Friday, July 9, 2010
My home was publicly humiliated last night on television by one of its own. "King" LeBron James announced to the world that he was turning his back on his team, his fans and his city. It is fine that he wants to move on but the manner in which he did it reminds many of Art Modell announcing he was taking the Browns to Baltimore. I thought it was telling that he named his show "The Decision". Cleveland sports' history has been saddled with titles that start with the. The drive, the shot, the fumble...the decision.
The fans are getting a bad rap in many circles today because of their reaction. Cleveland sports fans wear their hearts on their sleeves or should I say jerseys. This town is so hungry to be a winner. They been so close - once in the NBA finals and the ultimate heart breaker - one out away from victory in the World Series before Jose Mesa imploded. Can you not blame them for being hurt once again?
Let me tell you a few things about this city. You have to have a sense of humor to live here. Given everything that is thrown out you from the state of the economy to the weather, humor gets you through. Maybe that is why there have been quite a few comedians to come from the area - Bob Hope, Tim Conway, Steve Harvey, Martin Mull, Fred Willard, Molly Shannon, Don Novello, Teri Garr, Patricia Heaton and Drew Carey to name a few. Our contribution to acting isn't too shabby either - Paul Newman, Halle Berry, Joel Grey, Debra Winger, and Hal Holbrook.
The people of Cleveland and Northeast Ohio are generous and have huge hearts. Even with record unemployment and a declining city, they give generously of themselves. The philanthropy here reaches across the country thanks to Clevelanders with names like Rockefeller, Gund and Lewis.
Cleveland is also filled with determined people. Art Modell took the beloved Browns away and the fans fought until they made sure their Browns and history would stay in Cleveland. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame also ended up in Cleveland thanks to determined fans. Never underestimate what Clevelanders can do when united.
Have a heart condition? The finest place in the world to go for treatment - the Cleveland Clinic.
The arts are thriving here. University Circle is home to the best orchestra in the world and one of the finest art museums. And that art museum, free to the public.
It is also home to some of the finest restaurants in the world and an Iron Chef thanks to Cleveland's own Michael Symon. Stroll down East 4th street in downtown and you can find restaurants that have been touted by foodies all over the world. And talking about food, a trip to the incredible West Side Market is a must.
We took friends from Chicago on a tour of Cleveland last weekend. We started at the Market and wandered around the downtown, along the lake by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, through Rockefeller Park and up to University Circle and back home along the historic Fairmount district. Our friends on their way out of town commented that maybe they should look into moving here. They were impressed by all it had to offer.
Cleveland isn't perfect but no place is. It will survive this latest heartbreak, and I think come out better for it. It needs to turn its attention away from courting the "King" to stay and focus on getting lots of "Princes" and "Princesses" to come because we all know, the kingdom won't continue without heirs.
So Cleveland, I'll let you lick your wounds for a few days but then it is time to get to work.