Doomed From the Start

I was cursed when I was born. I had a father who was (and still is) a sports fan. And I was born in Northeastern Ohio.

I got married this past April. Among the many people in attendance were my dad, my older brother, and some friends from high school. The NBA post-season had just begun and all anyone could talk about was how the Cavs were going to cruise right through and eventually beat the Lakers to win the championship. That's what everyone said.

Everyone but me, that is. Because evidently I'm the only one who's learned anything over the last sixty years.

The last time a Cleveland sports team won a national championship was in 1964, but that doesn't really count because it was before the NFL merger. The the last real championship a Cleveland team won was in 1948 and it was the Cleveland Indians. They've got over sixty years since then, the second longest drought in baseball history (behind the Chicago Cubs). But don't feel bad for Chicago -- they have teams like the Bears, the Bulls, and even the much hated White Sox, who have all won championships since the Cubs did.

I was 11 when "The Drive" happened. I was 12 when "The Fumble" happened. I think I was too stunned to react after "The Drive." I can remember crying, I was so upset, after "The Fumble." I was a 12 year old boy and for the second year in a row my favorite football team was going to end the season one game away from the Super Bowl -- and they lost to the freaking Broncos again.

I was 11 when Sports Illustrated declared an "Indian Uprising" heading into the season.

I was 13 for "The Shot." That's a nice stretch, right there, of three years of sports misery. While others, like my dad, had languished with their teams through decades of awfulness (or, team, specifically, as no one was as regularly bad as the Indians), I had come of age at a time when the Cleveland sports scene was booming -- but just enough to make you really care about them.

When the mid-90's hit the Indians, the team nearest and dearest to my heart and the team that had, up until that point, mostly been so bad that they never really hurt me in any way, decided to follow in the footsteps of their Cleveland sports brethren. Honestly, I was just so happy they actually made it to the World Series that I wasn't all that upset when they lost in '95 -- at least they got there, which was more than the Browns or Cavs could say.

But then came 1997. And I felt a level of pain I didn't know could exist, at least not after watching a sporting event.

And where are we now? The baton of pain has been handed to the Cavs, the current best sports team in Cleveland, and they've come through with flying colors. There was no LeBron/Kobe, and certainly no championship for Cleveland. Because that's just not how we roll.

Cleveland is, by far, the city in most dire need of a championship. It's gone the longest and, sadly, I don't know that I see a light at the end of that particular tunnel. The real victims in all this, though, aren't my dad, brother, and I. It's not my friends. No, the real victims are our children.

Because even though I live in Los Angeles, I will be raising my (currently hypothetical, so don't get any ideas) children as Cavs, Browns, and Indians fans. And, no doubt, they will have to suffer the way that I have.

It builds character -- at least that's what I tell myself every season...

I must have an awful lot of character by now.