My First Cavs Game
Now I Understand What Basketball Means to Americans
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I’m not exactly what you would call a basketball fan. I understand pretty much nothing about it.
Before I came to Beachwood, basketball was just a game I played in P.E. classes.
When I moved here from Brazil last spring, there were big expectations for the NBA finals. The Cavaliers ended up winning the NBA Championship, ending the long-standing sense that Cleveland was cursed and unable to win a championship.
The night of the last game against Golden State, I went downtown to feel the energy, the tension and the happiness of the people in the street. It was an amazing experience to finally watch the game alongside Cavaliers fans and cheer with them.
And after 48 minutes of pure emotion, the Cavs won the game. The city turned into a big crazy party where everyone exchanged hugs, hi-fives and smiles. Older people kept saying “I never thought I would live to see this day”, and people of all ages talked about history being written.
After this huge, emotional experience, it was impossible for me to say that I wasn’t a Cavs fan, and I started to be more tuned in with the basketball world. But after all this time, there was still a piece of the puzzle that was missing. I still needed to go to The Quicken Loans Arena to watch the Cavs in real life, to be there in the same place where the players were, and to imagine that LeBron would see me cheering as he went up for a shot.
So when my dad came home from work on Nov. 3 and told me, “Go get ready, we are going to the game tonight”, you can imagine how happy and excited I was. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten ready more quickly in my life.
When we finally got to the arena, after the struggle of finding a place to park, half of the first quarter was done. But people were still coming inside, and I could hear people screaming from within the arena. The Cavs were playing the Boston Celtics, and fans were excited.
I went upstairs, and, as all good beginners do, went to the wrong section. A nice lady who worked there helped me to find my place, and to my disappointment I found that the view from the wrong section was better. I was still in a good place, though, because the players are so tall that it is hard to miss them.
The game wasn’t the most exciting game, or maybe it was just me who didn’t know what was happening. But still it was fun, to scream out loud “Let’s go Cavs!”, to cheer when we made a basket, to be nervous while there were only 5 seconds left and the players somehow seemed calm as sleeping babies, to do my best to show up on the big screen, to laugh at people who actually were shown on the screen, to see that LeBron looked in my direction when I screamed his name, and to see the Cavs beating the Celtics, 128-122.
The whole thing was amazing. It became clear to me that basketball to Americans is everything that soccer is to Brazilians, and that I know that this means a lot.