As regular readers of these pages may have deduced, the Commandress, the Commanditos and I live in Columbus, Ohio. One of the nice things about life in Columbus is you can live in a cow pasture and still have plenty of mediocre activities located 2 to 2-1/2 hours away. So every couple of years I venture up to Cleveland to see my beloved Celtics wipe out the perennially overrated Cavs and hopefully escape with my life. A coworker invited me to join him at last night’s season opener, and I graciously obliged.
And that was before I realized it would be the first game of the post-LeBron era in lovely Cleveland.
For those who don’t follow the NBA — and why would you? — the Cavs’ opener occurred on the second night of the NBA season; on the first, the Celtics took LeBron’s new team down a notch. So it was a different kind of Cavs/Celtics game on night #2. It started with AM radio on the ride in, where first we heard Cavs’ owner Dan Gilbert pretend like he wasn’t in the process of blowing up the team, and then the pregame commentators speculated that Cavs’ fans would give the Celtics a standing ovation during pregame introductions. (You get one guess as to whether that happened.)
The first moment I realized that the evening would be a special experience was at the end of the first quarter, when the two women sitting next to us squeezed past to get food. “Can we get you anything?” they asked. Obviously, it wasn’t easy to mistake the place for the Boston Garden.
Heading into halftime, I got up to tour the various food and drink options. With a number of regionally prominent breweries and a brewing tradition that dates back at least to the 1860s, I was sure the Q* offered more than Coors Light. Sure enough, the first food stand I passed had a bin of beers that had two bottles of Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold. (Ratio of shitty beer to mediocre beer–200:1.) Maybe I should have asked the ladies next to us to bring me back a bottle of Westy 12.
* For the uninitiated, “the Q” is short for Quicken Loans Arena. Do you think the subprime mortgage lending prostitutes who bought the naming rights realize that the letter “Q” had already been claimed by a goth Sesame Street musical ripoff?
Two long escalators and some quality people-watching later, I found the trendy food lounge. It’s Cleveland, so it was still cafeteria-style. What distinguished this place was that they put the mustard on your bratwurst for you, and everything was $3 more expensive than the ordinary food stands. Also, the line was 20 minutes long, versus no line at the brat stand at the entrance to my section.* I was in love.
* Overheard while waiting in line: “Not much has changed. The place is packed; they’re playing loud and obnoxious music; and we’re losing to the Celtics at halftime.”
At long last I come to the beer selection. When I got close to the front of the line, I caught sight of four gleaming taps. I immediately recognized one–Coors light. A second was the same Dortmunder Gold I turned down near my own section. The remaining two were Thirsty Dog Old Leghumper Porter and Ithaca Apricot Wheat. Naturally I went with the Old Leghumper. And I was pleasantly surprised. Brewed in Akron, Ohio, the Leghumper is an unusually hoppy porter. It has the typical smoky nose and taste of a porter, but no aftertaste to speak of, and a pleasant floral bouquet. 3 Hops.
Then I had the Ithaca Apricot Wheat. Don’t get me started. OK, I guess I’m already started. Though billed by the brewery as “Our #1 Selling Beer,” nothing short of “complete piece of shit” could describe this one. I don’t like wheat beer; I don’t like fruit beer; and I increasingly don’t like Ithaca Beer Company. I also don’t care if people in middle-New York hamlets like Syracuse and Rochester buy it at the local bodega. It tastes like a Blue Moon with 1/2 cup apricot nectar poured into it. It’s too sweet, tastes too much like apricot, it’s not carbonated enough, and it looks like piss. Jobu would have gone apeshit if they sacrificed this shit to him. And yet the douchebags in the Moe Williams jerseys were all over it. 2 Hops.
Then the Celtics started to suck. I prematurely emailed “Lord” (Douchebag) CopperChamberpot to say the Celtics were starting to get their shots to go and the Cavs looked bad. Then the Celtics missed no fewer than four open shots in the last 90 seconds and Anthony Parker of the Cavs (i.e., the one who is not married to Eva Longoria) nailed a contested 3 with 1 second left on the shot clock. That’s when I was glad they were still selling Coors Light.
That’s right–they sell beer in the fourth quarter in Cleveland. After all, what is there left to destroy??
It was a long 2-1/2 hour drive back.
Here’s to me,