Posted: June 14, 2016, 11:25pm
“In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have. I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home.”
I had waited so long to hear these words. Every morning I would wake up, check the news on Lebron’s free agency. I was scared to even dream. My dad and I would talk about it every day that week. Then, on July 11, 2014 Lebron shocked the world, shocked the NBA, and certainly shocked the entire city of Cleveland by announcing his return to his hometown, my pride and joy: the tiny-but-mighty, the we-love-to-hate-it, the at-least-we’re-not-Detroit, greatest disappointment of a city, our city, *my* city: Cleveland.
For a city that’s not known for… well, anything.. the impact of Lebron’s return to Cleveland simply cannot be overstated. It gave the city something to celebrate again. Sure, we hated the fact that he left. We burned our number 23 jerseys and never spoke his name in public for a few long years. But now he’s back where he belongs. And he did the unthinkable: he brought us to the first Finals game wins in franchise history. That’s right: not only had Cleveland never won a Finals Championship, it had never even won a single game in the finals (having been swept by the Spurs during their only appearance).
Ohio against the world
There’s a wikipedia page called “Cleveland Sports Disappointments.” This page chronicles the lack of achievement in Cleveland history. More than that, it chronicles the heartbreakingly devastating events that beat Cleveland into the legendary status of sports infamy. To get a proper understanding of what a Cavs appearance in the Finals means to a Clevelander, we can take a look into the hype video released for the series. The video takes us through highlights of the Browns, the Indians, and the Cavs. This is a *basketball* hype video that mostly focuses on football highlights. What?
That’s how this city understands loyalty to its teams. A win for the Cavs is a win for the city. We don’t want your bandwagonners here.
Do you remember that epic shot that Michael Jordan takes flying to the side from beyond the three point line in the first round of the playoffs in 1989 where he goes on toward greatness? This is considered one of Jordan’s all time clutch moments. Remember who the opposing team was? The Cavs.
Jose Mesa. No Clevelander will forget his name. He blew a save in the 9th inning of game 7 of the World Series in 1997 for the Cleveland Indians. So close. So far.
The Cleveland Browns have so many disappointments I’m not sure which ones to list. They even have names. The Fumble. The Drive. But most of all, I might mention the fact that the team left. They were moved to Baltimore (remember, the 2000 and 2012 Super Bowl Champions – only five years after the move). And after we started a new expansion team, Cleveland set an NFL record by starting 24 quarterbacks in the next 15 seasons. Somehow, I don’t think the quarterback is the problem, Cleveland.
I hate to love it
My fair city, I don’t live there anymore. I love you, I hate you, I love to hate you. But I’ll never leave you. All that to say: you know what I’ll be doing this week: watching the game.