(Editor’s Note: I ask all our writers to write a story to give you a background on their life and their Cleveland fandom. Today’s comes from our newest writer Adam Cellini who did an excellent job looking at the All Star snubbing of Lonnie Chisenhall in his first article. I bet many of you can relate to Adam and we hope you look forward to his style of writing.)
After years of isolation, the internet has given me the chance to surround myself with bitter Cleveland fans like me!
To begin, I have to confess that I am personally not from Cleveland nor have I ever lived in the state of Ohio. I became a Cleveland fan by association with my loud, Italian-American family from Collinwood, a trait that my father regrets passing down to me every Sunday between the months of September and December. My parents moved to Marietta, GA with my infant older brother before my birth in 1991, and since then I have been a brash ambassador of Northeast Ohio professional sports and the Ohio State Buckeyes to the “high class” fans of the South.
However, Cleveland has never been far from my upbringing, including multiple trips to Shaker Heights and Chagrin Falls to spend time with family. And although I grew up far removed from my teams, I’ve still had snapshot opportunities to be a part of their history.
Living near Atlanta, I had the chance to attend a 1995 World Series game at Turner Field, and thankfully all I can really remember is being bundled up and waving around my Albert Belle cowbell. Still, the 90’s provided me with all the excitement I needed to be addicted to Indians’ baseball.
In 1996, I was still in the infancy of my fandom, with a limited understanding of team spirit that went about as far as the miscellaneous Cleveland sports uniforms my parents had added to my wardrobe. However, that didn’t stop me from calling Art Modell “The Grinch” on national television, a personal victory that the older, wiser me looks back on with pride. Especially when all I’ve really experienced as a Browns fan is the horrific reboot of Cleveland football that followed Modell’s move, and the nauseating success the Ravens have enjoyed since.
In 2006, on a last-minute trip to Columbus, my father and I got to sit in The Horseshoe and watched No. 1 Ohio State beat No.2 Michigan in a 42-39 slugfest, a morning ’til night experience that I will carry with me forever. Unfortunately, we had to return to our home in Orlando, FL and watch those same Buckeyes receive a sound beating from the University of Florida in the National Championship, providing enough ammunition for my Gator peers to last through the rest of high school.
And just like the national championship, I had to weather the blow of LeBron’s departure from the Cavs while living in Florida, an environment saturated with those hollow, clueless Miami Heat fans, spending every year of his stint in South Beach covering my ears from the egotistical crap that fan base spews on an annual basis. I wish I could have seen the look on some of their faces when he decided to return to Cleveland.
Since I have spent the entirety of my life as a Cleveland fan surrounded by opposite-minded individuals that like to constantly remind me of the shortcomings of my teams, I have become a strongly opinionated and quick-to-defend analyst of our teams. In my writing, you can expect much of the same: a black-and-white stance on team/player performance and front office moves. I’m done letting ESPN tell me that Brandon Weeden and Brady Quinn are good quarterbacks, convincing me to be optimistic. I trust my eyes only, and I’m looking forward to connecting with the rest of you who passionately watch these teams and know what they need.