Every year, I tell myself I'm not going to get as emotionally invested in sports as I was the last year. I'm superstitious as hell. I'm loathe to predict outcomes of games, and only in the last few years have I allowed myself to make statements about who I think is going o win. I believe. I wear things I perceive as "lucky." I play mind games with myself (if I can beat my best 5K time, the Cavs will surely win tonight!). I am 100% invested, year in and year out, no matter how hard I try not to be. Because I'm a Clevelander.
I know we can win this series. I believe that we will. That didn't stop me from waking up this morning, after a night of restless sleep, feeling debilitated. Feeling like I'd just been through a bad breakup. Trying with all my will to stay positive, to keep the dark thoughts from creeping into my mind. I take this so absolutely personally, and I've started to question my sanity. But no, I'm just a Clevelander.
However, I do question what it is that makes me take Cavs, Indians and even Browns losses so personally. It's just sport, right? But it's not to me. I've realized my love of sports is born out of the purest passion for seeing my hometown strive and succeed. Too long has our city been maligned, mocked and looked down upon. A championship can bring this city something so uplifting, simultaneously tangible and symbolic. As Clevelanders, we pride ourselves on our balance between chip-on-our-shoulders inferiority complex and hopeless optimism. We need something to swing the balance towards the latter if we hope to see our city excel and rise up to the great heights it once occupied.
Maybe this is all in my head. Maybe I'm crazy. But I want this. I want this very badly. I want it for the city of Cleveland. And I know we can do this. Because no matter where I am and what I'll become, I am always, first and foremost, a Clevelander.
Who's with me?