I confess; I’m a Cleveland Sports fan.
Before you click off the page because you’re from Pittsburgh, or some far away land that has never heard of Cleveland, Ohio, or you couldn’t care less about sports in general – know this; being a Cleveland fan is like getting kicked in the groinal area repeatedly, for eternity.
I know, I know, it’s hard to commiserate when athletes get paid stupid amounts of money while society-contributing occupations like teachers, park rangers, and late-night Taco Bell drive-thru attendants get paid squat – basketball is rigged, and baseball players are all thick-legged roid-munchers. I get it.
But this fandom is engrained in my soul
In Cleveland, you come out of the womb, and they wrap you in a Browns jersey at the hospital. First born children get baptized in the holy waters of the Church of Our Saint in Awkward Delivery, Bernie Kosar. I’ve never, in all my travels, seen a community’s weekly mood based on the performance of their football team.
It’s passionate, endearing, and it sucks. Anytime someone starts a sentence with definitive article ‘THE’ I cringe.
“Where are you from?” Someone asks.
“Originally from Cleveland.” Me
“Oh yeah!? Drew Carey, Rock Hall, and The Drive!”
“Oh fuck you.” Me
Perhaps you’ve had a sorrowful moment in your life, a deep heartbreak that still conjures stinging imagery, and an empty feeling in your guts.
I’ve also dealt with heartbreak – nasty, physically/mentally debilitating heartbreak – but I was prepared for it.
Because no pain compares to that of trials of being a die-hard Cleveland sports fan. I’ve tried giving up with healthy doses of apathy to limit my sorrow, therapy/bar bills – Cleveland Sports – I can’t quit you.
Get to the point, Mike!
This is my Grandma.
Aside from being amazingly awesome, Grandma is a huge Cleveland sports fan, and has played a large part in my own fanaticism for sports.
She not only watches games (baseball, and football – not so much basketball), but also knows all the players, knows their stats, and most important, how handsome they are.
During a recent Roam About Family gathering, Grandma mentioned the fact she had never been to a Cleveland Indians game. None of us believed her – it just didn’t seem possible for a woman who watches every single Indians game not going to the stadium in all her years in Cleveland.
Roam About Mike, Sr. got on the horn, and graciously bought tickets for the family. I drove up a couple of weekends ago from Columbus to Cleveland, and met everyone at Jacob’s Field, or ‘The Jake’ as it’s known locally. Progressive insurance bought the field a few years ago, but Clevelanders refuse to call it ‘The Prog’, or anything other than ‘The Jake’.
The good folks within the organization greeted G-ma with a big swag-bag – filled with bobbleheads, t-shirts, and a Bob Feller statue, and they even sent over Indians mascot, Slider, to say hello.
Slider is a giant purple monster with a Hulk Hogan mullet-of-a-nose, and conceptually, makes little sense, but I understand the political correctness in Slider tip-toeing the sensitivity line of the true Indians logo – Chief Wahoo – a
racist fun caricature of a Native American.
It’s rumored the Indians’ Org. did a test run with Wes Studi as the mascot in the late 90’s, but he ended up scaring seven children to death.
Anyways, Grandma freaked out, in a good way, when she saw Slider.
It was a great night at the stadium, The Indians lost (of course) but Grandma finally got to see a game, and that’s all that matters.
The night ended with an impressive fireworks display, more explosive than any component of the Indian’s offense, warming the scarred, abused hearts of the Cleveland baseball fans, young and old.
I’ll be back at some point this week with updates from a trip to Chicago.