This post and the several that follow are a retelling of my experience on my first ever road trip. The trip started in Newark, NJ, went through Pittsburgh, stopped in Cleveland, continued on to Indianapolis, landed in Saint Louis, and the final stop was in Nashville. Along the way, I would see 5 games in 5 days with a grand total of 7 games in 8 days and travel about 2,100 miles by car. Yes, it was as crazy as it sounds. But, to me, it was the perfect way to end 2016 and kick off 2017.
The Land. LeBron’s house. Believeland. Whatever you want to call it, I loved it here.
After the game in Pittsburgh, I continued on to Cleveland where I would spend 2 nights. I got to Cleveland pretty late, so my first night was more just to be able to wake up and not have to drive. After a very long day of travel, I was excited to just have a bed to sleep in.
I stayed at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel located in Tower City Center. I couldn’t get enough of the view of their Christmas park right outside my window and the ornate decorations throughout the hotel. There was even a light snowfall that amped up the holiday charm. Again, traveling around the holidays definitely has its perks.
Cleveland has had an impressive year in terms of sports. The Indians were in the World Series and the Cavs just won the NBA title. So, sports travel in Cleveland is pretty big right now. One of the best parts about staying at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel was that I didn’t have to walk outside in order to get to Quicken Loans Arena. I felt like I was on that episode of Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia when I found the secret tunnel connected to Citizens Bank Park. Except, this one isn’t really a secret. Still, given the cold and windy weather it was nice to be able to walk to the game without the worry of carrying a jacket around.
I got the game as soon as the doors opened. Much to my surprise, they had one of the best free giveaways I’ve seen: a Cavalier’s 2016 NBA Champions fleece blanket. Definitely started off on a high note at The Q. Much like in Pittsburgh, the Cavs arena had a party-like atmosphere. However, I would say it was a little more-so in Cleveland (free fleece blanket giveaways will do that). It was their last home game in 2016, and 2016 was good to them. It certainly felt like they were still celebrating their title.
One of the more noteable moments during this trip also happened in Cleveland when I proceeded to rip my pants about an hour and a half before tipoff. Right in the crotch. After searching the jam packed team store for some possible pants, I opted to just risk it for the rest of the night. There was no way I was letting this incident get me down. Which let this be a lesson in travel: bad things will happen. It is all how you handle them.
It had been a while since I had been to an NBA game, and I forgot just how fun live basketball games are. The pre-game video and hype is 100% over the top in the most epic way possible. The MC was amped and knew how to get the crowd fired up. And, if he couldn’t – the actual fire surely helped.
This team is a winner, and the fans show up to these home games to let them know how much the love and appreciate that.