I just turned 40 a few weeks ago. For 40 years I lived as a loser. That all changed tonight.
For a lifetime and a quarter, my hometown of Cleveland found every painful way to twist the proverbial knife in the back of our fanhood. I witnessed collapses in every sport. Rumors of curses, disdain from deities, and lifelong black clouds were common pieces of Cleveland discourse.
I’m not gonna lie – when the clock hit double zeroes, I couldn’t believe it. Time always seems to run out for my hometown. The zeroes always seemed to emphasize the probability of success for our teams. But tonight. Tonight. My team celebrated when the clock struck zero.
My children even got in on the act this year. They got excited for the games (because I made popcorn) and even sat with me to watch – they never watch sports with me on television. My daughter even made signs.
As the clock wound down to the last minute, I looked around. The dogs were asleep. My daughter had gone to bed. My son was asleep clutching the iPad. My wife had already gone to bed. I was alone. And then the clock ticked down to the final seconds – then to the double zeroes. The Cavs won. The Cavs won.
My screaming must have woken my wife (the dogs didn’t move nor did my son). She came down and a simple conversation ensued:
Her: Did they win?
Me: (Still smiling) they WON!
Her: Wow. Did you cry?
Her: Good night.
And there I sat, on the phone with my mother and sister, happy, delirious, and in utter disbelief that my team, no, my city, was no longer a loser.
It may be another 52 years. It may be next season, but it doesn’t matter. I got to see history. A trophy made its way to my hometown. And over 1.3 million people celebrated.