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A Fan's Dilemma

July 5, 2014 - Al Stephenson
I am a Cleveland sports fan. There I said it. I want so badly for a Cleveland team to be a champion. MLB, NBA, NFL... it doesn't matter. I just want to be able to savor it along with all the other long suffering fans of the mistake by the lake.

But - at what cost?

It's not easy being a Cleveland fan. I want the championship experience. I don't necessarily want to root for guys I can't stand in order to get it. Therein lies my dilemma and it pops up in each of the three sports I mentioned.

I'm trying my best to cope with the off field antics of Johnny Manziel. For many fans, it doesn't matter what he does off the field. If he can play on it and bring us a championship - he can be the biggest a#*&*# off it. Well, he is trying to become the latter. I think Johnny Football is a twerp and I'm not sure I even know what that means. He is setting himself up for a big fall while laughing at those who criticize him - all the way to the bank.

Do I want to see him succeed? I'm not sure. Only for the sake of Cleveland sports. I really wish he had been drafted by someone else and then I could gloat if he does not pan out. Sorry, that's just the way I feel.

Then there is the Cavs who are pursuing public enemy #1 in the eyes of most Cleveland fans. LeBron James is a free agent. He spurred us four years ago, going on national television to announce he was taking his talents to South Beach. Have we forgotten that agony? Do we really want him back? Again for some fans - if it means a championship - all will be forgiven. I don't know if I'm willing to go that far. I guess I want my Cleveland sports heroes to be loyal.

Then there is the case of Nick Swisher. An Ohioan, he revels being in Cleveland. He is as easy to like as any athlete I've ever watched play. He is great in the clubhouse and... he can't catch a cold playing first base and is batting below the Mendoza line. Should we trade him for some knucklehead that can play while being everything we hate in a spoiled pompous athlete?

The view from my seat suggests that I want more than I can have. A championship with athletes who measure up to my standards of decent human beings.

I'm telling you, being a Cleveland sports fan is no easy chore.


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