Rough and tumble: the spirit of Cleveland

Steven Schoenwald, Running on Fumes

A few weeks ago I took RTA’s Healthline Transit service over from the main campus of the Cleveland Clinic towards public square. I was planning to meet up with a friend of mine over at Progressive Field to watch the Indians face the White Sox. After purchasing some bagels from a local convenience store, I headed over to the stadium and sat down at one of the picnic benches set up near the right field dugout. Here, watching chaos from two below average teams, I felt relaxed.

There is a reason true fans of baseball and other sports come to watch their teams play even when likely to perform poorly. For some it may be the underdog factor. For others, it may be to see the prospects of today develop into the stars of tomorrow. Others still are driven to games with an unwavering devotion to their hometown team as if it were their significant other. These fans are willing to go down with the ship if necessary, pushing onward with the hope and vision of a far-off but ever-present championship victory. This is the plight of the Cleveland fan, as well as a defining characteristic of the people who live in it.

As a whole, Clevelanders are cut from the same cloth, a fiber of which is contributed by my own and each of your lifestyles. Clevelanders are hard working, gritty people. They understand that nothing will ever be given to them, and they must fight to get ahead and succeed. The national media will forever look down upon them, and celebrities will oftentimes write jokes at their expense. Still, the Clevelander doesn’t mind (too much, anyways). Pre-dispositioned as members of a ‘second class city’, the Clevelander is willing to take risks and use innovation to his/her advantage. This comes in many forms: the innovation to switch professions when times are tough, the innovation to start a business or invent with nothing more than a dream or idea, the innovation to research to find something never before discovered, among others. The short story of my life follows similar lines; from a young age, I studied hard and independently. I used sports as a way to take a break from my studies, both by playing and listening while I worked or read. I was able to get into the college of my choice and am working long hours in order to pay off my tuition. The little spare time I have I enjoy spending with friends and checking up on world news. I try to look at life practically, not through the rose tinted glass of LA or the steely better-than-thou eyes of New York, but as you and I do: as a Clevelander.

After I finished my lunch, I headed over to work. The Indians had lost, but I really enjoyed my afternoon. By watching that game, I felt like I was watching my city moving along with me. We both have a goal to reach, and will experience hardships and failures along the way, together. But as history has proven, we shall survive and persevere. There’s always next year.