We in Cleveland are a unique group.
We don’t have the beautiful beaches (Although Lake Erie can sure get interesting) like Miami or the great night life like New York City.
We don’t have much, but what we do have is our sports teams.
The issue with that? Our sports teams haven’t had national success in 50 years.
We’ve had glimpses of success and chances at glory many a times, only to have our hopes and dreams once again shot down cruelly every single time.
The Indians go from riding high in the 2013 MLB Season, winning the AL Wildcard and ending the year on an unprecedented 10 game winning streak to end the season, to a 4-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Or in 07′ when the Indians got off to a 3-1 Series lead over the Red Sox in the ALCS, and went on to lose their next 3 games and the series (Ironically, to Tito Francona’s Red Sox). The Red Sox went on to sweep the Rockies. Many, many people agreed if the Indians would’ve won, they as well would’ve went on to win the World Series.
Then in that same year, where the Cavs had finally got over the hump in ’07. The 2nd seed Cavs breezed through the first and second rounds and met one of the teams that had given them a lot of trouble before in the ECF in the Pistons. They ended up getting past them in the series 4-2, only to advance to the Finals and get swept by the Spurs.
We all know the examples of “Red Right 88″( Divisional Playoff game vs Raiders where Brian Sipe was picked off attempting to force a pass to TE Ozzie Newsome) , “The Drive” (Loss to the Broncos in the AFC Championship where John Elway had a game-tying drive that sent the game to OT, and eventually a Broncos win and Super Bowl berth), “The Fumble” (Yet another loss to the Broncos in the AFC Championship where Ernest Byner fumbled on the 2 yard line attempting to score, and the Broncos again advanced to the Super Bowl). These are the most painful examples among many, many examples with the Browns.
All this can be summed up overall with the statement that no Cleveland sports team has won a championship in 50 years, and each time we have come close we get shot down before we get to hold the trophy overall.
So why in the world do we continue to be fans?
Why do we continue to root for teams where heartbreak is almost a given and disasters practically nest?
We do it because of who we are.
Cleveland is not the most happening place, but it’s still the greatest city in the world to many of us (Including myself). It’s a city built on the value of hard work and never giving up.
We root for our teams because of the hope they bring the city.
Throughout all the heartbreak and throughout all of the pain and suffering, there is hope. Hope that drives us to near die-hard dedication of our teams. Hope that allows us to envision the championship that we so crave. Allows us to envision the parade following a Cavs, Indians, or even Browns championship as the confetti flies everywhere.
Is this hope foolish?
Perhaps a tad bit, yet that hope drives us. It’s all we have, and we embrace it. Perhaps even on a level that we shouldn’t embrace, yet we do. We do because our dedication, desire, and all around love of this city and its teams are unmatched.
We’ll be on top soon, Cleveland. The suffering may continue until then, but once the glory comes. It will be ever sweeter.