A month has passed since the Cleveland Cavaliers clinched their title and forever cementing themselves in Cleveland sports lore. People are still on cloud nine. The euphoric feeling has shock-waved throughout northeast Ohio. A cynical and negative mentality that had plagued numerous generations in this town seemed to literally vanish overnight. The “curse,” whether you believed in it or not, was kicked to the curb and left behind. What so many thought would never happen did happen… and the new era of Cleveland began.
Before the grand finale that was the Cavaliers’ Championship, two things had happened right before it. First, Cleveland native Stipe Miocic defeated Fabricio Werdum for the UFC Heavyweight Championship, in which a bruised and exhausted Miocic dedicated his victory to the city. Cleveland started to get some attention because of Stipe’s victory, a foreshadowing of what Cleveland would experience in major league sports soon after.
But even before we dive into the Cavaliers championship, yet another Cleveland entity had captured a championship: The Lake Erie Monsters. In its first season affiliated with the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Monsters absolutely steamrolled through the AHL playoffs with a 15-2 record (first rounds are best of five in the AHL). After a disappointing season for the Blue Jackets, seeing this makes me excited for the future of the team. But the Monsters’ title is more than just a sign of things to come for our state’s NHL club… it started to really turn heads. “Wow,” I heard people say. “A Cleveland team won something. Who would have thought?” Some people even considered this championship the curse breaking one. There’s no right or wrong answer to that, all I know is that it was an incredible overtime finish to clinch the Calder Cup, and tons of people were watching, even non-hockey fans. Hockey has always been my favorite sport and it would be a dream come true to see hockey grow in Cleveland, with people adopting the Blue Jackets as their team. The bond that Cleveland and Columbus have is already strong, but this would strengthen it even further.
Now, it’s time to talk about what happened in the NBA Finals. Raise your hand if you thought it was over after game four? I should be seeing just about everyone’s hand, if I could see you. And who could blame you? It couldn’t have looked any grimmer for the Cavaliers. Down 3-1 to the record-breaking Golden State Warriors, it sure seemed like the writing was on the wall. After all, nobody has ever come back from a 3-1 deficit to win an NBA title. EVER. And then, the Cavs won game five. Then game six. We had Golden State on the run, chasing them to the Oracle Arena and pulling off the impossible, stunning them with a 93-89 victory. The entire world was watching. The entire world witnessed how the Cavaliers had the greatest sports comeback in the history of history. It couldn’t have been a more Cleveland-esque finish. We were on the brink of defeat and then stormed back to win. That’s the Comeback City for you.
So now what? The journey to a winning title has finally come to so many generations of Cleveland fans. The days of losing are in the rearview and Cleveland has proven that it has what it takes to win championships. Not only does the Cavaliers title lift a huge burden off the city, it also alleviates the Browns and Indians of a lot of pressure to end the drought. This is a brand new era in our sports history. The Indians are one of the best teams in baseball right now, the Browns have a promising future with Hue Jackson at the helm, and the Cavaliers will be looking to repeat. This is a time that every Cleveland fan has dreamed of. The time of Cleveland supremacy is finally here. Forget what you know about "yesterday's" Cleveland. This a new town, a new people. Mistake on the lake? No. The only mistake is underestimating our greatness.