Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas With Ricky

Cliff Note: To those who are new to my blog, Ricky is my brother who passed away this past March 4. He was one who had many challenges in life, due to a medical condition he inherited. Although Ricky had some developmental problems, he had a heart of gold.

As I have mentioned before, my brother Ricky was a sports fan. The reason he became a sports fan was because I was. Ricky worshiped the ground I walked on. I don't think I deserved such an honor.

Ricky and I went to several sporting events together and a couple of years in a row, I took him to the Richfield Coliseum to see the Cleveland Cavaliers as his Christmas present from me.

We had some good seats for these. The game in 1975, the Cavs were playing the New Orleans Jazz, not a great team, but their best player was "Pistol" Pete Maravich. Pete was chasing a loose ball out of bounds in front of the section where we were sitting. We were in the second row and he was close enough to hear us. Ricky said, "GO PETE." I was the one who usually behaved myself at these games(yeah right) and I looked Maravich straight in the eye and said "You hot dog!" If looks could kill, I would have never made it past 1975. Imagine that, I insulted one of the greatest basketball players of all time to his face. Needless to say, Ricky was telling me on our way home how I embarassed him.

The next year we went back to the Coliseum to see the Cavs play the Los Angeles Lakers. The game was on a Sunday afternoon and was originally going to be televised. We were able to get tickets two rows behind the basket for the unspeakable sum of *gasp* $12.50 per ticket. As we were waiting to get in, I told some people who were standing with us where we were sitting. He offered me $1000 if I kicked Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in his private area. I would probably just be getting out of prison now if I took him up on that.

The game was originally supposed to be televised, but CBS decided against that at the last minute, as the Cavs were off to a slow start. But I will tell you this was a good game. Ricky and I both got into the game and we were yelling and hooping it up when someone sitting near us told us that they paid good money for their tickets and they would appreciate it if we would not cheer as loud as we were. I don't think he appreciated us at all that afternoon.

Because of the fact this was to be the first nationwide telecast ever of the Cleveland Cavaliers, all fans were given a Cavs pennant upon entering. The seats looked like a sea of white towards the end of the game. The final score was Cavaliers 99-Lakers 98. The real loser that day was CBS.

Ricky and I would talk about that game often.

Cliff Note #2: I hope you enjoyed the story. It's one of my favorite gift giving memories.


Pat Jenkins said...

great sutff wixy!!!... claim to fame, calling out maravich, that ain't a bad story!!... (on a de note pretty awesome you got to watch him play in person!).... aaah the glory days of cavs hoops. randy "bingo" smith, world b. free, nate thurmand.. the good ole days!!

74WIXYgrad said...

A couple of corrections are in order. First it was Bobby "Bingo" Smith, and World B. Free would not be with the Cavs until sometime in the 80's. But we did get to see Jim Chones, Dick Snyder, and Austin Carr. The 1976-77 season the Cavs were a broken foot(Chones) short of the NBA Championship.

74WIXYgrad said...

When the Cavs played the Lakers, I got to see Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West, and Gail Goodrich all up close. So I was blessed with that. And I got to go to the Coliseum several times during the "Miracle in Richfield" season.

Busy Bee Suz said...

What a great memory!!! I bet it was a great day for Ricky too, but I have a feeling he could have been anywhere with you and had a good time.
take care,

HappyWifeHappyLife said...

I know this Christmas will be bittersweet without your brother around. Thank you for sharing this memory with us.

wzzp said...

Thanks for sharing the story WIXY. This was a wonderful read. I can just picture the two of you there having a blast! I miss the Coliseum.

Daisy said...

Sharing a love of sports is a great way to bond with someone, Cliff. That was a very nice story. My husband is surprising our two sons with a trip to see the Cavs play this week for Christmas. I'm sure they will have a great time just like you and your brother had. :)

Shellmo said...

Sports seems like one of the best bonding events for men - I bet your brother was the happiest guy in the world to be w/ his brother there!

Jen said...

You should be proud to hold such great memories of your brother.
It was a great gift that you gave him.

kathy said...

My favorite story of rick was when we first moved him in to Rittman. THe Nurse call here one after noon ans was very upset. When I got her calm so she could tell me the problem I agree to come down. Upon arriving at the nursing how I discovered Rick was popping wheel y with his wheel chair in the hall with another young man. they both thought it was way to funny and i didn't have the heart to stop them they were so funny. I did ask them to not do it any more but i almost wet my pants laughing at them. I really do miss rick a lot.

Michelle Dawn said...

What a great and wonderful memory to share.