20
Jun
16

The Championship.

​And just like that… Life as a Cleveland sports fan has forever changed. After 52 years of heartbreak and tragedy given ominous one word monikers: The Drive, The Shot, The Fumble, the Decision, we can now add the long awaited, THE CHAMPIONSHIP! It may be difficult to understand what this means to the city of Cleveland, but I’m going to attempt to put it into words. 

As Clevelanders, we work hard, play hard and feel even harder. We’ve been conditioned to believe that we are somehow cursed or jinxed. Why are sports that important, you may ask? Personally, I can testify to the fact that sports have gotten me through some of the darkest points of my life. It can be such a welcome distraction when things aren’t going your way. It builds bonds between parents and their children, friends, colleagues and even strangers. It brings people together who may otherwise have no commonalities. Our sports teams are conversation starters… Good or bad. We love our teams. This intense love has provided us with some pretty crushing blows over the years. When you love that deeply, you’re bound to get hurt. 

In 1997, when the Indians lost the World Series in 11 innings, I felt like something horrible was done to me personally. I’m not sure it gets more personal than boxing up the championship tees that nobody inside the US would ever see. I distinctly remember the sound of the tape dispenser. It sounded like it was mocking me, “not this time, Cleveland. Not this time.” Real despair is crying into a box of “almost champions” tees. The salt of my tears was likely FedEx’d to a third world country along with Chad Ogea’s hopes and dreams. He would have been World Series MVP. Poor SOB. 

Our disappointment is legendary. I’ll freely admit that the closer we came to this championship, the more afraid I became. Sweet Jesus, what was going to go wrong this time? Is tragedy lurking around the corner? What would they call said tragedy? I tried to keep a positive attitude, but as someone who’s all too mindful of the past hurt, it was easier said than done. Part of me expected the Cavs to lose at the buzzer in game 7, on a shot made by former Cavalier fan favorite, Anderson Varejao. 
Then, something amazing happened… We didn’t! LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers delivered the first championship that a lot of us have experienced in our lifetimes. I can only speak for myself, but I had no idea what I was supposed to do. The emotions hit me fast and hard as I cried genuine tears of joy. I hugged a metric shit ton of strangers and high fived until my high fiving hand hurt. I high fived at least two babies and a police horse, if memory serves me correctly. There was no divide between race, age or gender. We all came together as one to celebrate our city. I’m hoping there’s no video circulating of the spontaneous street dance-off I may have been involved in. I did not win, for the record. 

I looked on in disbelief as my city exhibited the purest level of joy I’ve ever witnessed. I realize there’s no handbook for championship celebration, but I did learn that there are a couple of things that must just be natural reaction because it seemed fairly widespread. 1) Men take their shirts off at night for no apparent reason. It certainly wasn’t to showcase their physiques. Championships make pesky shirts seem like a bad idea, apparently. 2) People exhibit an extreme disregard for vehicular safety. It seems that championship rides are executed outside of the vehicle. If you’re not sitting on top of a moving car, you damn sure better be hanging out the window. Thankfully, there is an unspoken “Click it or ticket” exemption when you are the champions of the world. 3) It’s required that you sing Queen’s “We are the Champions” and sway in unison with sweaty, beer soaked strangers. 

Now, that I know all of this, I’m much more prepared for the next Cleveland Championship. The Indians are in first place, you know! Also, if ESPN is listening, I think we’re ready to film the next 30 for 30 documentary. Picture this… “Believeland 2, The Musical” 

Party on, Cleveland! 

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About the Broad

A humorous look at dating in your mid-thirties and the other hilarious things that happen around us on a daily basis.

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