Cleveland Rocks

Cleveland Rocks

My Tribute To The Greatest Fans On The Planet: Clevelanders.
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“The drought is over! The Cleveland Cavaliers are NBA Champions!”

In this moment I was jumping for joy, I was hugging everyone around me and screaming at the top of my lungs. At last, after 52 years, my beloved hometown of Cleveland was finally getting the championship that it deserved. I, like many Cleveland fans, teared up, remembering how much this city has gone through and how good it feels to finally win it all. The drive, the fumble, the shot, the move, the decision, and of course the two World Series losses by the Indians in the 1990’s, they all seemed to melt away in this moment. I think things are going to be different from now on…

Why do sports make us feel this way? Why is it, that when athletes emerge victorious, so do we? We look to them for comfort, support, and as one Clevelander put it, as “a pleasant distraction” from “the other things in life” besides sports. Grown adults and children alike are hypnotized by the power that sport has on the human soul. The answer is not a very complicated one. These athletes, no matter where they are from, are part of a team. That team represents a city and her people. They are indeed one in the same.

Before Sunday night, the last championship that the city of Cleveland won was in 1964 with Jim Brown and the Cleveland Browns football team becoming NFL Champions. In the 1960’s, the city of Cleveland really took a turn for the worst. The once industrial giant, a crowned jewel of the steel industry, began to die. Jobs and opportunity left Cleveland, and the sports teams reflected that struggle and heartache felt by Northeastern Ohio. Time after time, the Indians, Cavs and Browns ripped the heart out of Cleveland with a sports history that is known to most sports fans in the United States. So often the teams would come so close, only to end up so far. It created an almost comical attitude surrounding Cleveland sports, and ultimately should have ended them completely, as fans should have stopped coming and supporting the local clubs. When Art Modell moved the Browns to Baltimore in 1995, it should have been the end for Cleveland football. But for some strange reason, Cleveland wouldn’t let their team go. They fought and fought to get it back and it got its wish in 1999 when a new Browns team emerged, though they yielded similar results as the last franchise.

And yet the fans still showed up, decked out in Cleveland gear, cheering just as hard as the last game for their team. We still have blind optimism for the Browns every August, and still are thinking about playoff chances at 3-7. We love our Indians and wear our rally caps and cheer down 6 runs in the 9th inning. And we love our Cavaliers who suffered the heartbreak of LeBron’s “Decision” in 2010. Cleveland fans are just… different. We’re a little crazy, a little irrational. We keep getting our heart broken but we come back for more. Some say it’s something in the water over here. Or perhaps the dark, gloomy days year-round make a thumping on the Browns look almost up-lifting. Or maybe, it’s the love that’s here in Cleveland. That’s the thing that holds this sinking ship together.

When I watched LeBron hoist the Larry O’Brian Trophy on Sunday night, I knew what this would do to my city. Cleveland, we’re going to be okay. If we can get through the 52 year drought, we can get through anything together. All it takes is a little faith, love, and as many Clevelanders will openly admit; copious amounts of alcohol... The fierce devotion to family roots, to the city itself, and to our teams show just so much we love this hell-hole we call home. No matter where life takes me in this world, Cleveland will always be my home. It’ll always be a place that I feel pure, true, deep, love. Go Tribe, Cavs, and Brownies.
Cover Image Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Andy Ruiz Jr. May Not Look Like The Typical Boxer, But It Doesn't Make His Victory Any Less Deserved

Andy Ruiz Jr. just proved that dreams can come true.

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On June 1, boxing fans witnessed something special as Andy 'Destroyer' Ruiz Jr. defeated Anthony Joshua via TKO after going seven rounds in the ring at Madison Square Garden in New York City to become the first ever Mexican-American heavyweight champion of the world. Ruiz Jr. (33-1) was a heavy underdog (+1100) heading into the match-up with Joshua (22-1) but ultimately flipped the script to hand the British fighter his first professional loss ever. Surely the fight will go down as one of the greatest moments in sports history.

Some members of the media and fans have been quick to label the fight as a 'fluke' and 'rigged' which in the end is no surprise to me. That always happens in the sports world. Many did not believe we would get this result yet failed to remember the one rule of sports -- expect the unexpected. Over the past week, I've been coming to the defense of Ruiz Jr. in the wake of others choosing to call him a joke.

I was shocked and surprised to hear two of my favorite sports analysts, Stephen A. Smith and Shannon Sharpe, make fun of Ruiz Jr. and frame him as just a guy that looked like 'Butterbean.' When I viewed their tweets on social media it honestly made me upset. Sure, Ruiz Jr. may not have fit the mold of what a professional boxer should look like, but they simply should not have just judged a book by its cover.

Personally, I thought it was disrespectful for Smith and Sharpe to throw shade at Ruiz Jr. in the way they did. I felt like they should have done a better job of acknowledging the winner considering the result of the match. Yet choosing to bash someone because of their physical composition appeared like a low blow. The very foundation of sports allows people of all shapes, sizes, genders, races, and backgrounds to compete -- that's why most people follow them in the first place.

Smith was open behind his reasoning for his tweets in which I'd like to shed some light on. Smith was upset about how boxing time after time contains elements of corruption with fans having to wait years until promoters schedule big fights. He along with other followers of the sport were looking forward to the highly anticipated yet potential future match-up between Joshua and fellow heavyweight Deontay Wilder. Smith believes that by Ruiz Jr. beating Joshua it essentially diminished the chances of that fight ever happening with the same amount of buildup, but that still doesn't provide any excuse for mocking the new heavyweight champ.

Ruiz Jr. was there for a reason and ultimately seized the opportunity that was right in front of him -- that's not his fault for getting the job done. Just because someone doesn't look like the part doesn't mean they don't possess the same qualities and characteristics as their counterparts. The following pair of videos display the amount of talent Ruiz Jr. does have in the ring. Even fellow boxer Canelo Alvarez and former UFC lightweight/featherweight champion Conor McGregor acknowledge that and have come out to say something on their behalf.

Unfortunately, I don't expect much to change because most will stand their ground and continue to behave the same way. All I'm saying is I did not enjoy some of the top figures within sports media stereotyping Ruiz Jr. based on his looks. I would think that we would be better than that and recognize that anyone can accomplish something great in this world. It all just starts with a simple dream.

I understand and respect other people's takes on this subject, maybe I'm looking into things deeper than what they are, but it struck a chord with me and I felt the need to say something about it.

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