A Father’s Day Confession About Cleveland

I can’t tell if you if it is coincidence or something more, but as I started to write this Death and Transfiguration from the Hancock soundtrack started playing on iTunes.

Can’t tell you if there is meaning in a clip from a different sort of love story being part of the soundtrack of this particular post, I can only share a few thoughts.

I am guilty of having made fun of Cleveland and Ohio in general for years. Ask me if I have teased people about the sports teams and I’ll raise my hand.

Ask me if I have made cracks about gray skies and burning rivers and I’ll raise my hand again.

Guilty as charged.

Ask me why and you probably won’t like or appreciate my answers because I haven’t ever been to Cleveland.

Been to Columbus and driven through Ohio but never made it to Cleveland.

sparksonlove

Decades ago I was challenged by someone and I did what I always do when challenged, I challenged them back.

And somewhere in the push-pull nature of it all I discovered that teasing them about their hometown worked.

Of course I took plenty of abuse about my own but I was pretty good about keeping a straight face and though there were and are plenty of things to rag on LA about, it was easy to point out two things about their city.

The river had burst into flames and the sports teams hadn’t won in so long only the older people remembered when they had a champion to brag about.

Well that changed on this Father’s Day, here in June 2016.

LeBron James gets credit for pushing and willing the Cavaliers into a record breaking comeback and I have to confess that after years of not appreciating the guy I do now.

A Father’s Day Confession About Cleveland

I had good reasons for that. I never thought he was as good as they made him out to be and when he couldn’t win during his first run with the Cavaliers he left town.

He went to Miami and teamed up with another superstar and some good players and he finally won a couple of championships.

But I disliked how he did it and saw his needing to form his own team as proof that he was overrated.

By the time he came back to Cleveland I was convinced that he was a big baby, an over indulged superstar athlete who didn’t appreciate how his special talent enabled him to live an entitled life.

And I sure didn’t believe they would win a championship because the Eastern conference wasn’t nearly as strong as the West and he didn’t have his special teammates anymore.

Well, I was wrong about much of it.

I still don’t think the Eastern Conference is as tough to get through as the Western but if you win the championship the question is moot.

I was wrong about his ability too, he is better than I thought he was. No, I won’t call him the greatest of all time but he has to be in the top five and without some careful thought I don’t know where I would put him in that list.

evolution

Somewhere around 2008 or 2009 I listened to a friend rave about their trip to Cleveland. They told me the city was nothing like they had expected it to be.

They raved about it and then a short time later my parents spent a few days there and told me about how much they enjoyed it so I added it to the list of places I have to go visit.

I can’t tell you when I’ll get there, can’t say how soon but I will go and I will make my way around town and see the sights.

The funny thing about it all is I expect there are some people who would be shocked to hear that and some who might question it all.

That is ok with me, I get it.

It is fun to have a good team to root for and even better to win it all sometimes.

Speaking Of Father’s Day and Children

Since I am airing some of the contents that have been stuck inside my head I’ll confess that I hope the Patriots suffer at least 28 years of consecutive losing seasons.

I’ll confess that it kind of sucks that the last Dodger World Series title came while I was in college.

It is not as long as the drought Clevelanders suffered through, especially as the Lakers and Kings have both won multiple championships since then.

However it is long enough that I understand a bit of the ache that comes when you don’t win and how hope springs eternal each year.

Some years you know you really don’t have much reason to hope for that elusive victory, but people have dreams and sometimes they come true.

So says the man who didn’t wear reading glasses and had a full head of hair the last time the boys in blue hoisted that championship trophy.

*****

I tell my children that if you want people to believe you are different you have to do your best to match your actions with sincerity.

Well, I sincerely promise that I will try to not to make fun of Cleveland the way I used to. Can’t and won’t promise it will never happen, but I’ll try.

And I’ll repeat I was wrong about LeBron, the man can play ball.

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