What really matters about Cavs title: While We're Waiting

The Cleveland Cavaliers have won the 2016 NBA Championship and people all around Cleveland are demonstrating why that really matters.

One million people are expected to crowd downtown Cleveland to watch the Cavaliers triumphantly show off the Larry O'Brien trophy they worked so hard to obtain. So, the obvious question that cannot help but be asked is what does it all really mean?
  • For players such as Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson, the championship is supposed to symbolize the beginning of something great in their careers. 
  • For Richard Jefferson, it is finally being part of a team that finishes the mission after being part of so many that fell just short. 
  • For LeBron ,it might signal a significant step up in his legacy that might only be rivaled by Michael Jordan.
  • For Cleveland, a vindication of following and supporting 146 non championship sporting seasons with many ending in excruciating fashion. 
But, why should sports have such a hold on a community? Why do sports actually matter? Should they matter or is their place of prominence an indictment of poor societal priorities. Ah, but one of the great components of finishing off a championship season are the moments of reflection granted and shared. As Cleveland had an especially long wait, there has been many outward expressions of emotion since the fateful Sunday night Game 7.

Writers pouring out their hearts

WFNY Andrew Schnitkey was one of the first splice his feelings through words when he wrote the championship BtBS. He told the tale of the game, but my favorite parts of it were when he went off the rails about everything else. He even stated it bluntly before going into his thoughts about the championship when he said: This is the part where normally we go into the numbers. But come on, does anyone care about the numbers? This is so much bigger than the numbers.
Writing these words is a bigger struggle than I ever could have imagined. How can you possibly synthesize all these feelings and emotions into simple words on a page? As the game ended and the initial burst of uncontrollable joy gave way to a collapse of uncontrollable tears, one thing was clear … everything is different now.
Scout's Hayden Grove went a step further and gave a personal account of exactly why sports mattered to him growing up with his Cleveland sports loving grandfather. So many of us have loved ones that we use the local sports team to develop deeper bonds. My brother and I rarely start a conversation on anything other than sports. We get to the deeper, more important things, but having sports as an ice-breaker, as something we can both experience even though we live far apart is incredibly important to us. And, Grove similarly had this with his grandfather all through his life. Though his grandfather suffered a massive stroke and might not fully grasp this championship, the bond remains.

The South Floridians that surrounded me on a daily basis couldn’t understand the pride I had for the city of Cleveland and its sports teams.

Even my parents at times wanted me to “be more like the others.” 

As I grew older, however, they began to understand, as did I, that my love for Cleveland was more about family and my love for Grandpa than it was about sports.

If you haven't signed up for the WFNY newsletter, then you might have missed Scott Sargent giving a similar personal account earlier on Father's Day just hours before the Cavaliers would hoist the Larry O'Brien. In it, Scott wrote a heart-warming account of the bonds shared between father and son over Cleveland sports. I hope that sometime during this week his father uttered the words "I enjoyed that."
My dad is the hardest-working man I know. He had a night-shift job for a good chunk of my childhood so my mother could be home with us during the day. Then while slaving away at that gig, he studied in his spare time to become a paramedic—the prerequisite to be a fireman—with the goal of following in his dad's footsteps of being a straight-up hero. He did this all while dragging me and my sisters around to various baseball games, oftentimes three-to-five nights per week, allowing the outside of his truck to get destroyed by the dirt that floated around those fields, and the inside by that which clung to our child-sized cleats.
Similarly, cleveland.com's Zack Meisel had put out a Father's Day article that demonstrated how a simple game of catch could mean everything in the world between a father and son. Even if the son couldn't quite remember it.

Sports helped him navigate the choppy waters of his illness. He treasured the Indians, who finally proved worthy of his adoration in the late stages of his life.

I've been told that my father and I played catch all the time and that, when healthy, he never missed my T-ball or coach-pitch games. I had a new pitchback, cleats and a glove each summer.

There's something special, something subtly extraordinary about a simple game of catch, whether it's a father and son, a mother and daughter, or the entire family.

So, yeah, cheer your heads off for LeBron James, J.R. Smith, Kyrie Irving, and the rest of the team of Cleveland Cavaliers that brought Cleveland its first major professional sports championship in 52 years. But understand the people with which you are sharing this memory is what makes it all worth it. But hey, you already knew that.


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