Big Markets have the names; New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Big Towns, big celebrities, big traffic and big championship victories. Medium and small markets tend to have layovers for a couple hours and not always touristy unless it’s the holidays. The occasional underdog victory and championship or so it’s always been the thought.
However, there are a lot more medium and small markets with more than a regional or local fan base. This point can easily be made from anywhere. However 50 years is 50 years. I’ll let you figure the geography.
When you’re from Cleveland or a fan of Cleveland sports it safe to assume Cleveland isn’t in the trendy big market group.
It is however away of life, no matter where the road of life takes you. And it’s pretty noticeable when in a crowded room that is filled with fans for the other team , one solidly loud blasting cheer being heard over the disappointed group might just stand out a little and the shrouded possibility of not being invited back. It’s Love and loyalty. Also for those fans who live out of town a lot of ” whys” and ” Oh admit it you want to cheer a winner for a change.” Uh yes but we want our team to be that winner! The reason?
We love a city, and the teams that represent that city. Cleveland has a deep history of greatness and rock bottom events. Clevelanders are likable, humorous and can change from the predictable norm to the exception to the rule faster then Clark Kent can become the Man of Steel.
Together we have waited over 50 years. Together we have watched the ups and downs. But the loyalty remains and outside of the area that loyalty amongst fans who have had to move for various reasons are just as true. We tend to be extremely thankful for the Internet, cable deals and calling back home more often after games then on holidays. ESPN can never carry enough highlight footage either!
For most of us it’s home. The lessons we garnered as kids, to understanding why Cleveland is a preverbal punchline and taught those jokesters we can tell a few ourselves. We get it. It’s funny. Cleveland is fun to say , and you almost can’t say it without smiling a little. Trust me it’s not a cure for the blues. Still there’s always a bright side and a “wait for next year” quote lingering after we poke fun at ourselves.
This city is so much more, just look at the many brilliant and talented people who grew up here. They changed medical science, the entertainment industry, they became inventors, oil barons, sports heros and gave a name to rock ‘n’ roll. In return they inspired others and left behind a deep and rich history for all those still growing up in Northeast Ohio. Furthermore, a legacy in the preciously fragile beauty of a dream and the overwhelming excitement when it comes true.
The Cavaliers matter on all the various levels. LeBron came home after a very hard to swallow departure. He was criticized when he showed his Buckeye pride while injured watching a team with the biggest heart in college football defy all odds and made history happen.
What ? You don’t think that didn’t hit home with the King? Surely you jest! His heart was out there for all to see in the first game back at the Q. So after watching The Ohio State Buckeyes win the national championship title with the third quarterback of the season, a little Buckeye Pride didn’t rub off on the Cleveland Cavaliers? Didn’t they start a surging journey and began to gel their talents and passions together after that? Hey next man up and bring it.
Well the Cavs showed it today and after their victory made statements that sounded like LeBron’s Nike commercial ” For them! For Cleveland! Together!”
Home is where the heart is. Home matters whether it’s looking at an old picture or overcoming obstacles in the wallet to get back in time for the holidays or special events.
Home for a Clevelander is all of that and knowing those glory days heard from people who have gone on to be parents, grandparents , great grandparents and have departed but are very much a part of our hearts where they are still young, and very much alive. It’s a tribute to them. It is a reminder for those who have waited for so long , all dreams take time and work, but never quit, and never give up!
And it will become an ushering in of a new day, a new era, and new beginning for a city, an area, and region that has changed with the times but never seems to waiver in what the rest of the world has forgotten. The value of loyalty, the power of a simple dream and that when you follow your heart it can lead you to something great.
Which may just be home. Whether it’s your city, your family, or getting out of work a few minutes early to watch the game with your Parents and your kids. That city lettered on those jerseys, from the less shiny towns across the country, speaks volumes for the medium and small markets in one word HOME!
And THAT’S why it matters.