As I was growing up, one television phrase that defined sports was, “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” Having grown up near Cleveland as a sports fan of their teams, through the years, I was heavy into the agony of defeat, but the thrill of victory was pretty scant after 1964 (I am old enough to have actually seen Jimmy Brown play in Cleveland’s last glory days). And, that agony of defeat perhaps is redemptive suffering if it occurs in championship games where one’s team is close to claiming the championship but just falls short at the end of the game. As a Cleveland fan, that thrill of an almost championship was not even there, for usually it was just years of agonizing suffering. Not only did Cleveland not win any championships, their teams participated in precious few championship games. The Indians did have a couple of runs at the World Series in the mid -90’s but those also ended in agonizing defeat.
And even though now I’m a jaded fair-weather fan, I did relish the Cleveland Cavalier’s championship victory. Down 3-1, it looked like yet another year of suffering agony, but then the Cavs bested the best, taking the final game in the final minute – truly the thrill of victory defines sport again.
Congratulations to the Cavaliers for being champions and to LeBron James for being the MVP. And thanks for bringing the thrill of victory back into Cleveland sports.