Miracles have been a rarity recently. The halfway point of 2016 was reached after an avalanche of tragedies which have overshadowed these first six months. Few of my friends or professional peers offer positive commentary about the year so far.
My opinion of 2016 is unprintable. However, a beacon of hope for salvaging a less than stellar year occurred Sunday evening. Maybe there is hope for 2016.
After 10 days of collective grieving from the tragic trifecta of Orlando events and so many other senseless 2016 occurrences, a small miracle occurred Sunday evening to temporarily divert the nation’s thoughts, prayers and collective sadness away from Orlando. Cleveland finally is a winning city.
The beleaguered northeastern Ohio metropolis, with the embarrassing 52-year championship drought, no longer occupies the nation’s professional sports cellar. I was a Carlisle kindergartner when the Browns last claimed a sports title for Cleveland. Miracles do occur and Cleveland is proof.
Timing has always been a challenging component my life. Ironically, I was staying in downtown Cleveland with my now-ex-husband, when LeBron James made his 2010 announcement of defection to the Miami Heat. Betrayed Cavaliers fans quickly evolved from an angry consensus to a hostile mob of James’ effigy-jersey burning protesters. The potential safety of being a downtown visitor that evening was somewhat questionable.
More recently, after several derailed 2016 attempts, I successfully orchestrated a short trip to Florida in mid-June. The destination was straight to the Orlando area and in close proximity to the three recent tragic events. “Relaxing” will never be a term used to describe that trip.
The scope of those horrific and hideously unfortunate occurrences is beyond description or words of condolence. Heartbroken is a less-than-adequate term when expressing sadness to Christina Grimmie’s family, the 49 Pulse nightclub victims, and those who remain hospitalized, and little 2-year-old Lane Graves who was — without question — in the wrong place during his family’s Disney vacation.
Never do I remember one city that has encountered such a series of life-ending tragedies. Resurrecting Orlando’s tarnished image, as a safe, family-friendly haven for Disney-loving tourists, potentially will take years to overcome after the nine-day sequence of unthinkable acts and unfortunate circumstances. Condolences to anyone touched by these multiple tragedies.
The beacon of light after such darkness is bestowed upon a professional basketball team that fell short of the NBA title last year, but returned to try again. Thank you, Cleveland, for the timing of your long-awaited championship. “Miracle No. 1” was needed as a remedy for a challenging year and a horrific sequence of June tragedies.
Cleveland, the state of Ohio and the entirety of the nation could not have been given a more thrilling finish to a championship series with the Golden State Warriors that had been deemed unsalvageable. Never before has a team rallied from a 3-1 game deficit and captured the NBA title, which shall be deemed “Miracle No. 2.”
“Miracle No. 3” was the coaching of Tyronn Lue, to bring the Cavaliers from the verge of implosion during a 3-1 series deficit to Game 7 championship winners. This January 2016-hired head coach succeeded in overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds of solidifying a fractured team into a unified group of championship-seeking basketball titans. Even more astounding is that Lue overcame these monolithic challenges at the young age of 39.
After several unabashed shout-outs during a post-game interview to his hometown of “Mexico, Missouri” — population of approximately 12,000 — Lue admitted that he never cries. When it was over, he was glad that the spotlight was shining elsewhere, so he could simply sit on the bench and cry. “I never cry,” Lue said. “I’ve always been tough and never cried.”
Once in a while, being human has rewards, but sometimes it takes a miracle to overcome the pain of humanity and bring a little joy to the darkness from the last few weeks. We have all cried during the recent June events but Sunday night offered hope that sometimes miracles can occur. Thank you, Cleveland Cavaliers, for bringing some joy to a sad nation. You deserve to be NBA champions.
Mariann Main is a Delaware native and undergraduate of Ohio State University. She is has a master’s degree in community counseling from Georgia State University and can be contacted at MariannMain@gmail.com