This I Believe

Michael - 2324, Australia
Entered on July 25, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: sports

I firmly believe that you must remain loyal to the sporting teams you support regardless of their win loss record and heaven knows the teams I follow in the United States generally lose many more than they win.

My name is Mike and I live in the small town of Raymond Terrace about 100 miles north of Sydney Australia. At about the age of 18, I am now 60, I for some long forgotten reason I found myself reading the sports pages each day to discover how the Cleveland Indians had faired the day before in Major League Baseball. My interest in the Indians has now blossomed into a long distance love affair with Cleveland with a particular leaning towards its sporting teams.

People say it is nice to be a good loser and, as followers of the Cleveland Indians, Browns and Cavaliers can attest, we get more practice at being good losers than most other sports fans.

My love affair with Cleveland has provided some interesting moments in my life..

As an officer in the Royal Australian Air Force, I had the honour in early 1992 of being responsible for the security arrangements for the arrival in Australia of President George Bush senior. Prior to the visit many USAF cargo aircraft arrived in our Capital Canberra and as each of the crew disembarked I would ask if any crew member was from Cleveland but without success. The captain of one aircraft approached me after arriving from Hawaii on his second delivery and calling me to one side said ” sir, nobody from my crew is from Cleveland and even if they were they wouldn’t admit to it”.

Upon my retirement from the Air Force in 1999 my wife and I decided to do a round the world trip which would include a few days in Cleveland. I did have some rervations about visiting Cleveland, particularly when my travel agent in Australia said “where is it” and an Admirals Club barmen at JFK said why on earth are you going to Cleveland, or words to that effect. I had even deeper concerns when I watched from the airport lounge as a technician placed tape around the cockpit windscreen of the aircraft we were about to board for Cleveland. When I got on board the small aircraft I discovered a sign on my allocated seat stating that the seat was broken and could not be used, this trip is doomed to disaster I said to myself.

The visit turned out to be a major success. The Downtown Sheraton upgrading my wife and I to a suite overlooking Lake Erie, I got to go to Jacobs Field and also to see the new football stadium, which at that time was still being built. Wherever I went the people of Cleveland were both warm and giving. On departure from the Sheraton I was advised that the room service staff had a roster system going to answer any calls we made so that they could hear me say “gday”.

The advent of the internet has meant that I can now suffer the highs and lows of my teams in real time instead of having to wait for the paper. The start of each season brings dreams of victory at last in Baseball, basketball or football, dreams that fade away just like those in the song I’m forever blowing bubbles. But then there is always next year, that will be our year for sure. This I truly believe.