loss to the Orlando Magic in game six.

That loss sent the Cavs home after losing the best-of-seven series, four games to two.

What happened?

This was supposed to be the year that the curse would be over! This was the year that we will finally get that 45-year-old championship-less monkey off our collective backs! This was the year that Cleveland, Ohio would finally mean something to the rest of this country!

But once again, it wasn't meant to be.

So who do we blame? Mike Brown, for not being able to get out of his own stubborn way? Mo Williams, for being M.I.A. for most of this series?

The Cavs big men, for not imposing any threat to Dwight Howard? The bench, for being outscored in this series by Mickael Pietrus? The Magic, for being this good?

Or dare we say LeBron James, for not continuing to carry the state of Ohio on his back? I'm not sure who should get the blame—but someone should!

I know the politically correct answer is that the best team wins a seven-game series. But I still don't believe it 100 pecent. Call me delusional, unrealistic, or just plain crazy, but I feel that coaching played a huge part in this series.

When you get to a situation where you make the final four in the NBA, talent is already key with every team. How the coaches use their talent, is the key to winning a championship. The key for a coach is to try to make the other team "play your game." Not one game of this series did the Magic ever play the Cavs' game! The Magic forced the Cavs to play theirs.

What makes this loss so painful is that the Cavs' goal all season long was to win a championship. There was no other goal, and anything less would be considered a failed season.

But this was unlike any of the previous "failed" seasons in Cleveland sports history because this team won a franchise-record 66 games. They were the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. They had home-court advantage throughout the entire playoffs! They had both the league's MVP and Coach of the Year! 

And they still lost!

All year Cleveland fans were waiting for the proverbial "shoe" to drop during this season. They were afraid to get behind this team because they believed that they were pretenders instead of contenders. But this was supposed to be a different team.

They continued to tell us that we could trust them, that they were not the same as "The Ghosts of Cleveland's Past," that this would finally be a championship city and not "The Mistake on the Lake"! So because of their high level of play all season long, the fans' personality went from skepticism, to curiosity, to confidence, to arrogance—and finally, to humility and shame.

What our sports franchises don't seem to understand is that we, as fans, are not upset with the fact that they lost, as much as we are upset with ourselves for believing in them in the first place.

The Cavs losing this series has not only made it a huge disappointment, but the so-called fringe fan, who jumped on the bandwagon this season, will immediately jump off. Meanwhile, the "true" fan, who has been hurt time and time again, will never trust another franchise in this town.

To Cleveland, this is not just another loss—it is a painful, emotional, divorce from another franchise who has let their city down. While these millionaires retire to their summer homes and drive their Hummers, Ferraris, and Bentleys, this town will attempt to go through another rough healing process.

However, this time, unlike previous disappointments, the scars will continue to remain both visible and open. Cleveland fans will have a tough time healing from this because when you have continued to have been tortured and humiliated like we have, it becomes almost impossible to truly heal— especially when you feel as though you are going through the process alone. 

Unfortunately, the Cleveland sports athlete will never understand why these are more than just numbers in the "loss" column to us.  These loses are like "sucker-punches" to the already fragile ego of this city. Once again, we are the joke (or punchline) of every comedian, athlete, entertainer, and "Joe the Plumber" of this country.

Once again, we have become a city full of nobodies! Once again, that dreaded "apathy virus" will raise its ugly head in our fair town and will continue to suck the life out of all of us.

But don't worry, we still have the Indians and Browns to look forward to. If not, we will continue to use the same rallying cry that we've used the past 45 years—wait 'till next year! 'Nuff said!