This was always our year: Part II

 

Cleveland is on fire (and I say that to include the dumpster fire that is the Browns so far this season, mind you), and there is no stopping us now. The Cavs win the championship for the first time ever and now, with an impressive record of 91-65, the Indians clinch their first division title in nearly a decade?? Is this real life? Hello, October 🙂

As long as you get blackout drunk every Sunday morning before the Browns play, it’s good to be a Cleveland fan in 2016.

More locker room fun at Bottlegate.com.

Did I ever tell you guys my grandpa shot hoops with LBJ in 2002?

I finally got a chance to watch Believeland last night, which originally aired prime time Saturday on ESPN. And while I wasn’t a huge fan of some of the people they interviewed for it (I’m looking at you, Windy), I thought it was well put together. It was probably super depressing for anyone who has lived through the heartbreak that is Cleveland sports, but, in all honestly I think it was mostly a learning experience for my generation.

As a 25-year-old female who was born and raised in Cleveland, I never rooted for any other teams. I never saw any relevance in any other teams besides the Browns, the Cavs, and the Tribe. I heard stories from my dad and my grandpa about the painful history in Cleveland sports, and I knew we hadn’t seen a championship since my dad was all but five years old, but it’s hard to put that disappointment in perspective when you haven’t experienced 90% of it first hand.

It’s important to note that I only started actively following Cleveland sports when I was a freshman in college, so around 2009-2010. I worked for my school’s football team so I started paying more attention to the Browns, and learning the differences between NCAA football and the NFL. I began to familiarize myself with players, stats, coaches, and all that–partly because I was around dudes like 75% of the time and that’s all they wanted to talk about, and partly because I found it all so interesting. I like learning new things because I’m a freak, but whatever.

When I look back at my own recollection of monumental moments in Cleveland sports history, there are two major ones that I can remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when it happened. You probably know where I’m going with this. First time being, where I was (Myrtle Beach) and what I was doing (sitting on the couch, trying to get everyone to hush while I listened) when The Decision aired, and where I was (at my old apartment sitting on my roommate’s massive sectional) and what I was doing (eating peanut butter, responding to a twitter message about it) as soon as the SI article was tweeted and LeBron announced he was coming home. The fact that those two moments are so ingrained in my memory, made Believeland a lot more meaningful to someone like me.

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In my lifetime, the Indians have been to the World Series twice (and lost), the Cavs went to the finals twice (and lost), and the Browns were the quintessential “Maybe Next Year” team (just as they have always been). Last year when the Cavs made their playoff run, I knew there was no way we would win a championship. But something feels different about this year. Up until last night I had no doubt in my mind that 2016 was our year. No doubt in my mind that we were bringing a championship home. As it stands today, we are 9-0 in the playoffs–sweeping the first two teams–and damn, do we look good out there. This team is fun to watch. They look like they are actually having fun. That’s what’s different about this year… there is no longer these vibes of frustration and disappointment all over the court. I can’t explain it. I just have a feeling.

And then all of a sudden, last night I’m plucked off of my cloud; woken up from my dream state, and reminded that this is what always happens. It gets so close that we can actually see it, touch it, taste it, feel it… And then it’s ripped away from us, in the most painful way possible. The Commissioner’s Trophy was literally in our locker room and it had to be removed. The champagne was popped in the dugout. The drive, the fumble, the move. The shot, the decision, the return. It begs the question, what will this city do if it finally happens? And more importantly, what will we do if it doesn’t?

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Checking in

Hello!

After a long, hot summer full of new beginnings [in my career], planning overload [for bachelorette and surprise birthday parties], and finally getting to be the maid of honor in a beautiful wedding… I finally feel like I have a life back! Summer is officially over in Cleveland, wildly apparent in the 60 degree weather and continuous rain we’ve had all weekend, and football season starts tomorrow–my favorite time of the year. Now that everything has calmed down, I’m also contemplating whether or not I should get a cat…but more on that later.

Tonight we experience a solar eclipse and new moon in Virgo (which happens to be my moon sign), and the most important thing I can say about this is, When you are needless, you are free.” So, let go of all that shit that’s been holding you down and embrace your inner strength and new beginnings! Without realizing the cosmic significance of today, I stumbled across this quote earlier and now see how applicable and appropriate it is to share:

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Hopefully you’ll get to hear more from me now that the busiest most fun summer of my life has come to an end!!!

Johnny Rehab…?

Just mere days after J.R. Smith told NBA.com that he’s playing better basketball in Cleveland because there’s absolutely nothing for him to do out here, Mary Kay Cabot breaks the news that Johnny Manziel entered into a treatment facility to “get the help he needs.” The exact nature of his treatment has not been specified.

My first thought when I heard the news? This has got to be one massive PR stunt for Manziel; backlash for the ESPN tell-all by Fowler and McManamon—published only four days prior to his check-in to rehab—citing the difficulties Johnny Football faced on and off the field this season.

Let’s, for a moment, think back to the most embarrassing thing that happened to you as a 21-year-old on a drunken night. What’s that? You can’t remember all the humiliating shit you’ve done when you were wasted? You’ve mentally blocked your most horrifying moments out of your head? Oh. Okay. Now, imagine those moments you tried so hard to forget are forever immortalized, scrutinized and criticized by the media. Yep, there’s you, blacked out and licking a freakin’ light switch, plastered all over the news, and Twitter, and Facebook the next day for your parents and your boss to see. Not so much fun when you think about it that way, eh? Granted, Manziel should have some form of awareness that he is a public figure when making the decision to go out and party, but he’s also still an inexperienced kid.

With a rookie QB like Manziel, coming into a city like Cleveland, and playing for a team like the Browns, that so desperately needs some consistency… it’s a lot of pressure put on a 22-year-old. The hype surrounding ‘Johnny Cleveland’ being the answer for a struggling organization was palpable. And with that buildup, there comes a lot of responsibility to preserve your reputation.

The media obsessing over his whereabouts off the field didn’t bother me as much at first, because we never saw that lifestyle reflect on the field. That is, until he was named starter in Week 15 against the Bengals, and he clearly looked confused by the routes, he ineffectively called plays, and he couldn’t really make much of anything happen on offense. And then he was too hungover to wake up for treatment before our final game? And other players were affected by this party he supposedly threw the night before too? Now, his party lifestyle seemed anything but harmless. Clearly there are deeper issues going on here that even people within the organization may not even know.

…And proceed to feel like a dick for thinking this was all a publicity stunt.

In all honesty, if Johnny really needs the help, it’s huge that he made the decision to get it. This represents one of the first times since he was drafted that he let his actions speak louder than his words. I have nothing but support and respect for that, and I think it’s safe to say we are all rooting for him to get the help he needs and to work on bettering himself as a person.

As for next season… if he is healthy, I say let Johnny start. Every game. Let’s see if he’s really taking the steps to take his job seriously, and let’s see if he is made for the NFL. Worst case scenario? The Browns go 0-16, and we can draft the next flavor-of-the-week QB next year. Best case scenario? Well, let us all be reminded that in 1996, Brett Farve’s 46-day stint in rehab (for an addiction to Vicodin) allowed him to lead the ’96 Packers to their best season in 30 years, a Super Bowl and an MVP for Farve. I mean. Anything can happen.

Perspective

“If you’re holding the football, you’re going to get tackled.”

I heard this on Dancing with the Stars this past Monday, said by a 17-year-old Sadie Robertson (yeah, the Sadie from Duck Dynasty). I wasn’t actually watching Dancing with the Stars… I was making food (lettuce wraps: they were delicious) and waiting for a new episode of Castle to come on after. I’m glad I paid attention to her little segment, though. Sadie’s words have been stuck in my head all week. Not just because I see the irony in it—her grandfather, Phil Robertson, was a college quarterback who played ahead of Terry Bradshaw years ago, before all this Duck Dynasty nonsense came about. The same grandfather that just recently came under a lot of scrutiny by the press after he vocalized his personal religious views on homosexuality. The same grandfather who then stood by those comments, despite their show being put in jeopardy. I’m not going to say I agree with his stance, but as the old saying goes, “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Or something like that.

Anyway, back to Sadie’s quote, it’s just an interesting thought to entertain. If you’re holding the football, you’re going to get tackled. That’s not to say you can’t make a great play… but expect the tackle is coming. Sooner or later. Accept it. If you’re in the public eye, everything falls under such trivial scrutiny. It’s something I can only assume absolutely sucks. This is why I really don’t understand why some people are so obsessed with getting their 15 minutes of fame—whether it’s being on a reality show, or being some form of YouTube, Twitter or Instagram celebrity. We all think we want that kind of fame, but we don’t understand what kind of price it comes at. You think anyone cares if I tweet something offensive? If my “nudes” leaked? No, because I am a nobody in the public eye. No one is waiting for me to screw up (unless you are, but then your life must really suck).

I think this quote is applicable to the every day struggle of the plebeians too—in putting yourself out there in general. Social situations, job opportunities, dating… if you put yourself out there, expect to get knocked down. But also keep in mind that falling on your ass doesn’t mean you won’t get back up to make a great play.

I don’t know. Just something I wanted to share this week. Here’s Sadie’s dance, in case you were interested: it’s actually kind of fun to watch.

NFL has clear stance on abuse

I understand that football is a male-dominated arena, both on and off the field. I get that my interest in it is strange to some people; others may think I am feigning an interest to impress. But I grew up watching it. I didn’t really show much interest in it until I started working for my college football team, but now I love learning about the game, the players, the politics, and the off-season goings on. So I say this, from a female’s perspective, from the perspective of someone who enjoys the game… the NFL really needs to take a moment and reflect on the message they are sending to men and women regarding abuse. Just because it is a male-dominated institution does not mean that it should perpetuate any form of physical, emotional, verbal, mental, or sexual abuse.

Running back for the Baltimore Ravens, Ray Rice, was arrested and charged with simple assault-domestic violence this past February for striking his then-fiancée, Janay Palmer, in a hotel in Atlantic City. Shortly after, a video surfaced on TMZ of him dragging his (seemingly unconscious) fiancée out of the hotel elevator (supposedly right after the altercation). Rice plead not guilty to third-degree aggravated assault, and escaped jail time for the incident. He married his fiancée one day after his trial. Despite him getting off seemingly scot-free (he was accepted into a counseling program as part of his plea deal), he was still expected to face punishment in terms of fines and suspension under the NFL’s personal conduct policy.

Let’s not forget about the press conference held in May, either, where his wife apologizes for “the role that [she] played in the incident that night.”

When all is said and done, Rice is only facing a fine and 2-game suspension from the NFL. As a female, I’m angry. As a female who thoroughly has a passion and interest in the NFL and football, I’m furious.

“First-time offenders, like Rice, typically are suspended a month or less by the league. In the past three years, only 12 players received more than four-game suspensions, and all were repeat offenders.”

Is this the message we want to send to abusers? Is this really holding NFL players to a so-called “higher standard?” WTF is the NFL smoking?

Obviously not pot, because that would get you suspended for an entire year.

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