Cleveland fans are proud to claim the title of some of the most loyal fans in sports. Be it the Browns, Cavaliers, or Indians (well, maybe. SELL THE TEAM! Sorry, I’m at it again), Cleveland fans will always be there to root on their team. They follow their teams and players with an intense passion, the likes of which is very rarely seen. Clevelanders love their players like they’re a part of their own family. Sometimes, however, we’re a little too passionate. It’s not the passion I dislike, it’s the overvaluing and the optimism that I sometimes have a problem with.
Ben Broussard had a short stint as a childhood hero of mine. Last year, I picked the Browns to go 8-8 with a third round, “rookie” QB. I also picked the Cavs to be a playoff team. We were all beginning to throw the welcome party for Andrew Bynum, once the trade with the Lakers and Magic went through. The image of Bynum in a Cavaliers uniform danced through my head for days and days until he became a 76er. I love the optimism, but right now it’s not helping me or any of us.
I need a little dose of reality from time to time. While I do think I have vastly improved in my overvaluing of talent and over-projecting my beloved teams, I still have a ways to go.
To be a good journalist, writer, analyst, or member of the media of some sort, it is of utmost importance to have some sort of objectivity. Yes, the compassionate fandom and the emotion can still be there, but even while rooting for a team, you can be objective. Look at Bernie Kosar. Bernie will be the first to openly root for the Browns, even when he may not be supposed to, but he will also be the first to tell you, objectively, how a certain player is or how the team looks as a whole.
It’s very important for me, and for all Cleveland sports fans, to continue to be passionate, loyal, and hungry. It’s important for us to show our love for these teams. It’s important to be positive, especially in all of these bad times. However, for myself, and for some of you, reality is very important as well. For me, it’s important in my endeavors to create a career as a member of the media. For some of you, it may be the same. However, for most of you, I request it for the sake of the city of Cleveland, it’s teams and it’s fans.
You see, it may be naive, but I think we can change the times in this town. I think that the fans, the informed, respected, and passionate fans that we can be, can change the reputation of the city of Cleveland. Yes, we can still be rabid and crazy-loyal, but sometimes I feel as though we get a “naive” or “uniformed” wrap as well, and that’s what needs to change.
Believe me, I am very aware that there are some among us who are very intelligent, respected, and informed. The creators of, and other contributors to, More Than A Fan would be a few of them. There are a quite a few of them on Twitter and throughout the Blog-o-sphere, and they are the ones who have inspired me to write this piece. Their opinions and thoughts are so incredibly eloquent and well-put-together. They have inspired me to want to grow enough to someday soon reach their level. They have found that balance between journalist and fan that I find necessary to be a credible and respected member of the media.
I love Twitter because it allows people who normally wouldn’t have a “voice”, per say, to tell the world of their thoughts. In Cleveland, and in the Cleveland sports world, fans are not shy to share their opinions. As social media continually grows, I think that Cleveland has an opportunity. If we can’t run these teams that have been so poor and mediocre for so long, let us at least be informed and learned enough to show that if we had the reigns, maybe we could. Maybe in addition to being one of the most loyal fan-bases in the sports world, we could be the most informed as well.
If we don’t change now, things might stay in this rut of mediocrity for a long time. I know, and we can all tell, that loyalty isn’t going to be enough to change anything in Cleveland.
Follow Hayden on Twitter @H_Grove