Taleb: What the Cavaliers win really means for Cleveland and the world

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The buzz really started at one minute and nine seconds, after the score was locked 89 – 89. There was this calm sense, at least in the Quicken Loans Arena, that anything could happen in the next minute that would mark Cleveland history. Either we would lose, or we would win. And, oddly, even with the tight creases on fans’ stressed faces, nobody seemed to lose hope. Across the nation, there may have been scatters of doubt about the Cleveland Cavaliers beating the Golden State Warriors, but not in here. In here, the fans seemed to acknowledge that anything good could happen.

In here, everyone was on their feet.

At 54.8 seconds, Kyrie Irving’s body launched off the ground, and he scored the golden three-pointer.

And we screamed.

We screamed. We screamed, and we jumped, our feet reaching higher than our seats. We screamed, and we cried. We screamed, an action that would make us lose our voices for the rest of the week, but nobody seemed to care.

For the next 40 seconds, the Cavs played like they were walking on ice. Any wrong move, any senseless foul, and the game wouldn’t be ours.

Jump to 6.5 seconds left on the clock, and anything could happen. The crowd settled.

In front of me, a man raised his arms as if to shield his eyes from the screen.

Approximately 20,000 open mouths and tense bodies existed in the arena alone. 40,000 eyes on the screen, 40,000 shaking feet rooted on the floor. And outside the arena, more fans waited to see if we were going to celebrate tonight. Outside the city, thousands more waited to see if Cleveland would make history.

6.5 seconds. Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors got the ball and shot – missed.

There was not even a pause, not one moment of hesitation. Curry missed and then Kevin Love ran to LeBron James and embraced him and then the Cavaliers were jumping up and down and a rush hit all of us.

Oh my God. We won.

For the rest of the night, I did not see one frowning face. Tonight we were Clevelanders. Tonight we were winners. Tonight we were home.

Clevelanders walked through the street giving each other high-fives. Tomorrow morning, the radio would play Queen’s “We Are The Champions” more times than we can count. This whole week and forever, songs like “We Will Rock You” would be our theme song. But tonight, the crowd chanted, “Cleve-land, Clev-land, Cleve-land” and “C-L-E, C-L-E, C-L-E.”

For the rest of the week, my parents would replay the whole game and the last four minutes over and over again. It occurred to me then that the world is all about sensations. Love, hope, fear, excitement. We’re human, and we want to feel. And the night Cleveland won was a night we had all types of feels, the best feels in the world.

I once heard that it takes just one second for your whole world to change. The Cleveland Cavaliers winning meant more than Clevelanders walking with pride; it meant more than the high-fives and the celebrations. It meant that, even with all the possibilities of bad in the world, anything good can happen too. Even against all odds, anything good is possible too.

Congrats, Cleveland. It’s about time.

Nardine Taleb is a third-year student who writes when the feels overcome her.