Growing up in Cleveland, I’ve never experienced a sports championship. I don’t know what it’s like to have bragging rights for the next season. We have three major sports teams: our football team, The Cleveland Browns, our baseball team, The Cleveland Indians, and The Cleveland Cavaliers, our basketball team. None of these teams have brought a championship to Cleveland since 1964. Many people think that Cleveland sports could have a curse. But I refuse to believe it. I’ve been a Cleveland sports fan since the day I was born, and my parents taught me to always stay loyal.
The Browns score a touchdown and the “Dawg Pound” goes wild. A Cleveland team makes it to the finals and the city dedicates everything, including huge billboards, to our “star athlete”. Cleveland has so much support for our teams that the Indian’s mascot got into the Mascot Hall of Fame. You can barely walk down the street without seeing a Cavs, Browns or Indians jersey. Unfortunately, even with all the loyalty we have, year after year we always experience heartbreak at the end of the season. We make it to the finals, and we lose, or we just play rotten in the regular season. Despite the heartbreak, I still believe in being loyal.
When I’m outside of Cleveland I get strange looks when I tell people that I’m a hometown supporter. They ask “Looks like the Browns aren’t doing too well this year?” or “Oh you’re from Cleveland? How do you feel about LeBron James leaving?” I’ll be the first to admit that it’s tough to be a Cleveland fan and to have to listen to such degrading comments. But I’ve learned keep loyal and build off my optimism that “it’s just our rebuilding year, we’ll be better next year.”
There’s one “defining moment” that really made me realize that I’m very loyal and it was when LeBron James, the “star player” for the Cavaliers, decided to leave. On that evening in July 2010 when he announced his decision to become a player on the Miami Heat, many of my friends decided to become Heat fans; they thought the Cavs would have no chance of winning. When my friend and coworker decided to become a Miami Heat fan, I was shocked. That was the day that I vowed that I would always stay loyal to my team, no matter who played on it.
I’ve been raised a loyal fan, and that has helped me realize that I have to stay loyal in life. The loyalty I’ve been raised with has helped to keep many friends. If I can stay loyal to teams that don’t always do very well, I can stay loyal to anyone or anything. I’m hoping that in my lifetime, being loyal to my teams will pay off and one will win a championship. And even if none of them win, I’ll still be at every game, cheering my teams on, because that is what I believe in—loyalty.