The City of Cleveland’s fate was rewritten on June 19th, 2016.
This community began a new journey as Champions that night. I began a new journey of my own that very next morning that has changed me as a Cleveland sports fan.
On June 20th I started a new job downtown and now I am physically in the heart of the city all workweek. Due to my very opportune timing, I can proudly say that I have NEVER worked in a downtown atmosphere where we were not champions.
Though I see less NBA Champion T-shirts than I did in June, there are still visual reminders that our sorrows and heartbreaks of yesteryear are permanently in the past.
I often take walks. It is something that I have tried to make a habit in this new position. These walks are what I garner the most perspective.
Cleveland is truly in a Renaissance period.
In terms of infrastructure and commerce, we have built a proper convention center and remodeled a former Board of Education building into a hotel. Public Square is now an area I am proud to show off to folks from other cities. The food trucks and music that are out there several times a week create such a relaxing and rejuvenating vibe.
It’s as if everything was timed out perfectly by a greater power. The Cavalier’s Championship was the emotional spark that our residents have been craving for years. Or in my case, a lifetime.
It is impossible to ignore the largest visual reminder in the city. Lebron James’ outstretched arms plastered against the Landmark Office Towers is not only remarkable but a tourist attraction in and of itself.
I work in that building and our employee café happens to have windows that look out at the city through Lebron’s image. So I am, in a sense, looking at the city and the arena through Lebron colored glasses.
This is something that is not lost on me. He has restored a sense of glory to this city that hasn’t existed here since the 60’s. 38 years I felt so cursed to be a fan of this city’s teams. Now I feel like the luckiest guy in the world.
On one of my most recent walks, I decided to do a lap around Quicken Loans Arena. I miss being there so it helps to be close to it. In the home stretch of my walk down Ontario I noticed something that was so poignant to me that I could not help but take a picture.
There are several air intake grates on the Ontario side of The Q and all but one are pristine. The one that is not, is clogged with wine and gold confetti from the victory parade. This is the most rousing visual reminder of our city’s great rise from darkness. It is in plain view but it is also not readily visible.
I am looking forward to all of our Fall sports. Our NBA champions, our Calder Cup Champions and…well…the Browns too. The Indians have helped to keep the smiles on the sports fans faces over the summer but there is certainly something to be said about new beginnings. Our two teams that call Quicken Loans Arena their home will both be hanging something from the ceiling this fall that generations to come will read.
Those of us that remember a time before those banners were hung, can feel fortunate that we were able to live it.