Being a lifelong Clevelander and sports fan, the expectations I took with me on game days were never permitted to be very high. Regardless of the season or team, the outcome had always been a foregone conclusion and the only remaining uncertainty was how we were going to achieve the inevitable loss.
The stories are infamous but earlier this summer the narrative played out differently than “expected.”
When I assumed our folding up in a likely Game 5 blowout loss or watching the visitors celebrate after outmatching us in Game 6—Kyrie and LeBron led their team and our city to erase a 3-1 NBA Finals deficit by refusing to let the usual Cleveland outcome ensue.
In a Game 7 where I felt my own need to guard my expectations to keep from another episode in the list of disappointments, we actually closed out a historically accomplished opponent…
More personal than the Buckeye’s NCAA Football titles, this one was ours; my daughters were throwing handfuls of actual confetti outside The Q, the championship shirts were real and worth waiting in line for, my dad was standing on the parade route watching the Larry O’Brien navigate Ontario Ave.
Instead of the expected outcomes, everything feels a little different since June.
While the Browns have a long way to go, my normal expectation of an Indians late summer skid were replaced with a strong run to a division title and a playoff appearance.
Where I would have normally looked for an early exit at the hands of Big Papi, Cleveland swept Boston. Not even a drone bloodied finger or a rookie starting pitcher could return us to “the way things used to be” around here…
On the eve of the World Series, I’m feeling the weight of completely different expectations.
Instead of knowing the coming week or two will end in some variety of heartache, the prospect of winning is now becoming real to us as fans. Chicago will come into our town with the sympathies of the world behind them, but for the first time in a long time, we are the team looking forward to overcoming the obstacles that will undoubtedly arise. While no parades are scheduled yet, and the champagne is still safely corked, our community and team have an opportunity to live up to their newfound expectation of a championship.
We no longer expect the unthinkable outcome is a forgone conclusion…