Friday, June 17, 2016

Kevin Love Hasn't Failed Cleveland, Cleveland is Failing Kevin Love

Dear Selective Cavs Fans,

I’m a married, suburb-living, finance professional mother of two.  I’m not, nor was I ever, a professional basketball player.  I have not devoted my life to sports journalism. 

I might not be able to tell an illegal screen from a pick and roll, but my high school statistician days taught me the importance of assists, rebounds, blocks and steals.  And while I will never understand the need for a professional “flop”, I do recognize that getting a “traveling” call in the NBA is about as elusive as a Sasquatch siting. And I am a Kevin Love fan.  Not Banana Republic’s Kevin Love (though he looks sweet), but the Cavalier’s starting lineup Kevin Love.

My friends know I’m a Love fan.  I do not require my friends to be Love fans.  My co-workers, casual acquaintances, third-cousin twice removed and the dude that was in the parking lot that one day know I am a Love fan.  I have never required reciprocal adoration.

(And okay, I may have shared a tasteful semi-nude Sports Illustrated photo on my Facebook page. But damnit, he worked hard for that body.)

This week, though – a week I want desperately to be celebrating – I cannot shake the feeling that my kid is being bullied.  And not by the loser that everyone decides to ignore because they will never amount to anything.  But by some of the people that should care about his success the most.  People that claim to be “All In”. 

And before you go saying I’m just some overprotective helicopter mom, throwing the b-word around, get ahold of yourself.  It’s a metaphor. 

He’s had bad games.  He’s fallen.  And as a man, I’m sure a little tough love from teammates and coaches does him some good. It’s okay to acknowledge poor performance. I cannot begin to know what motivates him.  Because I have never actually met him before in my life.  The closest I have been is five rows behind the bench – potentially violating my restraining order. 

But here’s what I know about humans.  No matter how hard we try to ignore criticism.  No matter how many times we say we “don’t read the comment section”. It creeps in.  If you say it doesn’t, you’re a liar.

So here’s another metaphor for you.
All year you’ve been there – putting in the time, adding value to the project.  Switching it up between taking chances and playing it safe.  Covering for your colleagues if they need to work through some stuff.  And maybe you had to call in sick a few times.  But then you made up for it by working extra hard and coming alive in game 6 of the Eastern Conference Championship with 12 rebounds and 20 points (hypothetical example).

And then.  THEN.  In your end-of-year performance review, which happens to coincide just before the day of the biggest presentation of your life, the consultants came in and got to rate you.  You know.  The Bobs. The guys that don't see anything but the most recent bar graph and pie chart. And the only thing they noticed was that you called in sick a couple times.  And because you work with at least two of the most amazing people in your industry, not to mention a few other equally hard-working people that covered for you while you were struggling, you are told that you no longer meet expectations.  In fact, they're not sure there is even room for you on the project. 

You know what you would say?  You would say, “Suck it, Bobs!”  And you would be right.  Because that is horseshit. 

You know what Love is saying?  Nothing. He’s accepting your horseshit because he knows that even if we win.  Even if we blow them out of the water.  If he doesn’t play the best god damn game of his life (maybe even if he does), it won’t be good enough for you. That’s where you…you awesome Cavs “fans”…you know who you are…you start Go Fund Me campaigns, rip apart hype paraphernalia, and show up with your hilarious trash cans…that’s where you have failed him.

Mrs. Love
(Kevin’s Mother)
P.S. I’m not really Kevin’s mom.