The editorial staff of Banners has made no attempt to hide the fact we are Cleveland fans. Our family comes from NE Ohio, some of us still here, and the teams that represent the city on the crooked river are ours. That means that as I drove home from work on Wednesday night I had the distinctly grim experience of listening to the hope slowly drain from the voice of the best play by play man in the game, Tom Hamilton. When Brett Gardner’s single essentially doomed the Indians to another soul sucking loss, I turned the game off.
And immediately turned it back on upon walking into my house. That’s the thing about sports, we never quite fully give up. When the game ended exactly how so many of us feared it would, I carried my mostly sleeping children up the stairs and tried to offer some unfelt words of comfort. A sporting event can take the most pleasant of days and turn it utterly and completely miserable. Likewise, sports can offer incredible highs. When Malcolm Bernard skipped down the court with the game clinching rebound, I’m unashamed to admit I too, was on my feet and uncertain exactly what to do other than yell.
Sports are our outlet from a world that can weary at times. A president determined to make himself the center of every story, the latest mass shooting, the staid dryness of a day at work, arguments with a significant other, running children from appointment to appointment with little or no time between, all that can go away during a game. A Jay Bruce double for a 22nd straight win, Trevon Bluiett scoring a winner off one good ankle, the Browns.... Anyway, sports are our outlet, a chance to care about something we know won’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
And so we invest in them just as much as we do the things that matter. A bad night at work is a little better if we can listen to an Indians win during it. A long Sunday away from home is a bit better if we can find a group of friends and enjoy a common interest. No work, no assignments, just a chance to enjoy something fleeting. Of course, our determination to lose ourselves in something manifests itself in caring very deeply about that thing. My distraction is only pleasant if it is successful.
Which brings me back around to Wednesday night. Throughout this rambling essay I’ve not quite pinpointed why I, why we, care so much, but I remain quite certain that I do. Carrying a very tired, and increasingly heavy, nine year old up the stairs I tried to wrap my head around the fact that one of the best baseball teams I’ve ever seen was done. My daughter lifted her head off my shoulder, looked at me and said “when does Xavier play again?” And just that quickly, the hope was back.