Friday, May 18

Of panels and heat

Last week I attended an interesting event here in Cleveland at the Happy Dog. Here was the promo:

They don't call it a "beat" for nothing. Aaron Goldhammer of WNKR's "The Really Big Show" moderates this panel discussion on the thankless task of writing the first drafts of Cleveland's uniquely tragic sports history. Panelists include Peter Pattakos of, Vince Grzegorek of Cleveland Scene, Tom Reed of the Plain Dealer and Zac Jackson of Fox Sports Ohio. The event is part of the Write to Assemble series, curated by Ohio City Writers and hosted by Happy Dog. Admission is free.

Seems interesting, right? It actually was, in spots, though it had its flaws. Unfortunately, the discussion slipped far away at times from the stated goal, and by the end had little to do with writing about Cleveland sports. We'll get to that.

I liked the panelists pretty well. Goldhammer rubs some people the wrong way, but I thought he did a really good job moderating the discussion and offering fair-minded points. Reed seemed the most professional on the panel, perhaps befitting his status as the Plain Dealer rep. He also seemed to be the one with the most losing experience (Blue Jackets, Browns, Cavs) as a writer and understood the locals' plight even better, being married to a Pittsburgh fan. Jackson was interesting as well - he clearly saw too much when he worked for the Browns and can't get the bad memories out of his head. I feel for you, man. Grzegorek did an excellent job - I met him briefly and also thought he offered some of the most insightful points, though his quietness shut him out of a lot of the conversation.

After the conversation ended, the panel challenged the audience to stump them and win a book. I didn't want to be too esoteric, so I asked them if they knew Manny Harris' real name. Jackson came close ("Copperdale"?) but not quite (it's Corperryale L'adorable Harris). Still, I feel like maybe I inadvertently cut off Grzegorek when revealing the correct answer, which I still feel sheepish about. I returned the book.

Some of the discussion eventually turned to #6, and I maintain that I don't want him to return to play in Cleveland, ever, nor do I want #23 hanging from the Q's rafters. I believe the phrase is "positive reward for negative behavior." It still sucks the way he left with that douchey TV show, and I feel like I'm entitled to continue to root against the guy. You remember him - the guy who quit on the Cavs in the 2010 playoffs? And please, I know he was well within his rights to leave in free agency (though perhaps not within his rights to collude) - that doesn't mean I have to suddenly be cool with "The Decision" and with a guy leaving my favorite team and city.

I saw a bit of Pacers-Heat tonight (78-75 Indiana, love it), and wow, I just cannot stand watching that Miami team play. Their horrible late-arriving fans. Dwyane Wade and his single skill of flying towards the basket and hoping for a bailout call that he usually gets. The way none of them can EVER believe that a foul call didn't go their way. Juwan Howard looking ugly while cheerleading from the bench. It's just a grotesquerie.

The worst part is, of course, #6 himself. I've never enjoyed something less in sports than watching him play, and that's too bad because I can of course objectively realize that he's by far the best player in the league and one of its all-time greats. Incidentally, this is a lot like my experience with Jordan - people frequently and ever-helpfully reminded me how great he was, as if my disdain for him was based on some sort of criticism of his ability rather than general distaste at his habit of routinely dispatching the Cavaliers in the playoffs. Don't people know what it means to be a fan?

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Cleveland Frowns said...
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