Monday, June 13, 2011

Dan Wetzel (@danwetzel) on Cleveland, LeBron, the Cavs, and being a Cleveland sports fan

Dan Wetzel pens a great column on Yahoo on the emotions that have gone through Cleveland Sports fans over the past 47 years, and particularly the last 11 months.  A couple key points about the pride and wounds of being a Clevelander, and a Cleveland Sports fan.

LeBron James, the local kid from Akron, the one who claimed he understood your heartache, the one you defended for years, the one that was finally going to deliver sporting glory. He bails for some fair-weather sports town and an arena full of white-covered chairs with pretty people who can’t even be bothered to watch the game while it’s going on.
So, yeah, when LeBron James’ dream gets delayed, you bet you’re going to get regional schadenfreude like nothing we’ve ever seen.
Yet LeBron’s take, the same one that too often has been bandied about nationally, doesn’t begin to understand the emotions in Cleveland.
It’s too trite and small to view Cleveland as some bottomed-out, post-industrial postcard to the past. These aren’t all people trapped in awful times or terrible circumstances or living small lives in jealousy of LeBron’s big one.
There’s money here. There is success in Cleveland. There is contentment. As sure as there are poor in Miami, as sure as the VIP area of the Mansion Nightclub isn’t the full reality of South Florida, neither is some boarded-up East Cleveland warehouse the story here.
There are doctors and lawyers and entrepreneurs and financial planners and artists and teachers and dreamers and, yes, insulation installers. (“In the column can you mention the company, Pure Seal Inc.?”)
There are happy families and neighborhoods and the American Dream in full view. There are plenty of people who don’t have any personal problems who are quite content to keep their talents in Cleveland, a place they love just the way it is.
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