On the shores of Lake Erie, County seat of Cuyahoga.
Being from Cleveland has been the greatest experience of my life. It’s the city of my birth, the firsts of just about everything that has made me, well me. But like many of us moving away from home is a part of being a Clevelander. And we take Cleveland in our hearts where ever we go, it’s just how it is. So to LeBron, this is from Cleveland with love.
Since the beginning of 2014 a strange event has been happening– the winds of change have finally hit the North Coast rolling up on to the shores of Lake Erie. For nearly 50 years Cleveland has been starved for a return to greatness. Anyone from here, no matter where they live now are the loyalist of a city that has seen more ups and downs from every aspect that life can throw faster than a Heater from Van Meter, a Bob Feller’s fastball.
People from outside of the area do not understand and sit in shock over the announcement from LeBron James. For those born after 1964 in the city will not remember the great days, nor do they care to study the fact that Rockefeller and Standard Oil were founded in Cleveland, or for that matter anything that is great about Cleveland, they only know the sorrows. All any of us know is if it can happen it will happen in Cleveland. The Shot, The Drive, The Move, and so on and so forth.
AHHHHH but this year a funny thing happened on the way to the road of disappointment. It didn’t happen, The Draft, The Convention and now The Decision. Did everyone in Cleveland finally read ? It’s time to be positive, take risks and roll the dice, just ask Johnny Football, he wanted to come to Cleveland and he’s rolling some dice right?
However, LeBron did something that many of us from Northeast Ohio feel everyday. The urge to go home, the want to be around the place that makes the most sense and proudly admitted how he felt. Fore go fame, power and major markets, going home is the strongest feeling that all of us have inside us. Being amongst people who know us, speak the language, and the familiarity of place, and love. He acted on his urge, where many of us because of jobs, else where have yet to take the chance to go home and feel the summer sun and the those cold winds of winter whipping off of Lake Erie. Cleveland and all of Northeast Ohio is a calling and not for the faint of heart. And above everything LeBron put his sentiment, his love and his passion in writing.
Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It’s where I walked. It’s where I ran. It’s where I cried. It’s where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I’m their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can. My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now.
Going home is magical, rewarding and can be all family consuming for those of us who head home during the holidays. There is a lingering in the air for weeks after our return, that we wish secretly we could just move home. When you are from Cleveland, and the masses of the country are wishing that us those lovable underdogs have their day, well we smile and think next year. We wish in the back half of our minds we had some kind of talent that would bring respect, pride and joy back to the City, the area and to the people; some who were lucky enough to stick out, keep their jobs and proudly could ride out the storms. Even if it has been 50 years.
LeBron would be the first with those larger than life talents. He quietly chose to return home and invest himself, his image, and his belief of bringing Northeast Ohio back to a time he only ever heard about.
I think back many years ago to an old ‘Good Morning America’ where actor Tim Conway did a piece in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. At the end in his voice over he speaks without hesitation.
“They say you can never go home again. I think a part of you never left to begin with”
For all us of from Northeast Ohio, those words are truer than any words I could think of. LeBron I can say I’m jealous of you and I have a great desire to apply The Secret, think positive and get my talents together and bring them home to Cleveland.
For those of you who have never been away from home, think about it a second. You go on vacation and you finally return to what is familiar to you….imagine that and multiply by a one hundred thousand.
Then think of the difference between South Beach and Cleveland. Sorry we didn’t grow up with tans, beaches and sand everywhere. We grew up with Four Seasons each one just as beautiful as the next. Cities that had grit, history and lacked of pink flamingoes. People, who believe in the impossible and are passionate about pretty much everything, from sports, to food to giving a hand up and cheering louder than the decibels from a heavy metal rock concert. if it has Cleveland attached to it we are all in, just don’t mess with the Shoreway or the 480 bridge.
Be at ever so humble, no matter where I roam, there is no place like Cleveland, my home.
Thank you LeBron for showing the world the power of your heart and the home you truly missed.