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Salutations Area 55ers!* Gear up, it’s Friday.* Those impudent swashbucklers from Lake Erie, the Cleveland Cavaliers, have arrived in Indy to test their mettle tonight against our Pacers.
Yes, they’re still LeBron-less, but this version is supposedly new, streamlined, revamped, and rebuilt. They are pretty different than the lowly Cavalier team that we (and everyone else) feasted on last year.
Ah, there is so much to say!
Last year the Cavs were the pits of the universe, sporting a 19–63 record.* Among other things, they managed to lose 26 games in a row, setting an NBA record for sustained ineptitude in doing so. Still, even the lowly Cavs had their moments.* Somehow they managed upset wins against the Lakers, the Heat and the Celtics.* So, I guess, you just never know.
This year, the Cavs come to Indy (1-1), after dropping their initial home-town opener to the Raptors and then rebounding away to destroy the hapless Detroit Pistons (who are on their way to emulating last-year’s Cavs).* The Cavs’ starters feature highly-touted rookie point guard Kyrie Irving, Anthony “Smoosh” Parker at shooting guard,* Israeli-small forward Omri Casspi, power forward Antawn Jamison, and everybody’s favorite, mop-topped Brazilian center Anderson Varajao.
Aside from Irving, the Cavs put away Detroit the other night mostly with their bench, a motley group consisting of guards Daniel Gibson, Ramon Sessions (who has been hot, 18 points against the Pistons), ex-Texas rookie Tristan Thompson, D-League upstart Alonzo Gee, and their backup center Samardo Samuels.
Irving reportedly had a “dismal” game against the Raptors, scoring only 6 points and struggling defensively against Raptors guard Jose Calderon, who repeatedly used him off of pick and rolls (hint, hint!).* Irving came back with an 18 point, 5 assist game against Detroit.* His coach, former Pacer Byron Scott, told him to be “more aggressive” against Detroit, and Irving complied** Reportedly Casspi and Jamison have been in shooting slumps, so Irving will probably be trying to reprise his act against us.* Thompson, their new power forward, has supposedly been a pleasant “surprise” for the Cavs, and the play of Sessions and Gee in both of the Cavs’ prior games was solid.
The Cavs won’t win against us if DC3 and our guard crew can contain Irving and Sessions.* Also, the David West / Antawn Jamison matchup should also be interesting to watch.* Look too for Roy Hibbert to have a good game, assuming he can stay out of foul trouble.* His match-up, Anderson Varajao (he of the bird’s nest hair), is a vet, wily from a defensive standpoint, and specializes in flopping about like a carp out of water at the least* physical contact, thereby drawing imaginary fouls.* Backup center Samardo Samuels usually struggles with bigger centers. *Anyway, I like the way this shapes up.
On paper we should win this game.* But, unfortunately, games aren’t played on paper.* So let’s all help to keep our guys active and focused. We have to win home opportunities like this one.
PTO DOINGS! As everyone who attended it knows, the pre-Detroit PTO was another in a long line of PTO smash successes.* While Prez, Aaron “Brickyard” Coleman arrived fashionably late, his protégé and factotum, convicted arsonist Casey O’Brien, admirably filled in.* O’Brien wowed the many Area 55 Rookies who made the festivities with a demonstration of his* pyrotechnic skills, unveiling a newly-acquired blowtorch to fire up the logs for the fire-pit to provide needed warmth. *Hopefully his parole officer remains in the dark about his acquisition and usage of such criminal tools.
As usual, no one brought anything to eat to the PTO (or if they did, they were selfishly hoarding it just for themselves).* However, there was plenty of booze on hand and the missing comestibles were soon happily forgotten.
After everyone settled into to the friendly ambience that is always de rigueur at the PTO, yours truly was drafted (virtually unanimously!) to serve as this season’s Area 55 President.* Awed and humbled by democracy in action, I humbly bowed to the universal acclaim and eventually accepted the proffered position, albeit reluctantly. (What can I say, Pacero, I’m just more popular than you!) At any rate, vignettes from the election, the attendees drafting me to serve, and my memorable acceptance speech afterwards were all captured below through the magic of videotape:
As anyone familiar with Area 55 knows, our group is basically unstructured, leaderless, and impromptu.* Our Committees are no different.* They are all headed up by veteran sociopaths with solid anarchist credentials. Preliminarily (for Area 55, like many quantum particles, is fleeting and never permanent, always unstable, and seldom in the same place at any given point in time), *the breakdown of the various Committees is as follows:
The Charities / Promo Committee – Headed up by Barb Somes, Tony “Duke Dynamite” Laurenzana, Amy Greenway, and El Pacero (and anybody else that wants to participate or otherwise get involved), this one is a biggie with Roy.* It will be responsible for doing good stuff for the needy and demonstrating to the world that we are more than just demented hoodlums and dipsomaniacs. All of us, as members of Area 55, will be dragooned, as needed, to perform such works as Roy and this Committee have in mind for us.
The Video Committee – Headed up by Zack “Red Foster” Brown, Dave “Davey” Dearing, Kyle “Kielbeze” Brumbach, this one will memorialize events and, hopefully, come up with many clever and mirthful videos.* This is another of Roy’s expressed desires, as his road trips are long and he finds taped comic relief from us a proven antidote to airport ennui.* Those Rookies with ideas for clever or humorous vids, or who have acting skills, splicing acumen, or general production talent are encouraged to participate.* Check in with the vets and get your abilities (or lack thereof) showcased.
The Chants Committee –* This one’s going to be responsible for coming up with new and more imaginative chants.* Chris “Pacers Chants” Goff, Rob Greenway, Mike Huser, Gary “Vengeance” Sweeney and Rookies Martel Haskins and Bill Manlove will theoretically widen our chant repertoire, nettle the Pacer’s opposition, and come up with new stuff to keep our arena (I still have trouble calling it the Banker’s Life Fieldhouse) cooking.* It’s not all on Pacers Chants anymore.* Now he’ll get some help.* From now on, we will ALL get involved in formulating material and assisting this Committee in devising creative pre-game chants, signage, costuming, and assorted other fun weirdness.* Remember though, Roy sez references to opponents’ wives, girl friends, illegitimate children and arrests are all material that is off limits.* Also Sandy, our usherette, will put a stop to any serious profanity.* So, with these limitations in mind, put your thinking caps on and get creative.* If you have good ideas, or want to participate in this, contact all or any of the above-named persons.* Most ideas are emailed or tweeted to Rob Greenway, who will be posting them, prior to game-time, at the Area 55 Forum on *www.smitshappens.com.
Attendance and Enforcement Committee:** No more will we tolerate no-shows, as Roy has indicated that those not regularly using the tix he’s paid for will be promptly bounced out of Area 55 and replaced.* Consequently, Bryon “BPump” Pumphrey and his cohort Jon “Big Jon” Bennett will be keeping an eye on who shows up at the games and who doesn’t.* They’re also going to keep tabs on in-section and PTO behavior to an extent – just enough to ensure that no one is sniffing glue, shooting up, or is out-of-bounds inebriated in the course of the festivities.* Anyone going beyond the generally-accepted norms during games or at the PTO will face this Committee’s jurisdictional wrath!* Be forewarned.
Rookie Liaisson Committee: This is another Roy suggestion and is headed up by Area 55 MVP and Chant Leader Kyle “Kielbeze” Brumback.* Its purpose is to get the Rookies acquainted with the vets, get the newbies up to speed on what’s expected of them, and generally answer any questions Rookies may have about the Area 55 Experience.* As Rodney King once said, “Can’t We All Just Get Along?” Kielbeze and anyone else that wants to participate will see that we do.* He’s on Twitter under that name, so send him any questions you may have.* Actually most any Area 55 vet ought to be able to help anyone that needs direction, guidance, or whatever.
PTO Improvement Committee: The idea with this one is to make the Pacers Tailgating Organization (“PTO”) pre-game experience slightly more pleasant.* The main idea is to improve the food a bit or, better said, make sure we have some.* As we head into the Indiana winter, improving things like warmth, food, booze, and the availability of soft drinks, should probably be a consideration.* Hence, PTO Prez Aaron “Brickyard” Coleman, PTO VP and General Manager Casey O’Brien will work with Jess Roberts and the Area 55 women to upgrade some of these areas.* Ideally, we’ll have some brats, some beverages, and some warmth at the PTOs during the Indiana winter. *Our ladies are being given a blank check here.* If we have to throw in some bucks occasionally to keep the masses fed, that’s what we’ll do!* All and any wishing to participate, contact these people!* Bratwurst-less in January is a bad way to be.* A woman’s touch (or lots of them) here would be welcome!
Writers! Those of you who are unemployed former English or Journalism majors need to contact Brian “SlickSmits” Huser, Zack “Red Foster” Brown, and/or Dave “Davey” Dearing to start contributing to the www.slicksmits website they have created.* They’ve recently unveiled a podcast, which I urge all to hear, as it’s pretty entertaining.
Also anyone that might want to help me with this sorry pre-game Area 55 Bulletin is welcome to contact me.* Those of you that can actually speak or write in complete sentences may wish to get involved!
But enough of this organizational drivel!* Remember the PTO will be meeting in one of the parking lots across from Arby’s on South Street prior to game-time on Friday (Game time being 7:00 P.M).* Normally the throngs start assembling at around 5:00 or 5:30 P.M.* Rookies are encouraged to attend and hob-knob with the vets, learning the ropes in the process.
Now let’s take a look at these upstart invaders from Cleveland
FUN FACTS ABOUT CLEVELAND!
First, an introductory video to acquaint you with the general basics of Cleveland:
And now, for still more interesting Cleveland factoids!
Factoid #1: The name of the town, “Cleveland,” was actually originally spelled “Cleaveland,” after one General Moses Cleaveland (his statute was in the above video), who founded the place in 1796. *The “a” in the city’s original name got dropped so that the whole thing could fit into a newspaper’s masthead. The abbreviation stuck and Cleaveland became Cleveland.* True story.
Imagine “Indianapolis” accidently becoming “Indianapoli” merely because some anonymous typesetter at the Star had a bad day.* That’s what happened to Cleveland.
Factoid #2: Cleveland native Arthur Garford is credited with inventing the padded bicycle seat in 1892. *Where would we be without padded bicycle seats?
Factoid #3: Another Clevelander, Clarence Crane, invented the Life Saver!* Crane originally set out to father a “summer candy,” a type of mint, something that would withstand the summer heat.(Back in the day, almost all mints were shipped over from Europe, were square in shape, and, I guess, kind of shaky eating in the summer). Anyway, Crane’s brainchild was the Life Saver breath mint, which at the time of its* creation only came in the flavor of peppermint.*These were originally called “Crane’s Peppermint Life Savers.”*The packaging he used claimed that the mints were “For That Stormy Breath” and were originally packed in cardboard tubes with an image on it of a sailor throwing a life preserver to a drowning young woman.*Life preservers had just been introduced around the same time as floatation devices – as all this stuff was happening just after the 1912*Titanic catastrophe.
Factoid #4: Cleveland’s river, the mighty Cuyahoga, has been known to catch fire. It has happened13 times since 1868!* The last conflagration occurred in 1969.
Factoid #5:* The most memorable Cleveland quote in recent memory is this:
“I’ve got a goal and that’s to bring a championship to Cleveland, and I won’t stop until I get it.” – LeBron James
What the Hell’s a Cavalier Anyway?* Glad you asked!* This is a Cavalier!
Cleveland’s expansion basketball team came to be “Cavaliers” in 1970, after a local newspaper ran a contest to pick a name.* It reportedly beat out around 11,000 other submissions.* Supposedly, “Cavaliers” was selected because “it represents a group of daring fearless men whose life pact was never surrender, no matter what the odds.”
This has carried over to one of Cleveland’s two mascots, “Sir Cleveland Cavalier” (or “Sir C.C.” for short), one of the goofiest looking things ever imposed on the citizens of a troubled city by a franchise’s marketing department.
According to Moondog’s Official Website, “famed Cleveland radio disc-jockey Alan Freed coined the phrase “Rock & Roll” and sparked a music explosion in the 1950’s. Freed* often referred to himself as the “Moondog” and his listeners as the “Moondoggers.”* The Cavaliers’ Moondog is dedicated to following in the spirit of the original. Alan Freed was innovative, fun-loving, passionate and controversial. Moondog promises to be the same.”
So now ya know!
But enough’s enough.* Be strong, Area 55 members.* Remember Fridays are traditionally supposed to be “Yellow-Outs”.* So don your lemony jerseys, prepare your voices for sustained harmonics, and get ready for these cross-dressing Moondoggers.* Our Pacers are on a roll.* Let’s help them stay that way.
My wife made arrangements to attend her "post-Christmas" family Christmas get-together out of state before she knew if/when the lockout would end.
But since I'm stuck in town with the dog over New Year's, I get to make my first appearance in Area 55 in her stead. She may let me sit in (OK, stand) with her for some games in Area 55 if I do a good job filling in! I look forward to the adventure that is Area 55.