It was game four of the five game series with the Yankees and my 95 year old papa, who has followed every Indians game since coming to the USA in 1949, asked for a bottle of champagne because he believed they would win this and wanted to celebrate like he was in the locker room.
Papa is the most positive person I know, he has so much faith. The Indians were down 0-3 and he’s still cheering them on as if they are the team who is winning. When the world is crashing around us, politics aside, he still goes to church every day, he prays every day and tells others to pray too, he believes that things are going to get better. He believes that something good will come and we will pull through and win this.
That’s what Cleveland and Cleveland sports do, they give you something to believe in.
A few weekends ago on a Saturday morning my sister and I were out on a coffee run and we noticed this guy and his two sweet little daughters in matching outfits like we used to wear. We started talking with him asking about his daughters, it turns out they were 13 months apart, which is similar to my sister and I who are 11 months apart.
The little girls were wearing these adorable blinged-out matching jackets that said “Tomlin 43” on the back. Not realizing, I said to him “Their jackets are so cute! Is that a new brand or something? What does it mean?”
He didn’t laugh at me. He didn’t scowl. He wasn’t even offended that I didn’t know that he was Josh Tomlin of the Cleveland Indians. He didn’t tell me who he was as if he had something to prove, he let another fan approach him, shake his hand, and that is when I realized. I gave him my apologies and wished him good luck because he had a game that night, and we both went our separate ways.
Josh Tomlin was just out trying to enjoy a Saturday morning with his daughters like any normal dad. The Indians make me believe that not all professional athletes are what the media makes of them.
Not to mention the Cleveland Cavaliers who sit in Progressive Field wearing their Indians jerseys every chance they get. Do you know of any other city where the NBA team goes to the MLB team’s games? Because I sure can’t think of one.
Cleveland sports make me believe that there is humility still left in this world.
The Sunday night after meeting Josh Tomlin, the unthinkable happened in Las Vegas. This changed the city of Cleveland, and many other cities in the United States. When you go downtown for the baseball games you can see all of the extra security set up around the stadium and the entire city.
But when you enter the stadium or walk the streets of downtown or drink and cheer in the bar across the street, there is not one sign of hatred. There is nothing but love for the city and the people, love for the sport, hope for the team, and hope for the future. There is a feeling of safety and unity because in Cleveland we have reason to believe that things will get better, that we will pull through and win this.
That’s what Cleveland does, that’s what the Indians have been doing and will continue to do. They give us something to believe in.
Thank you Cleveland, and Cleveland Indians, for giving me reason to believe that there is still good in the world even when it’s so hard to see. Thank you for showing me and the entire city that it isn’t just baseball, it’s so much bigger than that. It’s about bringing the city together, proving there are things out there that are so much bigger than ourselves. It’s about believing in each other, believing in ourselves, believing in where we are from and where we are going and learning to choose love and forget hate along the way.
Maybe we didn’t win the game, or the series, but we made history, we brought unity to the city, and we won the ability to believe that we can do it and good things are coming our way.
“They don’t call this town Believeland for nothing, right?” –Andrew Miller