Today’s the big day. No, I’m not talking about my mom’s cross-country flight to visit her favorite eldest daughter. I’m talking about the return of “The One Who Left” to Cleveland.
As you learned last post , my mom’s a huge Cavs fan. If you want to read a very insightful piece of (very long) journalistic genius about what it’s really like to be a Cleveland Sports Fan, you should read this article. Or short story. Novel, I dunno. Whatever you want to call it – I call it the best 30 minutes I spent reading non-work-related material at work.
I could go on for days about LBJ’s break up with Cleveland. But I won’t, because most of you probably don’t care. And if you do you’ve probably already heard what I have to say. It’s the same as every other true CLE fan’s : I don’t care that “He” is gone, I care about the way he left. Dead horse, still beating.
(To avoid confusion – I live in Orange County now but still whole-heartedly consider myself a Clevelander. So from here on out, by “We” I mean Cleveland + me, remotely)
Cleveland’s a proud town. We don’t really have much to be proud of – we haven’t won a championship in any sport since 1964, and are probably best known for our river catching fire (twice). So maybe we’re just proud of our pride? Proud of what we once were/could have been/might be someday? No one’s sure really. Well, somebody probably is, but I’m not. I was raised to ♥ CLE, so I do. And I will, probably forever. (minus the ‘probably’)
That’s the thing about small town midwest – you’re raised a certain way and that’s how you stay. Mostly because disobeying your parents’ fandom would get you banished from the family. Other than that, you just don’t know anything different exists outside your tiny little bubble. Your parents were Browns fans, so you’re a Browns fan, even though you look terrible in orange. You were programmed in the womb to boo anything that doesn’t come with a “Cleveland” stamp.
We’re ingrained with the blue collar, stand-up-and-fight, midwest mentality. When somebody spends seven years “devoting” themself to bringing the fans the one thing they long for most – (except maybe the cure to cancer or ability to teleport) – and then hastily leaving after coming up just short (twice), whatever. Leave then, you coward. You’re not “The Chosen One” you so proudly claimed to be, and we don’t need you as our “King”. Be gone. Moving on.
Every day of “His” final contract season we heard “Him” dispelling free agency rumors, reinstating his love for the city that’s done so much for him, and promising his fans greatness. We were confident. Of course he’ll stay. He told us he would.
Apparently with that Cleveland pride comes a bit of naivety.
Fresh off a 5-game elimination to Boston in the semi-finals (and yet another CLE heartbreak), we had Free Agency to finally deal with. ‘But remember guys, he said he was going to stay! All season, he’s told us he’s not going anywhere.’
When “He” announced his plans to announce his decision during a one-hour special on ESPN, Cleveland breathed a sigh of relief. The rumors of him joining Wade and Bosh in Miami had everybody nervous – but really, he wouldn’t go on national television to break up with the city that raised him, loyally cheered for him, and watched him grow from Rookie of the Year to league MVP, would he?
On Twitter today, Erin Andrews (an ESPN sportscaster and Dancing With The Stars contestant I previously admired) had this to say :
could care less abt Cavs gm. i’m supporting that no 1 shld have to get nasty racist comments & threats @ work..its ok to boo, leave it there about 2 hours ago via web Retweeted by 100 people
To which I had this to say (not that she read it, but I wanted y’all to) :
what if you publicly quit and pissed on all the desks on your way out after promising big payouts to your employees…? about 2 hours ago via in reply to ErinAndrews
I’m a student of the 100%-responsibility-for-your-actions way of thinking. You do something asshole-ish? You deserve to be treated as such. You want to publicly humiliate the city that unconditionally supported you and believed in you, and to leave for greener pastures (literally, it’s snowing in Cleveland) and a “better chance” at a championship (you know, the one you were never able to bring us?) ? Don’t expect to be treated like a gentleman when you finally return with your all star team and swanky new Miami Vice digs.
I sincerely hope my fellow fans out there in O-H-I-O will be reasonable in their welcoming party – Lord knows that river is due for another blaze – but I do hope that “The One Who Left” will get his just desserts. And that everybody in town drinks a Great Lakes “Quitness Ale” for me.
Oh yeah, I said I wasn’t going to get into it, didn’t I? Is anybody still reading? You’re an LBJ hater, aren’t you? Well then, bless your heart. And Go Cavs!