May 1, Cleveland

On this day every year, I always try to sing a bit of the pre-disco Bee Gee’s song, “The First of May”, which I loved when it came out in the late 60s. So in honor of that, and because I remembered this ritual on May 1st this year, I looked up the lyrics on the net, and hmmm…there’s really not much there, after all. Maybe I should have been content with the two lines that I actually could recall.

Saturday in Cleveland, a late start, a visit to the Farmers’ Market, and finding food for the hungry son. We also found the marvelous Loganberry Books, and some summer reading for him–Dracula and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas–perfect for travels and idle moments in the sun.

Lunch was at Big Al’s–definitely a hit with the locals, and well-reviewed in the press. We were served big, tasty breakfasts, and I pretended I lived in Cleveland. This could become a habit.

The Big Deal of the Day was that Bob had scored tickets to the first playoff game between the Cavaliers and the Celtics. My last pro sports experience involved a Seahawks’ game about 25 years ago. I had no concept of the energy, flash, and hype that went into the production. I also had no idea how fanatically devoted Cleveland’s fans were. The overhead monitor sometimes showed the decibels of the crowd’s cheering, with a top reading of 108 decibels. By that time I had both hands over my ears. To really charge up the crowd, the logos for the Steelers or the University of Michigan were flashed on the screen. I was slightly unnerved by the flashes of fire that shot out from the huge monitor hanging over the middle of the playing floor. I was also bothered that one of the team mottos, “Witness”, was displayed on t-shirts, always with a prominent Nike swoosh below the word. A little subtlety would have been appropriate.

It was lots of fun. The Cavaliers struggled, deep into the third quarter, always trailing, then got their act together, and won 101-93. The crowd was beyond ecstatic.  

None of this changes the fact that I think college and professional sports are over-hyped, criminally over-funded, and far too reminiscent of the thinking behind Ancient Rome’s program of Bread and Circuses. But I couldn’t think of a better way to spend an evening with three of my favorite people, along with twenty thousand new friends, than watching some really excellent bodies doing what they do best.

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