Relatively speaking

Okay gang, quick question: What do Chris Perez and yours truly have in common?

Bzzzzzt – time's up. Apparently, Chris and I both have some 'splainin' to do. (However, I probably won't need a lawyer present prior to my saying anything).

According to my sister-in-law (whom we'll refer to as Kathy, primarily because that's her name), I crossed a line with my last column about Cleveland sports. Kathy believes my general tone was "too negative" if I recall correctly. Now, I like to think I have a pretty thick skin when it comes to criticism – in fact, I encourage it – but from family?

That's just plain cold-blooded. And a good cry on my part did nothing to quell the pain, either.

Since Kathy represents roughly one-half of my loyal readership (but only one-third if I'm allowed to include myself) I felt an obligation as – ahem – a highly-trained journalist to duly consider her assertion, and after that, try and talk my way out of trouble. (Hmmm ... talk my way out of trouble? Hey, that's TWO things I have in common with Chris Perez. I'm pretty certain that makes us blood brothers).

See, there are a few things Kathy doesn't understand, which I submit, Your Honor, for your considered opinion:

Although she was raised here and now resides in Westlake once again, she spent the better part of a couple of decades in Hawaii. It's kind of like an Oreo cookie, with Cleveland the outer part and Hawaii the awesome filling. Now, when you eat an Oreo, which part do you like best? Yeah, I thought so. Those of us who never got to taste the filling – the "good life," as it were – and had to supplement our drab existence with stuff like professional sports, may have cultivated a slightly different attitude.

See, I was here for all the heartbreak milestone events in Cleveland – which Kathy skillfully avoided for the most part – such as:

Red Right 88: Ironic name for the play that was called, wasn't it? After all, there was nothing "right" about it. Sipe threw the pick, Oakland won the game and eventually, the Super Bowl. Let's not forget The Drive or The Fumble, either (although we try very hard to). We should have won those games. We didn't.

The Shot: Michael Jordon's impossible bucket over Craig Ehlo in the deciding Game 5 of the 1989 NBA Playoffs. After that, the only shots in Cleveland were being delivered by the likes of Jack Daniels or Ronrico. Yes, friends, it was THAT bad. Or Jim Chones breaking his ankle during the Miracle of Richfield run in the mid-70's. Should have won those games, too. Didn't.

'95 Tribe: One of the most prolific teams in baseball history, winning an astounding 100 games in a strike-shortened (144 game) season. Or a memory which is still fresh in the minds of many: that of the 2007 Indians, who did the old choke-a-roonie after amassing a 3-games-to-1 lead in the ALCS. Both of those Indians teams should have gone all the way; they didn't.

So, when I watch or write about Cleveland sports, I'm usually not laughing and smiling like someone in one of those beer commercials focusing on a sporting event. I'm a bit more subdued like, oh say, someone who's catatonic.

My therapist has suggested a smorgasbord of courses of successful therapy which could snap me from my state of perpetual lethargy, and I think I now know which route I'll go.

Shock therapy.

You know, the kind of shock I'd be in if a Cleveland team actually won a championship.

Jeff Bing

Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!

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Volume 5, Issue 12, Posted 10:41 AM, 06.11.2013