All In

Generally, this blog has been reserved for all things tied to Sigma’s line of work – financial planning and investments. The rare exceptions have generally had to do with sports, most especially my colleagues’ beloved Detroit Tigers.

Today the blog is about the pride of being a Clevelander.  Northeast Ohio has had the privilege and the pain of having three major sports franchises: the Browns, the Indians, and the Cavaliers.  For those under 60, we were either not born or too young, to remember the last time a major Cleveland sports team won a championship.  Yet we continued to support our sports teams, all three of them, year in and year out.  As a Clevelander, I am proud that in spite of our frustrations and disappointments we have continued to fill the seats and support our teams.  Those outside of Northeast Ohio cannot fathom or identify the experience of cheering for teams, going to see games, listening to the sports news about their teams for their entire life and not experiencing a championship.

The 52 year drought bought with it many memorable moments -all painful disappointments with Cleveland teams on the verge of championships, only to watch a painful game-ending play and another team celebrating a championship victory.  The list of painful moments is long and crosses each sport. Clevelanders are often reminded of the list, with t-shirts sporting the list, sports media doing feature stories on our pain, and by everyday sports lovers (like the gentleman who checked our bags in at LAX airport).  When asked where we were going we noted “Cleveland”, to which he responded by listing each and every painful moment.

The most recent media reminder is the ESPN documentary “Believeland”, a documentary dedicated to displaying, with running commentary, each of the events on the list.  The documentary was written by Scott Raab, a former Clevelander now living in NYC. Turns out Scott and his son were sitting next to my son on the plane yesterday morning traveling from NYC to Cleveland.  All were flying into Cleveland to be in town for “GAME 7” despite the game being played in Oakland, California.  Turns out, in his pocket, Scott was carrying his ticket from Cleveland’s last championship game, the 1964 Cleveland Browns (won before the Superbowl even existed!).  My son was flying in to meet all of his friends who too were coming in from all over the country to be together with their childhood buddies to root for their beloved Cleveland sports team in hopes that despite the odds (having been down 3-1 in the series and playing in the toughest arena in the country) somehow, some way, a Cleveland championship would prevail!

The night was like no other ever in Cleveland.  The city was “ALL IN” (the Cavs’ slogan this season). Despite the game being in Oakland, the Cavs arena (The “Q”) was filled with a watch party that was sold out in seconds – as was the plaza outside the Q and every street, restaurant and bar within about 5 city blocks.  I dare say there has never been more people in downtown Cleveland at one time than last night. As the buzzer sounded the city erupted in jubilation.  No overturned cars, no cars lit on fire, no riots just sheer jubilation…..for hours.

LEBRON was not to be denied.  He had come home from Miami to lead his team and his city to victory.  Today, those of us in Northeast Ohio wake up to a new reality — a championship and a new list:  “The blocked shot”, “The basket”.

All comments are welcome.

Denise Farkas, CFA®