We are divided several ways here in Cleveland. We don’t like to admit this, but it’s the truth. Apart from the superfluous and good-natured West Side/East Side divide there are the real divisions. Divisions of race and class. One neighborhood doing well, the neighborhood right next door struggling with rampant poverty.
In Chicago this divide is amplified by their two baseball teams. The Sox and the Cubs represent their respective neighborhoods, but also carry the weight of the make up of those neighborhoods. They then exemplify the split.
We don’t have that problem. Three teams, one in each professional league. No split alliances here. We can spend all our energy and animosity against the Ravens or Steelers, Pistons, Pacers, Bulls, Tigers, Sox, Royals…
Speaking of royals, I’ve never been one for the British Royal family; a waste of public money since they don’t actually run the country. They’re an artifact of a bygone era, and in a modern society they serve only one purpose…
When things go wrong, when the Brits are caught up in their political division and seem stretched to breaking, the royal family serves as a rally point. They are beyond the politics and the division, and the Brits stand behind them.
As much as I dislike the ideas of both governmental figureheads (looking at you Brunswick) and nepotism, I admire that aspect. It provides something for people to stand behind no matter their views or personal characteristics.
Is that what our teams are for us? Something we put our differences aside for? No matter the problems we each face in our lives and the problems we face as a city, they provide us something to get behind, together.
Winning a championship won’t fix much in Cleveland. But the joy, the hope and belief, it is something we would celebrate together. Our sports teams are one thing, maybe the only thing, we all have in common. It’s not much, but it’s a start. How do we build on that?