Thursday, November 3, 2016

Cleveland Against the World: Some Thoughts on Chicago, the World Series, & Lasting Pride

Late last night, in a sad stupor after an overtime World Series that resulted in an Indians loss, I posted to Facebook. It was 2am, & I was very busy emo-snarfing a frozen pizza & crying actual tears (for no real reason at all), & I was amazed, I wrote, to learn that Chicago has actually won a World Series much more recently than last night, given that the White Sox won in 2005.

Of course, as it my unfortunate tendency when I'm feeling spontaneously passionate about Cleveland, I said it a lot more forcefully than intended & used a lot of capital letters. Perhaps rightfully so, it struck a nerve with some people.

This morning, I woke up to comments & private messages from friends telling me I have no idea how baseball works; one even told me I was embarrassing myself with my post & that it made me look like an idiot. Needless to say, I woke up feeling pretty embarrassed, & like a jerk, to boot. I apologized individually to a couple of folks, then I deleted the post & planned to crawl into a hole & pretend like it never happened. But then I remembered that I have a blog, where I can rant & rave & clarify if I want to - & I want to.

I guess my point was just this: I love my city more than I love any particular sport within it. And I just want Cleveland to win, period.

That's why, when I realized that Chicago has another Series-winning baseball team, in addition to all their other winning sports team (see: Bulls, Blackhawks), it suddenly made it harder for me to understand or continue to feel fondly toward the sad Cubs fans who'd been lamenting their 108-year dry spell. You live in a city full of winning sports teams! You live in a city that's not the butt of national jokes! It just made me feel like maybe Chicago was being a little greedy.

I get it, you don't just root for both of your city's sports teams, especially if you're a diehard sports fan. Each team has a dedicated fan base, & the lines don't blur just because they're from the same place. But also I don't get it, because I can't imagine ever not rooting for Cleveland. And that's the difference, I suppose: I'm not a sports fan, not really. I'm just a Cleveland fan. Maybe that means I shouldn't make grand statements, then, about sports, but sometimes I get a little overzealous in my love of this city. Maybe you've noticed?

Look, I do feel like, if we were going to lose the World Series, it ought to be to a team that hasn't won in so long, even if they're from an otherwise winning city. I love, too, that this Series was a battle between two Midwestern cities, with the whole country tuning in even though they call us "flyover states" all the rest of the time. And at the end of the night, even after the Indians lost, the dive bar we watched from still played "Cleveland Rocks," that godawfully annoying tune from The Drew Carey Show that has somehow come to represent our fair city.

I know that I'm, like, always writing a love letter to this city & that you guys are all probably annoyed by it now. I just love it here. I am proud to be here. I am proud to stay here for the rest of my damn life & never, ever leave again. And win or lose, I will be here rooting for our sports team - yes, even the Browns - the whole time. 

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