Hi everyone, Pete here, Cleveland-area native, born 1978. Witness to The Drive. The Fumble. The Shot. '95 and '97 World Series. The Move. And The Decision.
Growing up in the 80's was a tough time for anyone who dared stick to their guns as a hometown fan, especially in the Cleveland-area, and especially for a little guy like I was. I'd get poundings from other boys for liking the home team - because it made you a cooler and better person if you liked a winner instead. In fact, there were people who's only satisfaction in life seemed to come from the failure of Cleveland sports - the feeling of schadenfreude was more important to them. But I stood defiant and never wavered, and loved my losing teams, because they were mine, and I couldn't pretend to like another.
As a teenager, music/punk rock became my thing, and sports took a backseat. It never left me entirely, though. By the time Lebron ditched Cleveland for Miami, I only had a moderate investment in it all, but was infuriated at the local kid who was acting just like those I grew up with - when the going gets tough, you bail the fuck out. As a Clevelander, loyalty is important to me. It's not just our teams that have gotten shit on, it's the city itself. The "Mistake by the Lake," they call it. The city may not be the grandest, but it's OUR city. The term "Rock and Roll" was coined here by DJ Alan Freed. It's Cleveland goddamn it, my home.
So when Lebron decided to come back to Cleveland after he was done getting his rocks off in Miami, I was nonplussed. Maybe it's my fault for being so sensitive about loyalty, but that's who I am, a true Cleveland-area native. I wasn't so eager to welcome back our "Prodigal Son" with open arms. He made his chickenshit choice, so fuck him. It was like he went and fucked someone else for a while, and so NOW he's willing to come back, to have his cake and eat it too. Well, I wasn't having it.
But it turns out, other people are more forgiving than me. And I understand it's been 52 years, but I don't understand how we can all go from saying "Fuck Lebron" six years ago, to now kissing his feet like paupers. He left us high and dry to go have sex with the better looking option. (Sorry, it's the easiest way to explain it) I also don't get this whole "WWE" fan viewpoint, how you can go from "bad guy" to "good guy" with the snap of a finger.
My rambling point is this - I wanted something better for the city, because it's my beloved home. I didn't want it to happen this way, it's pathetic to me. All the years of suffering came down to a shit-ass, brand-aware millennial who decided to throw his hometown a bone. I wanted better for all of us, because we deserve better.
Near the end of the game, I got a little sad, because I wondered what 10-year old me who think about grown up me rooting against the home team. Maybe I could gain some satisfaction after all? But when the final horn sounded, I felt nothing. Perhaps it's a fitting end to the lifelong struggle.