Cleveland had just won its first championship in 52 years. LeBron James, exhausted after three games of cementing his legacy, of chiseling away at the foundation of Michael Jordan’s mythology, slumped on the floor at Oracle Arena. The room I was in was dark, but I could hear my neighbors screaming, I didn’t move, but my heart was jumping in my chest.
I was thinking about everything and nothing. I didn’t know what to do. At some point, in this euphoric stupor, I got a text from a friend.
“Our kids are champions.”
When you ask why I said yes to a new sports content blog, why I wanted to be part of the launch, and why carving out time to sit down and talk about sports again needs to be a priority; the answer isn’t about money, or notoriety, or dreaming about being the next big thing in our mainstream sports media ecosystem. The answer is that text I got in the middle of the night last June.
It’s about connections.
Cleveland sports is more than the sum of its parts. Cleveland sports is the friendships made over CavsZine, and the money Indians fans raised for Cleveland Clinic Children’s buying Party at Napoli’s tee shirts. It’s Stipe walking out to defend his title bumping Till I Die. Cleveland sports is about the city falling in love with Jobu on twitter, and seeing that community of fans come together to support his family when he was taken from them far too soon. I barely knew Austin, yet I had tears in my eyes trying to decide what to link here. Connections.
It’s not only Cleveland sports, either. Sports connections are everywhere. New Yorkers passed legends of Mickey Mantle to younger generations, as my generation will be passing along stories about The Captain for years to come. The connections are in those Barry Bonds to the Hall of Fame arguments, and debates about the greatest basketball player of all time. You can feel the connections when every football fan in the country comes together to boo Roger Goodell on draft night.
I’m from Cleveland, and one thing I’ve learned is that Cleveland sports aren’t how I connect, they’re how we connect. We share our experiences through highlight videos and Tom Hamilton home run calls, and I wouldn’t change that for the world. So, I’m here. I’m here because years ago before I was a professional, or a husband, or a dad, I met Lisa through twitter. We had a beer and talked about baseball.
Here’s my invitation to you to slide up to the bar and have a drink on me. Because that’s why I’m at SportsHax; to connect.