Cleveland is my home.
There was a point in my life when I wanted nothing more than to flee as far as possible from Cleveland. I lived in other states and all those other places were at one point "home."
But then one day, instead of saying, "I'm going to Cleveland to visit my folks" it became "I am going home to see my folks." I can't tell you what caused the shift and the desire to move back to Cleveland, but it has made my mom extremely happy.
For those that aren't from Cleveland, it is hard to explain what a special place it is. There are very few other cities like it, and I think it may best be described in a list. Keep in mind, that this is not an all inclusive list, but just a few highlights.
We believe that this is the year.
Or there is always next year.
Or there is always next year.
I met this guy at a preseason Browns game and had to take a picture. As Cleveland fans, we always start the year with the grand idea that *this* is going to be the year. This will be the year we win. This is the year we have a championship. We are optimists at the start of the season.
And we then end the season with...maybe next year. But we keep coming back for more.
It's OK for women to be excited about sports
For the uninitiated, this is the Bone Lady. She has been called the life of the party since the Browns returned to Cleveland. I think she is a blast. She is a die hard fan and isn't afraid to show it.
I love going home and having an intelligent sports conversation with my mom, dad, aunts, uncles, grandma. There is no, "oh you are a girl therefore all you know about sports is how cute Grady SizemoreAsdrubal Cabrera's stats. She will crush you if you don't know what you are talking about.
A trip to Northeast Ohio is not complete until you hit Marc's. I affectionately refer to Marc's as the greatest garage sale on earth. I consider myself a bit of an expert on Marc's as it was my first job. I worked at Marc's first store in Middleburg Heights, in fact, Marc's mom, Mrs. G. was my boss.
Marc's is a rite of passage for most people, fighting their way through the lines on a Saturday to stock up on back to school shopping. Maybe the packaging is in Mandarin Chinese, but the prices are so low, you don't really care. I still have my first major Marc's purchase from high school, a wicker shelving unit that I paid 13 bucks for.
We are made of certain ethnic groups
We grew up hearing jokes about a certain ethnic group from Parma. And on and on. I am Irish, Italian and Polish, so growing up I loved pierogies, kielbasa, rigatoni and washed it all down with a beer. The fact that you can get pierogies at Browns games says something. It wasn't until I moved to Iowa that I realized not everyone is blessed enough to get pierogies made my the little Polish church ladies. They have to get them from the frozen foods section and Mrs. T.
I am proud that we have Little Italy and the Feast of Assumption and so many other ethnic festivals and parades.
A Christmas Story House
In Indiana, there is a claim that the movie A Christmas Story was based in Hammond, Indiana. This is true. However, any Clevelander will tell you that the movie was filmed in Cleveland and we have the house. Therefore it is our story. And our house.
It brings back memories of going downtown to talk to Santa at Higbee's and look at the windows and enjoy the season.
The holiday truly begins when Randy shows mommy how a piggy eats.
It isn't a trip to the game without Stadium Mustard. In Goodyear, Arizona at the Indians' Spring training facility they have Stadium Mustard. A dog just isn't a dog without it.
W M M S Cleveland.
I owe Kid Leo and WMMS a big thank you. It was listening to WMMS that I found out rock and roll was and some guy named Bruce. All of the live concerts brought to town and simulcast on the radio were what I looked forward to.
WMMS was year after year selected as the Rolling Stone Reader's Poll favorite radio station. It is still one of the greatest rock stations in the country and and the history of FM radio.
There are a few things we can all agree on
There are a few things that Clevelanders can all agree on.
We hate Pittsburgh.
We hate Art Modell.
We hate Michigan.
We hate Pittsburgh. Did I mention that one yet?
The Drew Carey Show hit the airwaves at a time that I needed a dose of home the most. I imaged his house to be like so many others that I had seen in Parma or maybe Old Brooklyn. From the opening sequence of "Cleveland Rocks" to the closing credits, it seemed like a little post card from home.
Drew has a love for the city that came across in the show. I always felt a little less homesick watching the show. And the fact that the man loves Antonio's pizza so much that he had it shipped in for the crew only makes me love him more.
Our Super Fans are better than yours
As a little girl, I used to love going to Indians games with my dad. The games were in Cleveland Stadium and the Tribe was like the Indians in Major League. The lovable losers. If it were a special occasion we would get reserved seats, in the splintering old red or yellow seats. One time comes to mind that I was very concerned we weren't in the right seat because my dad said we could sit where ever we wanted. Finally, after my worried nagging, he said, "your seat says 7. Sit in a seat 7." We ended up next to the dug out.
But during those days, I found a job that I thought would be perfect. I wanted to be the "tom tom" guy. I would rattle on and on about how I could do the job even though I was a girl. I had no idea that the "tom tom" guy was actually John Adams. Since 1973, he has taken his drum, Chief Boom Boom, to the cheap seats and starts a drum beat for the game.
He was interviewed by the New York Times, and he sums up the way most Clevelanders feel, “I don’t see myself as being anything extra special,” he said. “I’m just a sports fan — a tough sports fan. And anybody who’s a sports fan in Cleveland has to be tough.”