Fresh off five days in Vegas1, I have absolutely no idea what day it is. But I’m being told it’s Thursday, so here I am, you guys. So nice to see you.
There are so many things going on in Cleveland sports to be excited about right now. The Indians are winning, and only two-and-half-games back from first. The Cavaliers are playing tonight in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, and things are looking up. Believeland is finally released to the masses, and currently sitting in my DVR waiting for me.
But with the NBA playoffs nearing its pinnacle matchup, a new cause of anxiety awaits yours truly. You guys, I want to talk about the Finals 15. It’s a term I affectionately came up with to explain the weight you gain while the Cavs are playing in the Eastern Conference and NBA Finals, the distant cousin of the Freshman 15.
I noticed it last year, sometime during the six games the Cavs faced the Golden State Warriors in the Finals. I was exhausted. I was bloated. My skin looked horrible. Day after day of eating chicken fingers and drinking draft beer way past normal dinner hours was starting to show. And all those late nights spent at City Tap watching, cheering, living and dying by every play weren’t having the same effect as an evening spent at the gym. Or going to bed early. Apparently… the NBA Finals were catching up with me quickly.
It then occurred to me, of course, that I had done basically the same thing throughout the Cavs’ four-game sweep of the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Finals. And probably the 10 games against Chicago and Boston, too. For the better part of four weeks, my life revolved around bar food, beer, and basketball. And I was starting to feel like the Michelin man.
Like the lifestyle change one undergoes when they move away to college for the first time, the NBA Finals had caused a seismic shift in my daily life that went unnoticed until the damage was done. Like the Freshman 15, I only realized it when it was already too late—I had put on the Finals 15. And in looking around the bar that night, and my office the next morning, I realized I probably wasn’t the only one.
My friends had greasy ponytails pulled back, an obvious sign of sleepiness and shower neglect. We complained about being fat even more than normal, while sharing nachos and Summer Shandys. My coworkers looked exhausted, with bags hanging under eyes and voices raspy from yelling.
To be honest, I never stepped on scale at the time. But I can assure you it wouldn’t have been good. At this point, you may have a few questions about the phenomenon of the Finals 15. Let me try to answer them for you.
But Jess, why didn’t you just make a salad before heading to the bar?
Have you ever tried to grab a barstool at City Tap when there’s a big game on? Please.
Gotcha. So hurrying to the bar for prime seats means no time to work out either?
Ok so, what about an early-morning workout?
Hi. What part about waking up at 5:00 a.m. to work out after a late night of watching the Cavs sounds appealing? Actually what part about waking up at 5:00 a.m. to work out ever sounds appealing?
Couldn’t you just like… drink water? Or Diet Coke?
Yes, I could. But couldn’t you also mind your own beverage?
And going to bed early is out of the question?
When there’s a game on? If you’re asking that, you don’t belong here. Bye.
Now that Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals is upon us, we’ve got some decisions to make, Cleveland. Are we going to slip, knowingly but joyfully, into a Finals 15 coma of food, exhaustion and alcohol? Are we going to exhaust our personal supplies of Cleveland-themed T-shirts and clean clothes? Are we going to live and die by every play, with greasy hair and hoarse voices and bloated bellies?
I can already assure you that my mind is made up. Now pass the chicken fingers, please. Extra ranch.