Here is my Tuesday column. I wrote it about the Cavaliers finally making the playoffs, but there is some Zips stuff in here, too...
My name is Mike, and I love to root for bad teams.
In 2002-2003, I drove to 15 Cleveland Cavaliers games. That was one of the most pathetic seasons in NBA history. The Cavaliers won 17 on their way to the LeBron lottery.
In the past few years, I have rarely missed a televised Cleveland Indians game. Often, I watched them alone. It is challenging to find cohorts to sit on the couch for a regular season baseball game of a non-contending team.
The same goes for the Browns since 1999.
I have also followed Zips football and men's basketball religiously since I was a freshman. Missed free throws. Awful run defenses. I've seen plenty as an Akron fan.
Now you are questioning my sanity, and probably my credentials for having a sports column in the school newspaper.
Why, Mike, do you get most excited about floundering teams? Why, Mike, do you go to more games when the team is in the cellar?
The answer is simple: Following a loser is so gratifying once the team improves.
I take great pride in saying I have been a Travis Hafner fan for three years. I love telling people about the conversation I had with Zydrunas Ilgauskas last year about that 17-win season.
It tastes so sweet to have your mindless passion pay off. My favorite sports memory is the Mid-American Conference football championship this fall. Experts gave the Zips no shot at winning. The spread was 13 points. And I loved the victory so much more because I never abandoned the team, not even after a disgracing home loss to a winless Army team earlier in the season.
Rooting for the muscular stallion with a skinny 5-foot-2 man on its back doesn't interest me. I prefer to cheer on the runt with a limp that Janet Reno is riding.
I am writing this because my biggest investment has finally paid off with the Cavaliers reaching the playoffs.
I distinctly remember arguing with my friends the year the Cavs won 17. At one point, my friends seriously thought the Pittsburgh Pirates would beat the Cavs in basketball. Well, as long as pitcher Jeff Suppan started at center.
Some members of the national media don't think the Cavs' success will last. They want you to believe LeBron James will leave for New York or Los Angeles at his first chance. In Stephen A. Smith's small, smug, self-righteous mind, a small-market team could never keep a player like James.
No matter how many times James says he wants to retire as a Cavalier, Smith and his friends will create rumors to preserve the conception that big cities will always trump smaller ones in the end.
The same goes for college football. If you ever talk to an Ohio State fan about the Zips, they will snicker. To them, only one team matters in Ohio. That is the Buckeyes. Why waste your breath on Akron. I mean, come on, it's only Akron.
But that's fine. All you Steelers, Yankees and Buckeyes fans can have your safe, assured place in the sports world.
I love the underdogs.
Here is a Mike Hixenbaugh story about the trio of freshmen that have contributed greatly this season.
Here is a Hixenbaugh feature on A.J. Oyer, whose performance this weekend was crucial for the men's team winning the Northeast Ohio Invitational.
Megan MacKenzie is the Buchtelite's Zips Athlete of the Week. And it has nothing to do with her ability to strike me out while I'm swinging a noodle.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Domenik Hixon has visited the Steelers.
No comment from me on this. I just hope Charlie Frye gets his way and Hixon becomes a Brown on Sunday.
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