I am continually humbled by the loyalty of Cleveland sports fans. Raised on the Philadelphia Eagles, I would lament year after year when we would make it to the playoffs just to blow it at the last second (trust me, given the Eagles’ current record, the irony of that statement is not lost on me).
I really don’t think I understood what a die-hard fan is until I moved to Cleveland and witnessed a city who continues to support their teams regardless of the challenges and betrayals of the past. Quitting just isn’t in the vocabulary.
And that’s incredibly admirable. While Cleveland fans aren’t pushovers and give critical feedback when it’s justified, there’s still a sense of hope and rebuilding. A celebration at all victories – large and small – never taking for granted the good times.
I was struck by this when I went to my first Cleveland Cavaliers game last week.
I’ll confess — running on 3 hours of sleep and overwhelmed by the hecticness of the arena before the game, I was a tad cranky when I sat down in my seats.
And as the first half of the Cavs-Bulls game ended, the pessimist in me knew the Cavs were likely to not win. Given my disposition that night, I typically would have checked out and taken a walk around the stadium for the rest of the game.
But from behind us came the chanting of a very young Cavs fan. Up until the end of the game, you could hear him without fail cheering on the Cavs defense every time the Bulls had the ball and going wild whenever we made a basket. You couldn’t deny it was contagious and I found myself caught up in cheering the Cavs on too.
Yes, the Cavs couldn’t close the point gap enough to pull out a win in the game’s fourth quarter; however, by that point, it didn’t matter.
When I let go of my concern over whether the Cavs were going to win or lose, I had a blast.
From the Cavs’ Scream Team hip hop dance crew to the halftime show of trampoline artists, the Q made it difficult to not have fun during the game.
I had been to the Q before for Monsters Hockey and really enjoy the energy of those games; however, the Cavs blew that away – literally – with their pre-game fire show.
They’ve also added some new dining options including Jonathon Sawyer’s See-Saw Pretzel Shoppe. My favorites from what we tried were the Roasted Garlic and Parmesan pretzel, Cheese and Pepperoni pretzel roll and the hot dog pretzel roll with Sir Kensington’s ketchup.
I haven’t been to a Browns game, so I can’t speak from personal experience on their food offerings; however, I’ve been very pleased by the variety and quality of food I’ve had at the Indians and now the Cavs – more than in other professional sports venues I’ve visited. They seem to try hard to give fans a good experience regardless (or in spite of) what’s happening during the game.
And of course, we got to celebrate Christmas Story Night with plenty of pink bunny costumes and my very first leg lamp.
While a Cavs win would have been the bow on the package, the entertaining evening we had at the Q still warmed this sports scrooge’s heart.