Category Archives: Cavaliers

Playoff Run for the Ages

Alan and I had a blast together during the Cavaliers 2018 postseason run, culminating at the NBA Finals – a level quite familiar to Alan.  During the playoffs, we raised the banners posted at the Cavaliers website following each victory, and advanced the Cavaliers along in our playoff bracket with each series win over the Pacers, Raptors, and Celtics.  Alan especially enjoyed the city’s spirit for the Cavaliers.  He made sure to point out “Whatever It Takes” signage and Cavaliers window displays around town.  For Cleveland kids like Alan, all they know is winning basketball and enthusiasm in Cleveland!

2018 NBA Finals Game 4 Outdoor Watch Party

Alan and I took full advantage of the NBA Finals in Cleveland this week.  After I went to Game 3 on Wednesday, I took Alan to the Q tonight for the Game 4 Outdoor Watch Party!

The first thing we did upon arriving downtown was to head to where Larry Nance (Sr.) was scheduled to sign autographs (surface lot across from Harry Buffalo).  I had also met Mark Price there on Wednesday (photo below), so I was all for continuing to meet members of my favorite childhood team — the 1992 Cavaliers.  Alan was familiar with the name, as he remembered our prior conversations about Larry Nance Jr. joining the team this year.

To pass the time, Alan shot baskets on a mini hoop with a boy named Hank.  While Alan was shooting, amazingly, Larry Nance snuck up behind Alan and blocked his shot, adding “Get that weak stuff out of here!”  Alan wasn’t entirely sure what was going on, but I explained to him that was who we came to see!

After the block, we got back in line and took a photo with Nance shortly after.

Then Alan made a sign.  It featured LeBron making a game winning three pointer in a 103-100 Cavaliers win. 🙂

Next we went back to shooting, since Alan could not get enough of the mini hoops.  He was pretty good and made a fair amount of shots.  After a while of practicing, we were both pretty good at it actually.  Eventually I convinced Alan to head over to the Gateway Plaza to see the Cavaliers Fan Fest.

We took a neat photo from the 4th floor of a nearby garage then went down to participate in the festivities.  Alan found a new hoop to shoot on, as well as some other games (including a hockey slap shot game and Cavaliers Jenga, interestingly enough).

We made it to the grass in front of the big TV just in time to watch the Cavaliers starting lineup being introduced (which Alan is very familiar with now!).

We watched a little bit of the game, but then Alan wanted to head back to hoops we shot on earlier.  On our way back there, we ran into LeBron.  🙂

And we took Alan’s annual photo with NBA Finals signage.

Once back at the original hoops, Alan and I shot and shot…and shot.  There was also a TV there, so we knew what was going on with the game.  We left for home at halftime of the game, but Alan probably could’ve stayed there all night!

Kids Starting Lineup at Game 2 of the 2018 NBA Finals

When a Cleveland sports team needs a kid in its starting lineup, who better to turn to than Alan?  He did it with the Indians in 2017, and he’s now done it with the Cavaliers in 2018!

I had registered Alan for the drawing to be in the Kids Starting Lineup for a playoff road game Watch Party at the Q prior to the start of the playoffs.  As part of the application, I had to write a few paragraphs as to why Alan would be a great selection.

As the playoffs wore on, I had actually forgotten about this completely – until I was contacted by the Cavaliers via email following the season-extended Game 7 win over Boston.  As if we needed more reason to be thrilled about the Cavaliers’ victory, this certainly provided another reason to celebrate.  If I had to pick any Watch Party for Alan to participate in, Game 2 of the Finals was what I’d immediate choose.  It was great timing (on a weekend) AND Alan would get to run out before a near-sell-out crowd.

Coincidentally, I had already purchased four tickets for the Game 2 Watch Party before knowing Alan would be a part of the festivities.  Shane and I have gone to the Game 2 Watch Party all four years of the Cavaliers’ NBA Finals streak, so I knew we’d use two of the tickets.  It worked well that Alan and Veronica could take the other two.

We arrived at the Q just before 7PM, about an hour before tip-off.  We met a Cavaliers rep at the bottom of section 126 by the scorer’s table.  They put us in one of the floor boxes while we waited.

Note:  I later realized that we appeared over Jeff Phelps’ shoulder througout the Cavaliers pregame show on Fox Sports Ohio.  I caught that after watching the tape later that night.

After all five kids arrived, they called the kids out to the court to practice around 7:30PM.

At this time, I didn’t know which player would be Alan’s assignment.  But while Alan was out there, I saw Alan was third in the order, which meant Tristan Thompson.  I also happened to catch a Tristan graphic up on the Humongotron.

After practicing, Alan returned to the floor box and confirmed he was Tristan Thompson.  Just before 8PM, the kids were called back into position in the corner of the floor, where they watched Sir CC and Whammer (An unexpected 90s throwback!) attempt backwards, half-court shots.  Whammer actually sunk one.

Note:  The next day the Cavaliers posted a video of Whammer on social media, and I was briefly shown behind Whammer, taking pictures of Alan.  That’s a sentence I never thought I’d type — especially considering that Whammer hasn’t been around for 20 years!

As the kids got ready to go, parents were allowed to step onto the court just to the right of the scorer’s table.  Veronica, Shane, and I got into position with our cameras ready to go.  The Cavaliers in-game entertainment team went through the usual run-up to introductions, which included, among other things, Phil Collins’ In the Air Tonight and of course the national anthem.  Soon after, the lights went off, the Cavaliers Finals video played, and the PA announcer Sean Peebles went to work announcing the lineup.  Alan excitedly ran out through a lane of mascots!!

It was awesome being on the court for the first time and getting to watch Alan enjoy himself in the spotlight.

After all five players were announced, Alan huddled up with kids and mascots alike (photo taken by the Cavaliers).  Later I asked Alan what was said in the huddle, and he responded with “Go Cavaliers!”

After all the excitement, we went up to the Wine & Gold United members section at the Huntington Club Level.  The adults got some free food set aside for WGU members.  Alan opted for a soft pretzel and popcorn.  Alan stayed to watch the game until halftime, and then left for home with Veronica, as it was getting late.

Here is the on-court video of Alan!:

6/9/18 Update:  Alan received a voucher for a free Cavaliers jersey for participating in the Kids Starting Lineup.  Today I cashed it in for a Nike swingman LeBron jersey!

 

2018 Chicago Trip

The 2018 edition of our annual trip to Chicago returned to Memorial Day Weekend.  The recap follows below:

Saturday, May 26th, 2018:

Alan and I arrived at Hopkins in the early evening, following Alan’s afternoon piano lessons (fortunately baseball practice had been cancelled for the holiday weekend, since we were still a little tired from our late night downtown).

We loved seeing the Cavaliers signage around the airport!

As we waited for our flight to Chicago, Alan passed the time by reading some books he found.  He entertained himself for quite a while.

Before long, we were off to O’Hare.  Once we arrived, Alan requested a quick stop at Target for chips and Hot Wheels cars (otherwise known as life’s necessities).  Then it was time to head to the house and immediately bring out the Lincoln Logs!

Sunday, May 27th, 2018:

As soon as Alan woke up, he picked up where he left off the night before with the Lincoln Logs and cars.  Jill joined him and soon their farm took shape!

Once we left the house, the [obvious] first stop was the Chicago Botanic Garden for the model train display!  It remains the premier destination and highlight of Alan’s trip.  For the first time, we saw the caterpillar train car out on the track!

We took a couple laps around the train display and took many photos, but didn’t stay quite as long as normal due to the unseasonably warm temperatures (mid 90s).

Note: We made sure to wear our Cavaliers shirts all day in advance of Game 7 vs. the Celtics later that night!  I wore the “Whatever It Takes” shirt that we got at the Q while attending Game 7 vs. Indiana together.

After seeing the trains, we all went to another familiar destination — the Highland Park mini golf course!  When Alan has a favorite go-to spot, he makes sure to enjoy it.

For the first time in several years, no one got a hole-in-one.  While we were golfing, we heard the song “Whatever It Takes” playing on the loudspeakers.  Hearing those lyrics — which double as the Cavaliers’ 2018 playoff slogan — felt like a great omen for the game later that night!  Alan and I love that song now.

After golf, we headed to one of Alan’s universal favorite places — McDonald’s.  Alan got his lunch there and then sat patiently with a word search activity while the adults had their lunch at Rhapsody Café.

After a brief rest at home, the next stop was the Deerfield Public Library.  Alan assembled a very long train and had a great time driving it up and down the ramps he created for it.

While we were there, the Indians rallied to score five runs in the 9th inning vs. the Astros to force extra innings.  The Indians would later win it in 14 innings on a Greg Allen walk-off HR(!) when we were picking up milk at Walgreens and following on our phones.  I also saw that as a good omen for the Cavaliers, since the Indians won an extra inning game the same day the Cavaliers beat the Warriors in Game 7 in 2016 (Dan Otero even got the win both days).

Not that I’m superstitious or anything, but for dinner I suggested Il Forno Pizzeria.  Why?  Because it’s where we picked up dinner exactly two years ago (5/27/16) before we watched the Cavaliers beat the Raptors to win the Eastern Conference!

And sure enough, we watched the Cavaliers win the Eastern Conference for the 4th straight season in a thriller!  Alan watched the whole thing and pretended to be a coach.  He told the Celtics when to miss — and they listened, scoring just 79 points.  🙂  We knew the Cavaliers couldn’t have done it without Alan!

As we watched the Cavaliers raise up their trophy during the postgame ceremony, I thought back to a prophetic declaration that Alan made earlier in the month (on his own volition) that the Raptors and Celtics couldn’t beat LeBron James.  He was right, and it was a great night that we won’t soon forget!

Monday, May 28th, 2018:

The next morning we braved the heat once again and celebrated Memorial Day back at the Botanic Garden to see the trains.  When we went looking for the butterfly/lady bug/caterpillar train car to see whose turn it was in the rotation, we were surprised to find none of the above.  Instead we found a special patriotic train car!

Once Alan got his fill of trains for the trip, we got takeout (McDonalds’s and Panera, respectively) for lunch, then went on to round 2 of mini-golf.  Again no holes-in-one for any of us, but we had a great time on the course!

After mini-golf, Alan took his annual ride on the train with Jill.  This time they traveled from Deerfield to Glenview, where Robbie and I picked them up.  Alan opted to ride on the second level of the train, which he always chooses.

On our way home, we got take out from Naf Naf Grill.  After eating dinner, we took our annual photos by the famous tree (see beginning of post) and then headed to Maplewood Park for Alan to play.  Alan did a little rock-climbing and also entertained himself by sending some cars he brought with him down the big slide.

  

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018:

The next morning we took an early flight home so Alan could get back for piano and a baseball game.  Alan found our gate for us at O’Hare.

Thanks to Robbie and Jill for hosting us for another fantastic weekend.  As usual, Alan had a great time.  The trip was a great way to kick-off Alan’s summer!

Alan’s Favorite Activities

First grade – Part IV – edition of the Top 10:

-Visiting playgrounds and parks – especially now that the weather is warm!

-Doubling up on batting practice and playground time on Friday nights at the Mayfield Community Park.

-Tracking results of the NBA playoffs on a bracket print-out.  Alan watched some of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals from Grandma Debbie’s on Saturday, including when LeBron made a three to put the Cavs up by 20 on the Celtics.

-Championship races!

-Making forts with Tyler and Carleigh at Grandma Debbie’s!

-Learning baseball team logos using a set of mini batting helmets and the following map:

-Thinking about cars he’d like to buy when he’s older.  Alan currently wants to own a blue Subaru, a red Chevy, and a gray Kia.  He’d also like to buy Grandma Debbie a black Porsche.

-Playing badminton – Alan’s latest new sport

-ABC Countdown at school!  Alan’s really looked forward to each daily activity over the past month.

-Making race tracks on Grandma Debbie’s coffee table every weekend!

Bank Shot

Last night LeBron James hit a walk-off, game winner in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals to put the Cavs up 3-0 on the Raptors.  If it looked familiar, that’s because someone else banked in an angled shot from a similar spot on the court earlier this season.

Who shot it better – Alan or LeBron?

Alan was asleep at the time LeBron made his shot, but he watched part of the first quarter at Grandma Debbie’s house.  Now that Alan understands how an NBA champion is determined, he’s been excited to update his NBA playoffs bracket as teams advance.  He can’t wait to move the Cavaliers forward again!

Game 7!!

Today Alan and I watched the Cavaliers eliminate the Pacers with a hard-earned Game 7 victory at the Q!  It was Alan’s first playoff game for any sport.

I made the decision to go to the game late on Friday night and bought tickets off of StubHub.  When the Cavaliers’ NBA-record streak of 13 straight close out victories ended in a Game 6 loss that night, I was disappointed the streak ended but also thrilled that Alan and I would have a chance to witness a Game 7 together during one of the greatest eras in Cleveland sports history.  I was confident LeBron James wouldn’t lose a Game 7, and the rare 1:00 PM Sunday start time – our designated time for sports – made me feel like it was meant to be.

This morning while driving to the arena, Alan and I listened to his Kidz Bop playlist after I figured out how to play it through the car speakers.  It got us ready for the game!  After parking and walking across town, we got to the Q about 20 minutes before tip-off.  Upon entering the arena, I noticed we walked underneath a mural of the Richfield Coliseum – the venue where the Cavs last played a Game 7 at home on May 17, 1992.  In that game — also played on a sunny Sunday afternoon like today — the Cavaliers would beat the Celtics 122-104.  Even though I was 9 at the time, I remember it clearly to this day.  With Alan being near that age, the symmetry was apparent to me.

After entering the arena, Alan wanted to go straight to our seats.  He was pleasantly surprised to see black shirts and white towels that read “Whatever It Takes” waiting for us on our seats.  We watched the players warm-up until it was time for tip-off!  Alan enjoyed the atmosphere in the arena — I warned him it would be the loudest he’s ever heard the Q because it was an elimination game — and he waved his towel excitedly as the game got underway.

Note: While learning about the concept of an elimination game, Alan was relieved to find out that whoever was eliminated today would be allowed to play again next season.

Alan watched the game intently from our seats for the first quarter-and-a-half.  The Cavaliers jumped on the Pacers out of the gate and led for that entire stretch.  When Larry Nance Jr. checked into the game, I enjoyed telling Alan that I watched his Larry Nance Sr. play when I was Alan’s age.

About midway through the second quarter, Alan was ready to take a walk.  We stopped at the team shop and another souvenir stand, where I let Alan pick up a few items — including a foam Cavaliers sword to go with the foam shield that he got last game.  We also stopped for popcorn and water.  We took our time eating at a table by a TV, and by the time we got up again, the third quarter was underway.  The Pacers briefly took the lead while we were walking, but it was so short-lived that Alan did not notice.

When we got back to our seats, the Cavaliers were on top 75-74, but Alan wanted to see a bigger lead.  He kept calling for 3-point shots by the Cavaliers.  Kevin Love obliged at the beginning of the 4th quarter, when he made a pair of big time threes and a clutch two with the game still hanging in the balance.  Alan and I loved it!  Quickly the Cavaliers had a comfortable lead that they would not relinquish for the rest of the game.  That allowed us to enjoy the rest of the game relatively worry-free — and with lots of high-fiving.

Note: Alan also got to learn about the concept of fouling out, since two Pacers fouled out in the 4th quarter.  He got a kick out of it each time it happened.

When the final seconds ran off the clock, the Cavs were 105-101 winners!

We stuck around for a bit before leaving the Q, just enjoying the moment.  We took one photo together inside and one last photo of Alan outside in front of the “Whatever It Takes” countdown on the Q’s windows.

Alan was pretty tired after experiencing the intensity of a Game 7, and he fell asleep on the ride home.  When we got home, we took stock of all that we acquired throughout the afternoon.  Not bad!

4/30/18 Update:  Alan told me that today during journal time his classmate Ryleigh read her entry aloud about watching Game 7 on TV with her family.  Alan said he then proudly told everyone that he was actually at the game and that Mrs. Russo was jealous of him.  Alan’s own journal entry wasn’t about the game though.  His journal entries on Mondays are always a recap of his Saturday nights playing with his cousins!

Cavaliers Game No. 2 of 2017-18

Alan and I ventured to the Q tonight to watch the Cavaliers beat the Suns 120-95!  Alan was excited to see LeBron, Love, and JR Smith, as well as learn about the new Cavaliers acquired at the trade deadline.

The first thing we did upon arriving at the arena was to buy popcorn and head to our seats to watch the players warm up.  But after seeing fans on the Humongotron with signs, Alan wanted to make one too.  So we went back out into the concourse and Alan went to work.   He drew LeBron James making a basket at the buzzer to beat the Suns.  🙂

Afterwards we went back to our seats and watched the whole first half.  We held up Alan’s awesome sign during all the breaks in the action hoping to get on the Humungotron.  The Cavs built a big lead in the 2nd quarter so Alan was very pleased when updating his calculation of “the diff.”

At halftime Alan stopped at the team shop and bought a stuffed dog to go with the duck we bought last season and the bear we bought earlier this season.  Alan also got a foam Cavaliers shield and a couple Cavalier balls – one soft and one bouncy.

Then it was back to our seats to watch the remainder of the game.  Alan wanted to stay for the whole game, so we did.  Towards the end, we went down to the lower level to get a better look at the court before leaving.  It was an awesome Friday night hangout together!

 

LBJ League Play – Season Update

Here are the highlights of the second half of the basketball season:

2/4/18:  No game.  Alan’s team had the week off, but a play from the prior week — where Alan caught a hot pass from a teammate (Wyatt) and scored — was talked about by Alan and me all week.  After I showed Alan video of LeBron’s game-winning shot to beat the T-Wolves at the buzzer on 2/7/18, Alan commented on how Jeff Green’s pass to LeBron was just like Wyatt and Alan’s play.  After Alan shared his take on the play, it will likely now go down in family lore — just like the time Alan hit a baseball off the roof of the apartment.  That happened last summer, but we talk about that like it was yesterday. 🙂

2/11/18 vs Thunder:  Alan was miraculously held scoreless by the all-world Thunder D, but he impacts the game in other ways – most notably with his good passing.  Alan brought the ball up the court and set up the offense several times in the game.

2/18/18 vs Cavs:  Alan played his best game of the season, highlighted by four made baskets!  He scored once in the first quarter, twice in the third quarter (including at the buzzer), and once in fourth quarter.  It was an intense game due to one kid on the opposing team being both too skilled and too physical for the league.  Early in the third quarter, Alan got banged into by him.  But Alan shook it off, stayed in the game, and went on to score three of his four baskets after getting hurt.

2/25/18 vs Lakers:  Alan once again provided instant offense, opening the game with the first basket for the Heat.  He would later score again early in the third quarter.  I filled in as head coach (promoted from assistant), so I’ll take credit for calling Alan’s number.  Robbie was in the audience to see Alan’s two baskets.  The best moment for me was when Alan put his arm around me when I was nealing for the end of game team huddle.  It was the same hug I felt when I took a photo with Alan at Millridge last month when he was the student of the week.  I also felt it back when I visited him on Sports Day at Millridge in March 2017.

All of these games were 11:30am starts (first wave of games), so Alan wanted us to arrive before the rest of the team to practice on the open court.  It was fun playing 1-on-1 with him!

LBJ Basketball League

Alan’s first season in the Mayfield LBJ basketball league is officially underway!  Alan has worn his lucky Cavs Championship shirt to the first few sessions.  It must be bringing him good luck because today he made his first ever shot on the big hoop!

My camera was fortunately in hand, so here’s his form on the shot:

 

Alan’s friends playing in the league include Noah, Grady, Anton, Joshua, and De’Onta.  Alan partnered with De’Onta to work on bounce passes.

Cavaliers Game No. 1 of 2017-18

Alan and I put on our LeBron jerseys – circa 2008 and 2016 – and headed to the Q today to watch the Cavaliers take on the Hawks.  Alan was content to buy popcorn and watch the whole first half from our seats.  He cheered on LeBron — who finished with 26 points one game after becoming the youngest of seven players to reach 29,000 career points — and learned the names of the new Cavaliers.

We also explored the concourse and stopped over at the Wine & Gold United Headquarters.  Alan found his name on the hardwood floor (all by himself) within the first “A” in the “All For One and One for All.”  Only one name can be listed for each season ticket holder group, and after using my name last year, this year we used Alan’s!

‘Guys Only’ Week

Alan and I had extra quality time together this week with Mom going out of town!

Throughout the week, we reviewed schoolwork together (Alan loves sharing his take-home folder contents), and we read Alan’s new library book, Zak’s Lunch.  We listened to Alan’s favorite CD in the car during every morning drive to school. And we certainly made time for fun, including playing our favorite games at home and playing with Alan’s glow-in-the-dark toys under the covers before bed.   It was both a fun and productive week.

Mrs. Russo posted the following picture from class on Tuesday.  Alan told me the class was playing a math game on their tablets.  Alan’s wearing his Cavs championship shirt in the photo, since it was Cavs Day at Millridge.  That night Alan and I watched the Cavs beat the Celtics at the Q to open the new season!

Donuts With Dad

Today, before school, Alan and I attended one of our favorite events together — Donuts with Dad!  Alan and I had our milk and coffee together (neither of us are donut-eaters) at the same table as Cassidy, Xavier, and their Dad.  We also had our picture taken by a photographer.  At Alan’s request, I wore my Ohio State shirt and Alan wore his Cavaliers championship shirt.  Our photo turned out great!

Tribe Game No. 2 of 2017

Today Alan and I kicked off the summer season of Sunday afternoon Indians games.  We came straight from Alan’s baseball practice, so we didn’t arrive until midway through the game.  Alan had only enough time for his favorite activities, which he decided were batting and sprinting.

We did stop inside the Kids Clubhouse for the quick photo opp below (Alan’s idea), two trips down the slide, and popcorn — which seems to have replaced the soft pretzel as Alan’s go-to ballpark food item.

Before long it was time to run the bases!  Alan also took the photo below outside the Indians dugout.

In addition to getting our fill of baseball on this hot, sunny day, we also turned our attention to the Cavaliers.  Both before and after the game we stopped for a few pictures with the NBA Finals signage.  Go Cavaliers!

Note 1: Upon our arrival at the ballpark, we were greeted by a 443-foot foul ball off the bat of Encarnacion that landed about 15 feet from us outside the left field gate.  We watched it sail overhead and land outside the ballpark.

Note 2: The NBA Finals games have been on too late for Alan to watch, but he’s aware the Cavs have reached the championship round once again.  During the Eastern Conference Finals, Alan did watch the Game 2 massacre in Boston with me when the Cavs won 130-86 over the Celtics on May 19th.

Sunny in Cleveland

Today we arrived for Chinese class early, so we did some sight-seeing on the mall area around Key Tower and Cleveland Browns Stadium.  Alan loves seeing the Tower, whether it’s up close or from afar (He also went inside when he visited me at work to deliver Christmas presents when he was 3, but he doesn’t remember that).

It was a beautiful day in Cleveland – weather wise and sports wise.  The Cavs began their title defense with a win over the Pacers in Gm 1 of their first round series, while the Indians beat the Tigers right next door.

  

Cavaliers Game

Alan and I watched the Cavaliers beat the 76ers at the Q tonight!  It was our 1st game of the regular season together and Alan’s second overall.  He went to the Feb. 25th game vs the Bulls with Mom as well.

Alan watched a good portion of the second quarter from our seats and cheered every time that LeBron, Kyrie, or Love — his favorites — scored points or grabbed rebounds.  Before that, he was busy taking pictures with them. 🙂

Other highlights of the night included taking in the sights around the concourse and stopping by the Wine & Gold United Membership area for stickers and photos. Alan loved wearing his LeBron jersey, which I bought him after he became a member of the Cavs Kids Club this year!

 

Centers, Sports Day at Millridge

Today was another centers day for Kindergarteners — the first after busy season at work for me — so I jumped at the opportunity to drive Alan to school and spend the morning with him and his classmates!

It also happened to be Sports Day at school, so Alan and I both went in Cavaliers attire. During bellwork, Alan had to write and answer the following questions in his journal:

  1. What is your favorite sport?
  2. What is your favorite team?
  3. Who is your favorite player?

Alan responded with “baseball,” “Indians,” and “LeBron James.”  All very understandable answers!

When it was time for centers, I manned a station with a math game.  The kids rotated through in groups of three or four.  Alan was in a group with his best friends Xavier and Grady.  I loved how all three kids combined to cover the Cavaliers, Indians, and Browns with their shirts.

Side note: Alan ended up winning the math game.  Later in the day, when I called Alan after he got home from school, he revealed to me that he thought he won because he was wearing his Cavaliers championship shirt.

After the math game, Alan and his friends rotated through other tables that involved puzzles, coloring, and drawing.  At one station Alan drew a plane and a truck (specifically a Target truck) that he gave to me to take home. Obviously I loved it.

At the conclusion of centers, I stayed with Alan as the kids ate their snacks, then left for work afterwards.  I would’ve stayed for the whole day if I could have!

Wine & Gold Scrimmage

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This afternoon, thanks to Alan, we got to take a photo with the Larry O’Brien trophy!  The photo opp was made available to members of the Cavs Kids Club (NOT Wine & Gold Members like me ha) following the Cavs’ annual Wine & Gold Scrimmage at the Q.

During the scrimmage, which we watched from the Club level, Alan cheered every time Kyrie touched the ball, Love made a 3-pointer, or LeBron (DNP) was shown on the scoreboard.  Those three players are easily the three most recognizable athletes to Alan, since he saw them on TV quite frequently last season.

Overall, it was a great trip to the Q for Alan – his first since January 2013.  The sound was a bit too loud for Alan’s liking, but he did have his favorite salt-free soft pretzel that made him quite happy.  The best moment was when Alan saw the court for the first time. He described it as “Awesome” in his most excited voice. 🙂

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Believe It!

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It really happened, and Alan has the evidence to prove it: The Cavaliers are the 2016 NBA Champions!!

I’m glad I set my game-watching plans to be at home with Alan.  It was definitely worth it, as he was great company for the occasion.  And the cars driving on Mayfield road that honked their horns until about 1am did give Mayfield Heights a downtown feel!

Earlier in the series Alan also watched Game 3 with me (another Cavaliers win), making us 2-0 together for the series.  He watched part of the 1st quarter at Debbie and Papa’s house during Games 1, 4, and 6 too.  He regularly tuned in to see his favorite player, LeBron James, before going on his nightly adventures with Lulu.

Alan’s interest in sports continues to grow and I love it.  I really hope that as time goes on Alan will retain memories of watching Game 7 with me.  I certainly won’t forget watching with him.  Sharing that championship with him at my side is one of the greatest moments of my life.

I still cannot believe how perfectly yesterday played out.  What an amazing day.  I hope the partying in Cleveland never stops!

6/22/16 Update: The partying has not, in fact, stopped yet.  Robbie, David, and I joined approximately 1.3 million others in attending the Championship parade today!  It sure was not easy getting there.  After finding RTA was delayed by at least four hours by 8am, we took a bus from Cedar and Green to E. 110th, then walked the final four miles to downtown.  But it was worth it.  We stood at E. 9th and Lakeside across from the Jones Day building for the whole parade, which lasted about 4 hours – mainly because the cars had trouble maneuvering through the encroaching crowds of people! Below is one photo I took of LeBron riding by (he’s in the upper left, with the backwards yellow hat).

LeBron

Tribe Game No. 4 of 2016 / Father’s Day 2016

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Father’s Day 2016 was simply perfect.  It featured great moments with Alan and it may very well go down as the best day in Cleveland sports history.

The day started with Alan giving me a card and making me coffee, and it continued with Alan accompanying me to an Indians game.  As we approached the ballpark with other Indians fans, we passed Browns Backers who were tailgating on surface lots (just because). We also saw Cavaliers fans already claiming their Watch Party seats for Cavaliers-Warriors Game 7 in the parking garage across from the Q.  There was definitely a festive Cleveland sports atmosphere that encompassed all of our teams.  I had to stop and take a picture of Alan in the Cavaliers fan zone outside the Q (pictured below).

On the way into the ballpark, I took a picture of Alan next to the Jim Thome statue (pictured below).  Once in the Kids Clubhouse, Alan played with his usual favorite red car, the trains, and the roller coaster toy — which he rode approximately 15 times. But he also added a new green tractor to the playing rotation (pictured below).

We had some extra time to play because not only did we arrive early, but also the game went into extra innings.  So Alan ventured back to the big kids area of the Family Deck, after getting his feet wet there last time.  Alan took swings in the caged mini-field and hit a double in his only at-bat (pictured below).  He also ran a simulated race four times.  The fourth run came immediately after the ballpark erupted on Jose Ramirez’s GW single in the bottom of the 10th, which gave the Indians a 3-2 win.

After the exciting finish to the game – and the customary playing of “Cleveland Rocks” – Alan ran the bases on his own.  Afterwards, we stopped for our annual Father’s Day photo/seflie (pictured above). Alan was his happy and silly self as usual.  🙂

On the way home we made a quick stop to see Robbie, Tata, and Papa so that Alan could play his rescue game. After exchanging some well wishes for the Cavaliers, Alan and I went back home to watch our team in Game 7 of the NBA Finals (How awesome is that to write!).  With Alan watching and cheering by my side, of course the Cavaliers delivered a long-awaited World Championship back to Cleveland!

What a day and night with Alan – the best kid a dad could ever ask for and the true reason I got to celebrate today. Father’s Day is my favorite day of the year, and this one may very well go down as the best I’ll ever have.

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