Disclaimer: I actually do not care who wins or loses any athletic contest, except for that time when Rocky beat the Russian boxer and gave that postgame speech which brought our two countries together and ended the Cold War. I happily acknowledge that my life does not change one bit if my team wins or loses, so please take the following comments with the whimsy in which they are intended.
As I write this the Eastern and Western conference finals are tied at 2-2, which means there is a 25% chance that the LeBrons will play Oklahoma City in the finals. This is the most probable 25% chance you will ever encounter, for God will not pass up this opportunity to put Cleveland fans into a moral dilemma.
On the one hand, we passionately want LeBron to fail because our native son callously betrayed us with a televised special whose name (“The Decision”) mocked our history of sports failures (“The Shot,” “The Drive,” “The Fumble”). On the other hand, Oklahoma City’s entire team betrayed the city of Seattle, something we can appreciate because we lost our Browns to Baltimore (“The Move”).
So who should we cheer against in an NBA finals between Miami and OKC? We detest LeBron and want all other fans of goodwill to join us in our hate. But how can we encourage that in good conscience, knowing that the fans in Seattle have an even greater case for others to join their bandwagon against OKC? It seems we must choose between Seattle’s greater cause for justice and our own blind hatred.
Clearly the right thing to do is cheer for OKC to lose, even if it means that LeBron wins his first ring. But we’ve been burned so often that we no longer care about right and wrong. When forced to choose between justice and revenge, we choose the latter, as long as it includes LeBron.
But our prayer for his failure is no longer innocent, for it means we will do anything to preserve our hatred, even if it means cheering for a greater injustice. We the victims have now become the aggressors in our victimhood. We may never have cheered for a champion, but at least we always had the moral high ground. Not anymore. And that’s how we know, Cleveland fans, that we are cursed.