there's always next year...

I'm still on cloud nine.  I don't ever want to come down.  I'm also extremely hungover, because it turns out, you can't recover from drinking in your 30's like you did in your 20's.  & because of that I'll try and keep this short and sweet.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are the NBA champions.  Let that sink in.  Cleveland - Champions. This year is next year.

I don't know if my words will do my feelings justice, but as I sit down to write this ode to my hometown with swollen eyes from tears of happiness, a sore throat from yelling, and a championship size hangover from celebrating last night - I'm going to try my best to convey just what this means to me and my city.

It means everything. everything.

Like so many others born and raised here, I grew up a Cleveland fan.  My Mom grew up in Old Brooklyn and my Dad is from Parma Heights.  Cleveland is in my blood.  It is my dna.  My Dad holds the main responsibility for giving me (what was) my horrible fate of loving every Cleveland team more than any grown adult should.  And today...this day after Father's Day...I am eternally grateful for James Lynch as my Dad.  And I'm eternally grateful that Grandpa Lynch instilled the love of Cleveland and our teams in my Dad.  I'm eternally grateful that Grandpa Lynch took my Dad to the championship game in '64.  I'm eternally grateful that my Dad took me to Game 5 of the '95 World Series.  I'm eternally grateful that my Dad taught me to appreciate sports...taking me to see Nolan Ryan's last game against the Tribe...and his last win.  I'm eternally grateful that my parents would load us in my Dad's Oldsmobile to drive to the middle of flipping nowhere in Richland, Ohio to cheer on Mark Price and Brad Daugherty at the Coliseum.  I'm eternally grateful that every Tribe game we went to as a family...every game...at Municipal Stadium, my mom would selflessly take the seat behind one of the poles.  A few Father's Days ago my sisters and I got my Dad a brick at The Jake that said "There's Always Next Year."  It is the closest to crying I've ever seen my Dad come...his response was "Even when I'm gone, I will always be with the Tribe now."  That is how much Clevelander's love our sports teams.  They are family to us.  They give us a sense of community and pride.  In our blue collar town, we were raised to understand the value of hard work.  My family and most Cleveland families are full of union men who helped build this city to where it is today.  We are all rebuilding this city together.  And that is what makes this championship so much sweeter than I ever thought it would be.  WE did this...together. 

I was going to watch the game at Hoopples last night, because 1) it is my favorite bar in CLE; and 2) for nostalgia.  For various reasons, thankfully I didn't.  I ended up with my family and friends at a bar in the new Flats...and it was perfect.  It was a perfect night.  With perfect people.  And a perfect ending.  I cried...because I always cry when happy things happen.  But I wasn't the only one.  Everyone cried.  It was so much - so much fun.  Let's ride this wave as long as we can.  See you downtown on Wednesday, Cleveland.  We have a group of amazing gentlemen to thank with one hell of a parade!

In Northeast Ohio - nothing is given.  Everything is earned.

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