Clickity-Clacks

huffy-logo

It was bound to happen one day. He knew he’d get old, he just thought it would take a little longer. The time just went by too goddamn fast and he was on the wrong side of the hill. Nothing ran quite as smoothly as it used to, the gears would slip occasionally, the seat would settle, the clickity-clacks wouldn’t click or clack much anymore, the tires were worn with a racing stripe down the center and the paint just didn’t sparkle in the sunshine like it once did. Huff knew he was slipping. He could feel it deep inside, the knowledge was still there and the memories of being able to pull off impossible feats lingered, but it was a young bike’s game and he was no longer a young bike.

Huff, the teal colored Huffy with worn white tires was depressed. When everyone was asleep he would sneak out of the garage and attempt wheelies and bunny hops and sliding stops that just wouldn’t stick like they used to, but every night he was out there, giving it his all. It didn’t help that the neighbor kid got a new bright yellow Schwinn that made him look and feel even older. That Schwinn would meet old Huff out at night once or twice a week and hot dog circles around him, making it all look so easy. Huff remembered those days and that was why he was out there every night putting in work.

“Hey old timer,” the Schwinn said one night, confident going on arrogant.

“Hey Schwinn.”

“Why are you out here every night?” he said, popping a wheelie. “What’s the point? You’re old.”

“I feel lucky that I made it this long and I’m not ready to put my kick stand down for good just yet.” Huff, always serious, always honest.

“Whatever dude.”

“You’ll understand some day,” Huff said, although Schwinn couldn’t hear him as he flew down the street at top speed.

The next night Huff was back out there, riding out a wheelie that lasted longer than they usually did these days, when he heard a tire screech and the sound of a chain slipping off it’s gears, a sound no bicycle wanted to hear. As Huff turned the corner he saw Schwinn barreling down a hill towards him, out of control and scared.

“Help Huff.”

“I’m coming,” Huff said, turning down the hill in front of Schwinn.

Schwinn was gaining fast, but Huff was pushing as hard as he could, gears warming, tires wobbling, clickity-clacks sticking to the edges of the rims. Schwinn was pulling even with him as they reached the bottom of the hill where a sharp turn awaited them. Huff stuck his tire into the front of the frame of Schwinn, pushing him gently into the turn.

“Ahh,” Schwinn yelled as he gained control of himself and made the turn, just missing the curb. He felt relief as he took a sweeping turn back toward the bottom of the hill when he saw Huff on the ground. Huff had saved Schwinn from certain danger, but couldn’t save himself from the large oak tree at the foot of the hill.

“Why? Why did you save me?” Schwinn asked, pulling up to Huff.

“You’ve got your whole life ahead of you kid,” Huff coughed out.

“You’re a hero.”

“Not a hero, just an old bike.”

And with that, Huff grew silent. Schwinn looked down at the bruised and broken bike at his tires for a long while before pulling up his kick stand and lying down beside him.

When he awoke hours later his boy was pushing him back to his home in the garage and away from the scene. He knew he wouldn’t see old Huff again, but he wouldn’t forget any time soon as the sound of a solitary clickity-clack played the sound track to an otherwise quiet glide home.

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The Mascot

mas·cot
ˈmasˌkät,ˈmasˌkət/
noun
  1. a person or thing that is supposed to bring good luck or that is used to symbolize a particular event or organization.

There were rumblings, Jerry always eventually heard the rumblings. “There’s this new kid, best damn mascot I ever seen.” Jerry had heard it before, but no one had ever lived up to the hype. Since he dawned the horns, there wasn’t one mascot that deserved to hold his jock, let alone carry on the tradition that he had helped forge. But this time the talk was a little more consistent. People were going to the games to see the show, not just the game. The people around Scarborough were saying this kid could be the best. The best since me, Jerry thought, but would never say aloud.

He made it to the hometown games most of the time, but it was basketball season and work was holding him up more often than usual. Work or no work, he decided, I have to see what this kid is all about. He looked at his calendar, there was a home game on Friday. And nothing too big with work. He would make that game.

By Friday afternoon everyone around the office was beginning to ease into the weekend, asking about plans, bragging about plans, deciding on the bar to go to after work. He could just drift off, say a few goodbyes, decline the invite to the bar and be home in time to change before heading to the game.

The gym still smelled the same, even after all these years, Jerry remembered every time he made his way to his seat. It was the only time the thought ever crossed his mind. He still bought season tickets to everything, wanting to support the home town team and his alma mater, but this was his first game of the year. A few familiar faces said hey to him, even his old high school buddy Zeke gave him a high five on his way by. It still felt like home. It probably always would. The best of days, Jerry thought, settling into his seat. His glory days danced through his head, moments set in infamy, before the scene went dark and the crowd grew quiet in anticipation.

Great, introductions, Jerry thought. Saying names loud didn’t make things any more poignant, he continued thinking. And then the music began. Duh-duh duh-duh. It wasn’t a familiar song to Jerry, probably something the football kids worked out to, but it was catchy. The spotlight shined down to center court where his old suit hung on a kid, maybe a little too small to wear it, but the crowd exploded. He’d never seen a crowd go crazy like that for a mascot before, not even when he was doing the worm the entire way across the court. He could feel the hair stand up on the back of his neck. He hadn’t realized it before, but he was nervous. Clammy hands, goosebumps, unsure of how to fold his arms.

The kid let the anticipation reach the pinnacle before beginning, not a moment too soon or too late. That was a good start. And then, he put on a show. The choreography was succinct, the moves in rhythm to the music, the dance had begun. He toyed with the crowd, flirting for a moment before a turn away. Jerry found himself leaning forward, edging to the end of the bleacher seat, pushing his Longhorn seat pad to the ground. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. This kid. This kid was as good as he was. Jerry, the greatest mascot Scarborough High had ever seen. People in the town even referred to him that way. This kid was stealing his title and he was helpless. Here he was, watching this new kid take it to a level he never could and he couldn’t turn away. The kid was better. He never thought he’d think that, never thought he’d see what he was seeing in front of him. It wasn’t old school versus new school, the kid was better. The best ever.

The crowd held its collective breath for a moment as the music stopped, the mascot sprawled on the logo with a spotlight holding tight on him. Before he knew what he was doing Jerry was on his feet, screaming “Yeah!”, leading the charge as the lights came up to normal and the sound of basketballs dribbling took over the gym. Jerry watched the mascot head off to the sidelines, high-fiving a couple players on his way off the court. His cheers settled into a smile, a tear streaked his cheek. He sat back down, more than happy that he got to see that at least once in his life. That kid, Jerry thought, that kid, my god, he has no idea. These are the best days of his life. It never really gets better than this. And Jerry really believed that.

The Night the Cavs Won a Title

Cleveland Cavaliers

I’m going to make an aberration. Usually I try to keep things light, fictional and comedy based, but I’m from northeast Ohio and I’m a sports fan and the Cleveland Cavaliers just won the NBA Finals and I can’t help but be really, really happy. So I’m writing about the Cavs tonight. Hopefully for you non-sports fans it will still be somewhat entertaining.

I have been a Cavs fans since the Mark Price era and I was one of the few that pulled against Michael Jordan and the Bulls because they always seemed to pull up with a key shot to beat us. The shot Jordan made over Craig Ehlo was like a curse resting over Cavs lore, Cleveland lore for that matter, for years. It was something that seemingly couldn’t be erased, it epitomized Cleveland sports, until now.

Cleveland fans no longer have to remember the fumble, or the shot, or the drive, or the Marlins because we now have a championship. Bill Simmons, the former ESPN and current HBO sports journalist has long since said that God hates Cleveland because of the seeming curse of Cleveland sports. That’s over now. The owner of the Cavs, Dan Gilbert, said during the celebration that God loves Cleveland and I can’t help but agree with him. Call me a homer, but damn it feels good to be on the winning side.

Lebron James came back to The Land to bring a championship home and he did it. He put up epic performances in the series that will go down in history. He helped carry the Cavs over a historic Golden State team in a way not many players can. Kyrie Irving played incredibly well, hitting probably the most important shot of the entire series. The much maligned Kevin Love grabbed offensive rebounds, Tristan Thompson battled in the paint, JR Smith hit some big 3’s, Iman Shumpert drained an and 1 three, Richard Jefferson battled hard, Mo Williams, Delly, Channing Frye, even Dahntay Jones and Timofey Mozgov. That team brought a championship to Cleveland and we will be forever grateful that they did.

As a Cavs fan I am extremely happy for myself and other Cleveland fans. We have been waiting for so long and we finally get to celebrate the way we’ve watched so many others celebrate for the last 52 years. We’re finally on top. We are Believeland! Go Cavs!