Even though the Indians won handily last night, an 8-2 victory that featured Jake Westbrook pitching well and two (TWO!) homers by Russell “The Muscle” Branyan, my thoughts are far away from Kansas City right now, and are probably on a plane heading towards Boston.
Yes, I’m referring to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who were blown out by the Boston Celtics. At home. With the series tied at 2, in arguably the most important game in franchise history. Biggest game in franchise history = worst playoff loss in franchise history.
While this is not a basketball blog, I do feel that DLF is a Cleveland blog at heart, and that’s why I’m waxing poetic about this.
I also recall the last time I felt I had to write about my hometown, when I was the Arts and Life editor for The Independent Collegian at the University of Toledo. I wrote a column about the Indians 2007 playoff collapse, and more importantly, Cleveland being a city of survivors. It was cheesy, yet heartfelt. I honestly wrote it more for myself, to give myself closure on the season, and ultimately, the window of contention the Indians had. It got a great response from all the Clevelanders in Toledo.
As I woke up this afternoon, I found myself trying to avoid closure, because I don’t want the LeBron James era to end in Cleveland.
And I find myself fighting the Cleveland mentality – that nothing ever goes Cleveland’s way, Cleveland is a bunch of losers, Cleveland has no class, etc.
A quick note to all the haters who didn’t like how Cavs fans booed their team last night: you would have booed too. That was terrible basketball, from LeBron down. I’ve never been one to say that you can’t boo the home team if the home team is deserving of it. Heck, I booed CC Sabathia in Game 5 of the ALCS when he left with a 7-1 deficit. It’s our right as paying fans to boo.
But it’s not right for fans to always feel like the losers. And right now it sure seems like that.
So what can a Cleveland fan do, in the face of all this losing? The only think we can do: hope. Yeah, it’s not tangible, but hope can keep you going, and that’s what Cleveland fans need to do: they need to keep going. Keep fighting, not just in sports but in life. You never know what is going to happen.
I can’t sit here and tell you the Cavs are going to win Games 6 and 7, make everything better, and win a championship. I don’t know that. What I can tell you is that while the Indians may suck right now, they will be relevant again, probably sooner than you think. I know, that’s coming out of deep left field (get it?) but it’s the truth. There is always hope, and while I can’t sit back and look at my trophy case full of hope, I can tell you when a Cleveland team finally wins it all, be it the Cavs, Browns or (god willing) the Indians, the victory will be that much sweeter due to all the tears we’ve shed.
Cleveland has been here before, and probably will again. So I’d like to end this self-serving post with how I ended my column in Toledo:
No matter what it’s dealing with, Cleveland is always the underdog. No matter how many times this city is beaten down, it always gets up and comes roaring back for more. Call us stupid for that, but you cannot call us weak.
This city has never given up hope, and that’s an admirable quality.
Call us losers. Call us trash. Call us whatever you want. We’ve heard it all before. It stings, but we get over it. We’re tough.
I love my city, and I’m so proud to call it my home. The Indians, Cavaliers and yes, even the Browns reaffirm my love for this city, and instill pride for my hometown in me.
I’m from Cleveland. We’re survivors