I risk stating the obvious that it is rough being a Cleveland sports fan. Torturous might be a better word to describe the experience, and over the course of time, excluding few breaks along the way in a sport or two, it has not gotten better.
In the aftermath of the public embarrassment of the city of Cleveland and its fans during the “Decision”, and the juxtaposition of the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavalier team to both the 2010-11 Miami Heat AND the 2009-10 Cleveland Cavaliers simultaneously, many fans wondered to themselves (or out loud) “What is wrong with those Cleveland fans?” “Why can’t they get over this guy?” “What a pity that city and its fans are…”
At face value, they have a point. The simple decision of a grown young man that exercised his right to leave town through free agency left a town crying and on “suicide watch”, resulting in burned jerseys and the corporate cursing of their own native star. Many young adults who have grown up in Northeast Ohio and migrated to other cities in the United States, why can’t LeBron? After all, he blessed this city with it’s most exciting stretch of seasons in franchise history, took the team to it’s first Finals appearance and “gave it his all” while he played for the city of Cleveland.
It is understandable to have that view, but I am immediately forced to wonder if the average fan really understands the history of Cleveland Sports and the unbearable number of painful setbacks and disappointments that this particular fan base has endured. My guess is no. For if they did, they would not be so perplexed by the scorned behavior of Cleveland sports fan in the last year.
Cleveland is not alone. Many other franchises and cities have had their share of bad luck. I live in a city (Chicago) where two baseball teams simultaneously experienced several decade-long World Series droughts dating back to early 20th century. Philadelphia experienced an almost 30-year drought without a championship in any of their sports. Boston famously experienced futility dating back to Babe Ruth, and several franchises have either not seen glory in ages or never experienced it at all.
However, I challenge anyone to come up with a fan base that has had to endure more over the course of a long period of time with ALL of the teams in that city failing in freakish fashion, repeatedly.
Cleveland fans are as passionate as they come, and collectively NONE of the three major sports franchises have won since 1964. Essentially, due to the Super Bowl starting 2 years after that championship, the Browns have NEVER won a Super Bowl (which defines modern glory). The Cavaliers have NEVER won a NBA Championship and the Indians have not won the World Series since 1948!
Combine the fashion in which Cleveland sports teams have managed to lose and I promise that after looking at this slide show you will never question the scorn and skepticism of a Cleveland sports fan ever again.
These memories will live with Cleveland fans forever.