Cleveland, and Northeast Ohio in general is not an easy place to live. It’s hard. People struggle. We do more work for less money and still get up every day to get things done. The weather is shitty. The construction is ever present, and the sports teams are always a day late and a dollar short. So why bother? Why Ohio? Why Cleveland?
Clevelanders have the word survival etched into our DNA it is the once connector we all share. In a region where racism, classism, and every other -ism always present, we know how to survive against all odds. We rebuild and grow… and sometimes we have to leave for a while.
LeBron had to leave as a part of his Rites of Passage. When you get to see your home from the outside looking in, it shifts your personal paradigm of understanding. It shows you how brutal the world can be. And even though people all over the world will welcome you in with open arms (
as long as you’re talented and able to contribute to their bottom line) there’s no place like home.
It takes a person from Cleveland to come back after the heinous words that were written, the jersey burning ceremonies, the dragging of his jersey from pickup truck. It was scary and terrifying to watch.
I traveled all over this country in the last four years, and there wasn’t a trip where I wasn’t asked how I felt about LeBron. What wouldn’t have been news in any other city became our new “burning river.” And so now all eyes turn back to our glorious city; the place that I proudly “put on” for… and we welcome one of our own back.
So we come home because there is uncommon sense of calm.
We come home because we want our children to grow up knowing that must you bust your butt to be great.
We come home for the corned beef, polish boys, and wing dinners with sauce.
We come home because you don’t always want to be the ones teaching people how to line dance.
We come home because fame doesn’t faze Clevelanders.
We come home because loyalty comes standard.
We come home because success isn’t tied to a win… its tied to the reverent need to never stop trying.
We come home because it’s home.