(If you know who this guy is then you know more about Cleveland history than I, and for that I tip my cap).
“All the little chicks with the crimson lips go…Cleveland Rocks, Cleveland Rocks!!”
The song later held even more meaning for me as Cleveland became home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. As a town that would celebrate the history of rock, it is only apropos that Cleveland does indeed rock. (As side note if you have never been to the RRHOF I suggest you go. I went for the first time last summer and you could spend days there and still not take it all in. The large IMAX projection screens showing rock legends collaborating on their hits is worth the price of admission by itself).
But prior to last night, if you were to tell me that Cleveland Rocks because it is an awesome sports town, I’d have simply laughed in your face and shook my head. Not quite 40 years old yet, I hadn’t seen the city win a professional championship prior to last night. I had however, seen my share of the ‘ole Lucy pulling the football from under Charlie Brown’s feet’ several times, however. Whether it was the Drive, The Fumble, Jose Mesa’s One Out from Hell, or the Cavs playoff woes, Cleveland was destined to be the laughingstock of the sports world.
That is until last night. Following the Cleveland Cavaliers game 7 win over the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, I can now say that I have witnessed a pro team from Northeast Ohio win it all in my lifetime. And ‘Cleveland Rocks!!’ in the sports world as well as contemporary society as well.
The Cavs forged a new legacy last night, but last night wasn’t about just an individual. It was about a team that, after falling behind in the series 2-0 and then 3-1, clawing its way back to three straight victories. It was about several individuals letting go of their need to be the go to guy (as they might have been on their previous teams) and settling into the role that best helped the team. And it was about an owner (Dan Gilbert) and a coach (Tyronn Lue) having the faith and humility necessary to help guide this team to a championship.
And while I admit I didn’t think the Cavs could beat the Warriors, especially after the way they were blown out in the first two games in Oakland, I couldn’t be happier that they proved me wrong. I have had a lot of people call me out as being a doubter, but, given the aforementioned heartbreak Cleveland sports teams have put me through, didn’t I have a right to be a little skeptical? As the clock raced under 30 seconds, it hit me like a ton of bricks: Cleveland was going to celebrate its first pro title in more than five decades. And even though I am not from the area, I feel like I can empathize. After all, living in Central Ohio, if it weren’t for the OSU Buckeyes, I would find myself in the same situation. (And that my father lived there for a brief period of time during his young adult years allows me unofficially adopt the city as my own, too.)
So congratulations to the Cleveland Cavaliers for winning their first ever NBA title. And Cleveland fans you can rest a bit easier now. Cleveland Rocks, Cleveland Rocks, Cleveland Rocks!!!....Ohio!!!