Sports are really not that important. I mean, I’ve said that a million times. I work regularly trying to convince the parents of the teens I work alongside. There is much more to life than sports. Many people say that it is the great idol of American culture, but I think it is much more powerful than an idol – it is its own religion. Sports as a religion is not that far off at all. Few areas in our culture evoke such passion as sports. My earliest memories of my sports experience was a Cleveland Browns game where I saw a guy with blood all over him being carted through the hallways.
That’s really easy say: there’s more to life that sports, but for me it is a real part of me. I grew up with sports as much as church – is that shallow? Of course, but I still have a great passion for sports – a passion I don’t see dying out any time soon. I love sports. I constantly must be aware of the time and money I spend there because it is an easy escape from reality. I confess this not of something I am proud of, as much as something I continue to work through.
However, in light of recent events, sports has weighed its power in my life again. Today I am depressed. Not because anything significant happened to me or my family, but because I watched my childhood baseball obsession, the Cleveland Indians lose game 7 of the ALCS last night in Boston. I consider myself fortunate because the Indians have been to the World Series twice in my life – 1995 and 1997. However, they lost both series. As a matter of fact, there aren’t many folks (and probably no one who will read this) who was alive the last time the Indians won the World Series . . . as a matter of fact, next season will mark 60 years – 60 years! The last time they won the World Series it was 1948. That’s a long time.
Before you Cubs fans are about to post, you have to consider the difference between the Cubs current World Series drought, now at 100 years, you have to consider the agony we Cleveland fans have had to endure. I remember watching John Elway single handedly rip the heart right out of the city of Cleveland twice as a kid. I think my grandpa and I even recorded the game with the Drive so we could watch it again . . . we never watched it again.
The latest collapse of the Indians falls in a long line of disappointment in my sports history. The Ohio State Buckeyes are the one team that has brought home a national title in my nearing 30 years. I think, when considering all the sports teams in the state, that the success of the Buckeyes has multiplied their popularity even more because everyone is so hungry for a title – the Indians, the Reds, the Browns, the Bengals, the Cavs, the Blue Jackets . . . it’s been awhile. And look this year . . . Ohio State twice loses to Florida in championship games, the Indians go the distance before losing to the Sox, one game shy of the World Series, the Cavs went to the championship only to lose . . . so many close calls, so much disappointment.
And now . . .
It continues . . .
And, with what has become more than a yearly reassurance, but a testament of identity for us Cleveland fans . . . next year . . . next year. . . next year . . .
Maybe when I’ve recovered from my post-ALCS depression I’ll comment on how Cleveland basically got screwed by the man, how the starting pitcher of game #7 of the ALCS for Boston cost more than the Indians entire team . . . how the national media continues to slant towards the big two . . . how the officials calls didn’t seem to go our way . . . but we’ll have to save all that for another day . . . today is a day for moping and thinking about what it would be like to end the season with a win . . .
I wonder when Opening Day tickets are going to go on sale