This Year

September 26th, 2013

I am sick of waiting for next year.

I am done with talking about the NFL Draft in September and about Opening Day in August.

Beaten down by years of suffering, Cleveland has become a town  that dreams of future victory parades rather than watching a team today.

I refuse to follow along and do the same any longer.

As of Tuesday evening, the Indians held a wild card spot with six games to go. Even after the lousy Trent Richardson trade, the Browns are 1-2 and are playing with remarkable passion with hometown hero Brian Hoyer at the helm. Ripe with young talent, the Cavaliers are gearing up for a run at the playoffs.

At long last, we can stop talking about next year.

Don’t mistake my previous statement for a guarantee that the Browns, Indians or Cavs will make the playoffs or win a title. This is not the year a Cleveland team takes home a title. But we are close.

I have been a diehard Cleveland sports fan from birth. I cried after Dwayne Ruud’s helmet toss cost the Browns a win against the Chiefs on Sept. 8, 2002. I watched in horror as the Browns collapsed in the fourth quarter of a wild card playoff game against the Steelers on Jan. 5, 2003. I sat stunned as the Indians blew a 3-1 series lead to the Red Sox in the 2007 American League Championship Series. I listened to the radio in dismay as LeBron James made his “decision.”

Like any other dedicated Cleveland fan, I’ve experienced heartbreak, devastating losses and hopeless rebuilding years. And I wasn’t even alive for Red Right 88, “The Drive,” “The Fumble,” and “The Shot.” Ask any Cleveland fan on the John Carroll campus about their experiences, and they will relay the same stories as me. They will probably have even more that I neglected to mention.

But it is time for us, as a city, to leave our history behind and allow the future to develop. We need to focus on the present.

The Indians are second in the wild card standings and sit at third-to-last in attendance in the MLB (an average of 19,412 per game). The lowly Houston Astros are above the Tribe. The Detroit Tigers draw twice as many fans to Comerica Park than the Indians bring to Progressive Field. And, without T-Rich, everyone has given up on the Browns.

I have an idea: let’s enjoy watching our teams and forget about our past pain and suffering. Support the Indians. Go to a Browns game. Stop thinking about next year.

I’ve already bought in. I purchased tickets for the potential American League wild card game. I watched and listened to all of Sunday’s Browns game. I’m done looking forward.

Enough with the old saying, “There’s always next year.” This is the year.