What Red Right 88 means to me
So personally it has been a tough week. My freshly repaired car overheated and died minutes after my six-day vacation started. I drove overnight in my parents’ car to Wisconsin where I was greeted by my bright-eyed niece with, “You are allergic to feathers!”
Guess what all my sister’s new furniture is made out of.
And I discovered that some upstart has started blogging under the name, Red Right 88, which is a moniker I have used to write about Cleveland sports at two newspapers and on a blog for over five years.
I emailed this person who writes under a pseudonym questioning it and he said he was sticking with it because he worked hard building up a Google search hits the last few months which struck me as odd because a Google search would have shown the name was taken. He also said it might not matter because if a certain someone left, he might quit Cleveland sports which told me he didn’t understand what Red Right 88 really meant.
At my old paper I had a second political column called Half A Glass of Water. It came from a job interview where the interviewed actually poured water into a glass and asked me how much was in it. I knew what she wanted me to say but instead I told the truth – that there was half a glass of water in it.
She pressed on for the answer she wanted and I resisted. I get the urges to be positive or negative but sometimes you just have to be factual.
That is what Red Right 88 means to me. I choose the name so instantly those who were of my age and background would have idea of where I was coming from. But I have found that the name doesn’t mean the same to everyone else.
The name isn’t just about heartbreak. It isn’t cry for sympathy. Yes being a Cleveland Sports fan is about those terms and clips the networks have to roll out over and over and yes I have flash points of anger.
The new guy at work once asked, “So how did it feel when the Browns left town.”
My fists clenched and I rose out of my chair and noticed every Cleveland area native was doing something similar.
But it is also about knowing I will always come back for more. I will believe again.
I was born in Cleveland. My first job was as a vendor at Cleveland Stadium. A Steeler bumper sticker or Yankee cap makes my blood boil.
I have never trusted Dan Gilbert because well he is a carpetbagger from that state up North. Yes he invested a lot into this community and frankly he has profited well. While we all enabled that Kid, he was at the top of the list. But have to stay that Gilbert’s open letter was the perfect antidote. It rallied the troops and it got Cleveland fans ready to fight back.
The truth is Mr. Gilbert as bad as I thirst for a title you don’t have to deliver on your madman promise. As a Cleveland fan all I ask for is that you rebuild this Cavs team the right way. Take your time, I have waited all my life and I can wait a little more. All I ask if that you demand one thing of your employees, your coaches and your players – Don’t ever quit.
Every season, it is just expected that sometimes NBA players don’t show up and they walk through the motions. Don’t tolerate that. Play hard for every minute of every game. Play to win but if you play hard even if you get beat this town will embrace you.
Red Right 88 is the two sides of being a Cleveland fan – there is the heartbreak but there is also eternal optimism. Someday, one day Lucy will hold on and keep the ball still.
The point is in the middle of all that is the simple fact that we don’t deserve to win anything and we won’t always lose because we are cursed. One day a team will figure it out, the breaks will go there way and they will get the job done because they did it right and all this will be worth it because we didn’t give up.