These Bears Are Riding Horses. Let’s Smile About That, At Least Briefly.

I don’t write out of character often, but I think I owe it to you all to sit down and be as bare and honest with you as I can because of the turd-rito that we just got served at Señor Yames’ Cafe. I can be bare and honest because I’m sitting on my couch naked, and I want you to know that I’m determined to get through this even if my laptop burns a hole through my thigh. It doesn’t help that I keep getting emotional and stopping because this is my last post here*.

Very often sports and our favorite teams are a diversion for us. Though we have athletes who represent our city, we more or less are aware that they are just guys who are really good at what they do and happen to play in the city that they happen to play in. Even when they sign multi-year deals and do charity work around the city, we kind of know that they’re more or less mercenaries or sorts, playing for our team because we pay their bills.

There are times when the players that we cheer for transcend that. Even when a player isn’t from Cleveland or the nebulous region that is Northeast Ohio, we can find ways to latch on. Zydrunas Ilgauskas is the tall lurpy white guy that everyone loves because we’ve seen him grow and battle back (after cursing him for a while – if you’re older than about 30, don’t say that you never did curse him or the fact that he was drafted). Also, he’s white – and hey, if Ohio’s got one thing besides corn, it’s a lot of white people. Joshua Cribbs grew up in DC, but (!!!) he went to Kent State, so we all love him as well, because there’s a sort of NE Ohio tie that binds. And if we can claim a star player because he went to a state school in Ohio, we’ll do it.

I’m not going to go into all the details, because I’ve shared them before, but I never was a big NBA fan growing up. The Cavs were an entity that I was aware of and wanted to see do well, but I never had an NBA arena experience until I was a junior in college. I was a freshman at OSU when LeBron got drafted by the Cavs, and didn’t really pay them much attention until they made the playoffs in 04-05. I payed more attention because the team was doing better. I’ll admit – it’s not the sexiest thing to cop to (but that’s OK – I’m still not wearing pants). But, I started to have my heartstrings tugged by this team.

This is largely due to one man. I’m not going to say that I started watching the Cavs more only because they were my hometown team, or because they were doing better than before – it’s largely because of LeBron James.

And not unlike others here, the NBA more or less just died for me.

That being said, I went about things much differently than others. I scarcely commented here over the past few weeks, because I knew things were going too ham for my liking and I didn’t want to deal with it. I’ve been well-aware of what’s been reported, but reports are reports. To me, nothing was set in stone until it came from the man’s mouth. I avoided twitter for three whole days, which for me is an eternity.

The issue for me hasn’t been the constant variance in things reported. As I said, reports are reports. The thing I’ve been trying to avoid is the people. Who do I mean by “the people”? Pretty much everybody. The people who, not unlike all of us here, care deeply about this team, this city, and the other thingamajigs that can be lumped in. The people who write about the NBA. The people who already didn’t like LeBron with whom I spent a lot of time defending certain facets of his being. The fever pitch emotions all around were something that just became too much for me to handle. So I just kind of stepped back.

Essentially, I tried to devoid my life of all of the emotion surrounding the situation. And I succeeded, until I went to a friend’s house, dropped off our dogs before a weekend trip**, and sat down to chat. We chatted for an hour and a half, and then the TV got flipped on to ESPN. So we sat, and we watched. And I undid every single thing that I had hoped to accomplish with my “Hey bros don’t let ESPN bother you” article.

I got sucked in, in a room with three other people.

As we watched – and heard the words South Beach, they kind of just rung there in my ears, hollow. I said some things that my mother wouldn’t be proud of, poured myself another drink (Tanqueray this time, because my buddy had finished off the Jack), and sat down trying to process it all.

And I don’t think I could. I still don’t know if I have. But as we sat watching the night’s episode of So You Think You Can Dance, I felt that last few years of my life that I’ve devoted to the NBA go floating off into the ether. I really don’t know if the NBA will ever win me back.
In some ways, I think that I may have come much closer to the standard “Cleveland fan” today. In general, I prefer to be rather even-keel. I really don’t like the idea of oscillating often between extreme emotions. Even when things like this happen, I try to prepare myself for the worst. I try to be as analytical and realistic in my expectations with my sports teams. I try to keep them as a diversion.

This time, it didn’t work.

We all knew that the roster in Cleveland certainly is flawed. But I also think that we all would agree that the smart moves for LeBron that weren’t located in Ohio would have been Chicago or maaaaybe New Jersey. Both teams have young cores. The move to Miami just seems like a bunch of delusional guys who think that Voltron is a real life thing, and I can somberly inform you that it is not.

But here we all are – stabbed in the back (with a smug smile) by LeBRO. Pretty unchill move. A move that could have been handled pretty well had it not been pumped up to the extent that it was. So, whatever. I’ve got plenty of profanities, but really at the end of the day they don’t accomplish anything (aside from getting me angry looks from people). Thanks a lot, LeBRO. I hope you and team Voltron get beat in the Finals by Team Durantulas. That’s the extent of my anger and ill-wishes.

I don’t really know how to wrap this all up. I’ve certainly written posts while much more intoxicated in the past, or when I’ve been more emotional (miss u, Vic) – but never more shocked than right now. The only thing that I know deep down is that I don’t want this to scar me and change me for the worse. I’m really not all that old, you know, for the earth. I’m 26 (and a half!).

I know deep down for realsies is that it’s never a good thing to be that old, frumpy, joyless person who thinks that it’s their job to poop on everyone’s parade. Bitterness and cynicism rarely accomplish anything of note. I sincerely hope that I won’t become such a person. If that happens to me, I imagine that I will view this as a failure to live a happy life.

I hope that none of us become severely embittered because of this – living in a downtrodden, angry place is not any sort of way to live our lives. So as hard as it may be, let’s all find something that gives us a place to look for solace. List them in the comments. I’m serious on this one – as hokey and chintzy as it may be, it also should be cathartic (this paragraph should serve as explanation for the photo above).

My name is Denny. I’m 26. Every once in a while, I find joy while running. Typically, it has nothing to do with the run itself, but is a seemingly parallel occurrence. It’s running west towards a deep red sunset that takes up the entire sky. It’s a 3 year old, walking with their parents, catching a glimpse of me running by – and running along with me for 5, 10 seconds. It’s little moments like these that I’ve found myself taking an almost profound joy in, both in their simplicity and in all their complexities as well. These little moments are still going to happen. These moments aren’t going to stop simply because LeBRO left the Cavs.

These moments, Mister James, are something that you’re never going to be able to take away from me.

I want my last post to be something positive. I don’t really know if I’ve accomplished anything worthwhile here in the midst of all of my inane ramblings and photoshops, but I want to right now with this. I’ve had a hell of a lot of fun writing here and will continue to have some fun commenting around these parts – but really that’s all secondary to the task at hand right now. Let’s make this into something that helps us smile, at least for a second or two. The sun came up today. And you know what? It will tomorrow.

I’m glad to be with you, Samwise Gamgee, here at the end of all things.



* Briefly: I’m theoretically six months away from obtaining my PhD. I need to get done in this six months, and I need to earn in. To do this, I need to minimize distractions in my life that aren’t science-related. This is something that I’ve thought of over the past few weeks, and something that has been known behind the scenes for most of this week. I’ll still be around commenting and on Twitter some, but I won’t be posting any more – all totally on my own volition. Sometimes there are more important things in life than photoshopping Kelvin Sampson’s head onto Bruce Willis’ body.

<** Please don’t destroy the Turnpike this weekend during the rampage. I need to use it for driving my car from DC to Indiana and then back and stuff.


  • Harry Doyle

    Well said Denny, thanks for the bears.
    May the road rise up to meet you….

  • Eli

    It would have been more uplifting if it was bears riding unicorns.

  • Josh

    Wait, you’re leaving too? is “PHD” code for some county in Florida?

    Kidding of course. Good Luck with everything Denny – we will not burn your posts in the streets.

  • “There’s only one way to eat a brace of conies.”

    Great post. Honesty and emotion are in short supply these days.

    On an unrelated note, seeing as we both live in DC, we should meet up sometime, possibly to consume alcoholic beverage with one another.

  • Stinkfist

    if denny is leaving, can WFNY hire dan gilbert?

  • Brian

    Denny, you will be missed. Thank you for coming out and saying it, and not dragging it out over 2 years.

  • cninja

    +1000000 to #6

  • datDancygrl

    You summed it up nicely, Denny. Good luck and you will be fondly missed.

  • Kunal

    Thanks for everything Denny we will miss you

  • coacha12

    Amen Denny. Much respect to you. Sad to see your posts end, as they were always filled with that snarky humor that you had to actually think about to get. It wasn’t always about ‘poop tweets’ with you and I’m glad Twitter is a turnpike on which you will still travel from time to time. *bro hug (no homo)* -Ryan

  • Lyon

    Voltron isn’t real???? NOOOOOOO

  • BuckeyeDawg

    Brian beat me to it…you sure you don’t want to publicize the hell out of this and drag it out over the next year or so?

  • CharlesNoooooo

    Best wishes on the PhD, man. Now put some pants on.

  • Joseph

    Best of luck to you Denny on everything you work on accomplishing; I’ve always appreciated the articles you and everyone else write on here.

  • It may be the fact that I’m still drunk from EDSBS Live last night, but I’m getting teared up. This is the best thing you’ve ever done. SEE YOU IN ANOTHER LIFE, BROTHA

  • Roosevelt

    Thank you for all of your posts and participation, Denny. Whenever I see that teddy bear avatar, I know a good comment is coming. I’m glad you still plan to participate in the comments.

    Thanks as well, for pointing out in the article that you run regularly. It spared me the visual of a fat naked couch potato with a laptop on his meaty thigh.

  • DJ

    Good luck over the next few months as well. However, I do expect you to come out of retirement/self-imposed exile Ric Flair style after you finish your doctorate, whenever that may be.


  • MrCleaveland

    Adios, Denny. Once in a while I thought you were a jerk, but hey, who isn’t a jerk once in a while? But the rest of the time you were insightful, interesting, hilarious, and a good guy. Good luck with that PhD thing.

  • ClevelandSouth

    All Clevelanders to be awarded an honorary PhD in suffering.

    I guess that will be two for you.

  • Sar

    I agree with you! I wasn’t much of a Cavs fan until Lebron. I think I can remember going to maybe 2 games before the James era. There will be things I never forget like the playoff game last year against the magic. I was at the game and will never forget the excitement here when he made the buzzer beating shot. But I feel for the owner of the Cavs he has given everything to a superstar whether that was misguided or not he still has feelings. He put millions of dollars on the line to build state of the art training facilities and improvements at the Q. His teamates left behind that he agreed to have come here are now left to get the brunt of the fan anger. What about the new coach who signed on to coach lebron only to have to be back in rebuilding mode. There are endless things I have been thinking about in the last 24 hours. I think I will never get as excited by the NBA again it just doesn’t seem possible for them to allow something like this. But then again there are the Yankees in baseball. I think that’s why i’ve always love Tennis. There is nobody out there to place the blame if you suck, you suck. You just watch for the shear beauty of the game. Basketball isn’t that way for me anymore.

  • Brian

    Denny, you have to come back post graduation. How many other sports blogs have Dr. writing for them?

  • Shamrock

    For some reason “Weird Science” is playing in my head but best of luck in your future endeavours. For the most part I’ve enjoyed the sparring because unlike alot of people around here at least you had a sense of humor and had some boundaries. I’ll admit I wasn’t always a fan of your humor often being the BUTT of it but for some reason. Like you I only visit my old hometown from time to time and maybe it’s that perspective change which has helped. Anyways catch ya later Lenny! 

  • Tim

    Thanks for everything, Denny, hope you’re around during Ohio State football season this fall.

  • Harv 21

    “Dr. Denny”? Dude.

    OK, Denny therapy – check, now just a little Haiku therapy and we’ll be good. Please tee that up, WFNY. Have a full work day and any bile traces really interfere. Thank you.

  • BrianRut4

    Good stuff, Denny. Good luck in your future endeavors.

  • stin4u

    Pretty sure this means we need to retire Tim couch bear…it just won’t be the same.

    Also, I find my solace in reading Denny’s posts on WFNY….looks like I better take up running. :*(

  • CJG

    Thanks Denny for all the great posts. Good luck getting the Phd!

  • Gren (not Glen)

    I really did enjoy your post’s Denny. I will surely miss the light hearted comments who made me laugh (not that any of the others didn’t). Good luck with your PHD, hope to spam up the comments with Office talk with you soon.

    Got the day off, took a drive downtown and was hoping to see them take down the banner for some closure. It was already down 🙁

    As for my little enjoyment moment. I really do enjoy going downtown and parking my car by the Browns Stadium/Science Center and just walking around the dock and the airport. It’s a very nice place to just go, collect your thoughts, and relax. Plus you can see the kids at the skate park wipe out and who doesn’t enjoy that ?

  • Cindy

    While your reasons are noble for leaving, I think you will miss the REAL thing that makes the sports experience on this page–the camaraderie of friends who love Cleveland. Been around the net a lot and have seen many people have a horrible experience and take a break saying “never again”. I’ve done that myself ,I admit. But when the smoke clears and the hurt is just a little less fresh, you’ll come back to those who love ya.

    In the words of Tom Bodet–“we’ll leave the light on for you”.

  • Swig

    Sometimes there are more important things in life than photoshopping Kelvin Sampson’s head onto Bruce Willis’ body

    Debatable, there must be a woman involved 😛

    While reading WFNY at work I like to play guess the writer after reading the headline, I’m pretty good at it. I see this happening a lot now

    Swig: Clearly Denny …
    Swig: No? Dang, thought I nailed that one.
    Swig: Oh, wait …

  • Clown Baby

    Man, good luck Dr. Feelgood.

    I told my wife last night that the LeBron Decision made me regret being addicted to sports but it’s articles like these and a community like WFNY that make feel totally justified in being a sports fan. I know deep down CLE get there someday and crap like this will make it even more special.

  • JB

    Im gonna go to slyman’s and get a corned beef sandwich because cleveland still kicks (WFNY edit)

    (People even today the rules still apply. Please check the before you comment page.)

  • CjZ

    Best of luck with the PhD. Your articles will be missed. Thanks for all the laughs

  • sleepless in cincinnati

    Always enjoyed your articles & comments. This may be the best one yet. Thanks for gracing us with atleast one of your gifts. leebron could take some pointers from you on this fact – you went out like a champ!

  • Chuck

    Denny, it has been a pleasure reading your articles and doing photoshops for you when you asked (and not asked…lol). You will be missed. Please be sure to come back post-PhD.

  • Swig


    Q: Does dWade get Chosen 0 tattooed on his back, like a prequel. Does Bosh have to settle for chosen 3, since Varejao took 2?

  • Cue the Morgan Freeman narration:

    Sometimes it makes me sad, though… Denny being gone. I have to remind myself that some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up DOES rejoice. But still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they’re gone. I guess I just miss my friend.

    Best of luck with the PhD. In a related note, WFNY is taking applications. Extensive Photoshop experience is a must.

  • Eli

    Excellent use of quotes from an excellent movie B-Bo. Filmed in Mansfield Ohio no less!

  • mgbode

    good luck on the stretch run for the PhD. obviously, you will be missed.

  • I had to make similar choices to get done…best of luck to you Denny. No getting new hobbies now, ha, bear down and get it done! Sad to see you leaving the wfny community.

  • Hot Toluene

    It’s been a good run, chemistry buddy. Maybe I’ll see you out there on the interview circuit…

  • Karsten

    WHICH BEAR WON?!??!?!??

    Oh, and uh, have a good one Denny, best of luck.