Category Archives: Sports

The Lebron Question

It’s “the most important decision in history” and “the reasons why spew forth by the hour on ESPN’s LeBron Tracker, Deadspin and Esquire’s LeBron Watch, The Plain Dealer’s daily LeBron Rumors section, and the neighbor guy cutting his grass.”


But Scene magazine writer Vince Grzegorek says enough.

In an article titled “Let Him Go,” Grzegorek argues the groveling and the speculation and the posturing is hurting Cleveland’s image. Maybe more than “The King” ever helped it.

“LeBron in Cleveland validates our place on the map; LeBron anywhere else wipes us out,” he writes, “It’s sad, but no more so than our false belief that the guy ever loved us in the first place.”

To which he adds, hilariously, “even if LeBron departs, we’re stuck with ourselves.”

A lot of people don’t realize that it was simply coincidence that brought Lebron, fresh out of St. Vincent-St. Mary high School in Akron, 40 miles up the road to Cleveland. And he’s made a point of reminding people that Akron, not Cleveland, is his home town.

A front page New York Times article Saturday highlights Cleveland’s viral “We are Lebron” musical plea to the home-grown superstar. Everyone in the universe has seen this video by now, featuring Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, and d-list local Cleveland celebrities like weathermen and the Norton Furniture guy.  The Times writer wonders whether it’s wise for New York should stoop to the tactics of “less sophisticated cities,” in it’s own video overtures to the 25-year-old from Akron.

I’ve spent more time thinking about Lebron James in the last two years than I care to admit. I was pretty let down during the NBA Eastern Conference Semi-Finals and I have a feeling Lebron’s going to let us in Cleveland down again, when he enters free agency this summer.

It’s tough to know. That’s part of his carefully choreographed self-promotion.

But I think, if he leaves, it will be ok. Cleveland has stuck by the Browns and the Indians all these years and the city gets a sort of sick pride out of loyalty to losing teams. In a way, it’s kind of fun and comfortable. Cleveland as the underdog. Cleveland we can all joke about. Cleveland that doesn’t surprise.

On one hand, if Lebron stays it’s great for his good-guy image. On the other hand, I really think he’s dying to join enjoy Jay-Z in the billionarie-celebrity lifestyle–the antithesis of Cleveland.

In my experience, Cleveland just doesn’t win when it’s up against the likes of New York, or L.A. or Boston.

I don’t know. Maybe the Cleveland pessimism is getting to me. Better not to get our hopes up. (I’ve heard it said that the secret to fixing Cleveland is to put antidepressants in the water.) What do you think?



Filed under Headline, Sports, The Big Urban Photography Project, The Media

Why One Bostonian Loves Cleveland

Read Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy’s ode to Cleveland here.


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Filed under Sports, The Media

Yay! Cleveland Named Host of Gay Games in 2014

Cleveland has been named the host of the Gay Games in 2014.

Cleveland deligation celebrates on hearing the announcement, via On Top.

Boston, Cleveland and Washington D.C. were competing for the chance to host the games, which are expected to bring $60 million in investment.

The announcement was named today in Colonge, Germany.

From On Top Magazine:

Cleveland’s 2014 Gay Games IX Sports & Cultural Festival will take place August 9 – 16, 2014 and feature 30 sporting events, including a gay rodeo.

Cleveland’s bid for the event was assisted by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame which threw a bid party. The bid’s theme, “My Games Rock,” fit nicely with the application, according to On Top.

Great. News.


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What Happened to Kelly Pavlik?


According to this column on, a boxing web site, one of Youngstown’s most well known natives, boxer Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik, has had a disappointing downturn in his once-promising career.

I know nothing about boxing, but according to this piece, it doesn’t look good.

“How does someone go from being one of boxing’s most celebrated fighters to a forgotten man in less than a year?” the web site asks. “Ask Kelly Pavlik. He should have more than a few pointers for how to run a career into the ground.” Ouch!

For some good background on Pavlik, read this piece from about a year and a half ago in Valley Magazine. His rise from underdog status seemed a metaphor for the city’s troubles – and some say eventual resurgence. “To Youngstown, Kelly Pavlik’s “Rocky-like” rise to success is the very story an entire region has been waiting decades to tell,” Valley said.

“When people ask me what Youngstown is about, what Youngstown is going through, I say look at Kelly Pavlik. A lot of people didn’t think he had what it took,” Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams told the magazine. “For Pavlik to survive that (second) round, and how he was able to stumble, get back up and keep his footing [says a lot about Youngstown]. For the city, the chapter of us ultimately winning hasn’t been written, but we are on our way to the seventh round.”

Unfortunately, Pavlik has had some rough spots since then.

I hope he can turn things around. Are we folks from downtrodden cities too desperate for hero figures? Or did Pavlik deserve the praise he received?


Filed under Featured, regionalism, Sports

The Pain of Being A Cleveland Sports Fan

  Last night was a rough one for fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who took a thorough drubbing from the Orlando Magic to end their championship hopes. Cleveland, in case you weren’t aware, entered the tournament with the best record in the league, the N.B.A.’s Most Valuable Player and Best Coach. The team won the first eight games of the playoffs by more than 10 points each.

  It was hard to tell last night, however, as they fell to a sharp-shooting Magic 103-90 in a one-sided match.

  For Cleveland fans, this kind of disappointment is nothing new. Sports Illustrated actually had a very in-depth article about the Cleveland Curse. The city hasn’t won a professional sports championship since 1964.

  A lot of people thought this would be the year. The author of this article, a Cleveland native, always had his doubts.

74165826MW087_Game_4_San_An  The speculation about LeBron James leaving the city has already begun.

  I was at the FootLocker yesterday, picking up a couple Lebron jerseys, and the guys at the counter were ribbing me, saying the Cavs were overrated. (This was in Columbus.) One of them was wearing a Lakers’ jersey. I thought they were a-holes, but I have to admit this morning I’m a little jealous of those people that root for the Yankees and the Lakers.

  From a random and non-scientific sample of Cleveland sports fans (aka Kate’s Facebook firend’s pages) over the last several days:

“that old familiar feeling….the comfortable misery of being a Cleveland sports fan”

“Clearly being a Cleveland sports fan causes some kind of mental illness, b/c I actually have a small amount of hope they can come back to win 3”

“partially blames the racist Indians logo for cursing Cleveland sports, still dislikes Mike Brown and wants out of the abusive relationship that is being a Cleveland sports fan. GAH!”

“disgusted and not surprised.”

“Oh Cleveland sports, why can’t you be like other crappy teams and be consistently bad instead of filling me with false hope?”

“Cue the fat lady!!”

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