It’s a term usually synonymous with agony and humiliation.
Entering 2016, no major professional sports team in the city of Cleveland had won a championship since 1964 – when the Browns took home the “NFL Championship” in the pre-Super Bowl era. The Indians had not won a World Series since the 1950s, losing the Fall Classic twice in a span of three years from 1995 to 1997.
And the Cleveland Cavaliers, a team seemingly always surrounded with hype during both of Lebron James’s stints with the franchise, was still empty handed – often ending up on the wrong side of history from one of Michael Jordan’s most famous buzzer-beaters to the end of a 40 year title drought for the Warriors.
Cue June 2016.
On the 11th of the month, the Lake Eerie Monsters of the AHL (the Cleveland based affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets) took home their first Calder Cup in franchise history, while their Quicken Loans Arena co-tentants, the Cleveland Cavaliers, were playing in their second straight NBA Finals. It was something for the city to cheer about, but the AHL is the AHL, and the Cavs soon found themselves down 3-1 to the Warriors, with the result of the 2015 NBA Finals seemingly destined to repeat itself.
Then the greatest comeback in the history of the NBA Finals occurred. King James delivered his promise to the city of Cleveland, as the Cavs stormed back from a 3-1 deficit to deliver America’s cursed sports city its first major professional title in over half a century, and its second title of some degree in eight days.
And it didn’t stop there.
The Cleveland Indians won the same day that the Cavs took home the NBA title, June 19th. Here we are on July 1, and the Indians have won every game since that day. Their 14 straight wins make it the longest winning streak in team history, and if they can win eight more games in a row, they will set an MLB winning streak record with 22 straight.
I don’t know how to explain. I don’t know if anybody can – not even the players. All that I know is that something extraordinary is happening along the shores of Lake Erie, and as a well known Nike campaign featuring none other than Lebron James goes, “we are all witnesses.”
Browns, you’re up next.