Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

What Should We Do?

Much has been written and spoken over the past few days, weeks and months about LeBron James returning to Cleveland tonight. The key question in all the discussions has been how will/should Cleveland fans react?

Some are expecting a scene reminiscent of 10-cent beer night at the old Stadium, which would play into the hands of the national media who have portrayed Cleveland as a wasteland filled with roving mobs of angry fans.

Others have called for chants, songs and other forms of disapproval vented at LeBron. There’s little doubt that will occur tonight at the Q.

What should we do?

The best way for the fans in attendance to treat LeBron is to show him what he gave up when he left town: a passionate fan base that supports their teams through (infrequent) good times and bad times.

Cheer for the Cavs, reward them for the past few years when they turned the Q into a nightly showcase for exciting NBA basketball and made Cleveland relevant again in the NBA. Remind LeBron what the cheering sounds like when it is authentic and from the heart, rather than the result of a team’s marketing plan.

Cleveland fans, for the most part, are a solid bunch. You still have your hoople heads who are easily influenced by what passes for sports talk radio in this town, but overall we know what we’re talking about.

And most importantly we care about our teams. And for those of us born after 1964, we all carry the same fear that we will never see a championship in Cleveland in our lifetimes.

But we are still there, game after game, season after season. Boston fans cried over the Red Sox while watching the Celtics and Patriots win titles. Chicago fans whine about the Cubs, forgetting the titles the Bulls and Bears won.

Cleveland fans have no such reprieve, but we persevere. Tonight offers a perfect opportunity to show ESPN, TNT, CNN and the rest of the national media watching just what a Cleveland fan really is: dedicated, passionate and educated.

Ultimately tonight’s game will have little bearing on how the Cavs and Heat finish the season. Win or lose, the Cavs will probably finish the season out of the playoffs; while the Heat will be trying to fight its way through Boston and Orlando.

But for one night we can show the world that, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.”

Let’s rise up one more time Cleveland.


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