Tuesday, May 17, 2016. I was born in Cleveland, Ohio on January 18, 1978. We lived in Cleveland (Beachwood to be exact), until I was 15. My mother was born in Cleveland and my entire family lived in the Cleveland area.
We moved to Boca Raton, Florida in June 1993. My father, who grew up in New Rochelle, NY, went to the University of Cincinnati in Ohio and met my mother there. [You are probably thinking to yourself that no one has ever gone from Westchester to Cincinnati. It is probably true. But he was just following his older brother.] My parents got married right after college. They moved back to Cleveland and my Dad went into the home construction business with my grandfather and great uncle. He ultimately started his own very successful custom home building business until the savings and loan crisis (which ended in the early 1990’s). My Dad fought like an animal to avoid the fate of many other homebuilders (liquidation) and ultimately wound down his business in a controlled manner (people wonder why I enjoy restructuring companies….). He got into the chemical business in the early 1990’s and never looked back. We moved to Florida for a fresh start when he got an opportunity to move into management. Dad, I’ve always been proud of you. You put your family first — always (Mercury Sable baby). You still work your ass off. And you motivate me to be a better person every day. Have I ever said thank you?
From Boca Raton, Florida I went to Syracuse University. And from Syracuse to Cardozo Law School in NYC. I have been in New York for more than 16 years. I love New York. For the last four years we have lived in Scarsdale. And we love Scarsdale. Aside from convincing Jen to marry me and be the mother to my 3 unbelievable boys (I still wonder sometimes how I accomplished this….), moving to Scarsdale is one of the best of the decisions we have ever made as a couple. It is a great community and we are blessed to have made life long friends in a very short period of time. The last 3 plus weeks are a testament to the bonds that we have formed. We are so blessed.
But this is about Believeland because Cleveland is home. That is where I tell people I am from. It has the benefit of being true. My foundation was built in Cleveland. I actually fell in love with my wife in Cleveland. I still remember the weekend. It was Mallie Sobol’s wedding. Jen and I had been dating for a few months when I brought her to the wedding that fall, but we didn’t have the best summer (and it was, of course, completely my fault). But when I brought her to Cleveland to stay in my Uncle’s bunk beds with the Road Runner sheets at my grandparents’ house on Duffield Rd (25113 to be exact), I got to show Jen where I was from and everything changed. That was nearly 14 years ago and I have never looked back.
Today was not my best day. I threw up this morning and didn’t feel good until later in the afternoon. Not complaining, just saying. I actually didn’t shower or brush my teeth until 7 pm. That just isn’t me. But I am adapting and listening to my body. Especially after overdoing it the last couple of days because I so badly wanted to do everything and be everywhere (2 baseball games, a soccer game and my first trip to the mall in 15 years). Yet I still feel like I am not spending enough time with my kids…
But I did watch Believeland this morning when I wasn’t feeling well. It is ESPN’s latest 30 for 30 about Cleveland sports and it aired this past Saturday night (5/14). I taped it Saturday night and for some reason was thinking I would watch it this morning as I got ready for the Cavaliers return trip to the Eastern Conference Finals. It just so happened that this turned out to be the perfect morning to watch this show. Because as crappy as I felt today, watching the 90 minute program about the heartache associated with Cleveland sports and the lack of a championship for as long as anyone can remember, will make it taste that much better when the Cavs win this June! And what a good start it was tonight…
I truly felt Ernest Byner’s pain this morning as I remember wearing Browns gear to school for “Browns day” each week in the fall/winter of 1986 and 1987. [Dad, I still remember you and Hochman making Super Bowl reservations during the championship in ’87 — you jinxed the whole city!] I also remember those Indians teams losing in the World Series, including in 1995 when I flew in from Florida and went with Uncle Mike to one of the games. And who could forget Michael Jordan coming of age against my Cavs (I had a Mark Price poster on my wall). While the non-Cleveland fan who watched this program probably only picked up a few subtle “there will be next year” quotes, for those of us from Cleveland there was much deeper meaning to this program. And for me, I think it is fate that this show aired just 24 hours after I got home from 16 days of intense chemo. That is because this show is about the resiliency of Cleveland. The ability of the city and the people that live in it to get up after getting knocked down. To turn around and make sure that the Browns stay in Cleveland forever even after the team was literally stolen away in the middle of the night. I was actually proud watching the show, not sad. Proud to be from Cleveland and proud to associated with a fan base as loyal as they come. Believeland. What a title. Amen.