Tuesday October 25, 2016. At 7:00 p.m. tonight, the Cleveland Cavaliers will raise the championship banner they won in June (Phil Jackson and the rest of the NY Knicks will be on hand to watch). One hour later, the Cleveland Indians will host the Chicago Cubs in Game 1 of the 2016 World Series. Too good to be to true right?
Ironically, the only Cleveland team I have seen live in the last six months — for reasons outside of my control — was the Cleveland Browns on opening day in Philly. At 0-7 and playing their sixth different quarterback, the only question for the rest of this season is whether the Browns will figure out a way to play themselves out of the first pick in the 2017 draft. I got to believe that will happen. And of course, the quarterback that gets picked #1 in April will go on to play in All-Star games and win Super Bowls. But we have the Cavs and the Indians, and as they said in Believeland, Cleveland fans are forever hopeful and loyal (i.e., the Browns will start next season undefeated).
There are a lot of story lines in this year’s World Series. The last time the Indians won the World Series Harry Truman was the President (1948). The Cubs have not won since Teddy Roosevelt was President (1908). One of these teams has to win. Indians and Cubs fans have so many years of agony that either winner will enjoy this more than most. At the same time, Indians and Cubs fans have so many memories through these years of losing (that are frankly more important than wins) that years of winning would have made unlikely.
I still remember going with my Dad to see Major League in a Cleveland movie theater in 1989 (I was 11). If you haven’t seen that movie, you should. Granted it was a movie theater packed with Cleveland fans starved of winning for decades, but it was the first and only movie I have been to where there was a standing ovation for a movie screen. And the Indians only won their division — not the World Series!
I also remember taking the Cleveland rapid transit downtown with my buddies to see the Indians. The Indians were so bad when I was growing up that you could get tickets for around ten bucks, which entitled you to an entire row in the bleachers.
As to the present day, of the many stories I have read over the last couple of days, one of the best stories is about the Indians GM Mike Chernoff (link included here) . The other is about Jon Lester (tonight’s starting pitcher for the Cubs) and Anthony Rizzo (the Cubs starting first baseman) . These stories need no explanation. I am sure all you Clevelanders out there will forgive me when I root for Lester and Rizzo. As well as the Indians, of course.
While the regularity of my posts has gone down over the last couple of months, this has absolutely no correlation to my prognosis or how things are going. I am still counting down the days to being done with the intense chemo treatments and returning to normal life. We are very much on track. And notwithstanding how crappy some days have been, I love my time with Jen and the kids. I don’t usually have a chance to watch basketball practice at 4 pm on a Monday or Tuesday or go walking with Jen at 10 am on a Wednesday followed by lunch. My appreciation for these “moments” is even greater as the light at the end of tunnel comes more into focus. These moments, together with the unwavering support from family, friends and colleagues, lights a fire inside of you to come back from all of this and do everything a little better. Jen helps to remind me of this (and everything else that is important) when I get down for stupid reasons (like being out of breath after walking up a hill or feeling like a slob).
On Thursday morning, we head back into the hospital for the last Methotrexate infusion. In July and August this necessitated three nights at the hospital, but Jen’s medical counseling got us out after only two nights earlier this month. [After the injection, you cannot leave the hospital until the levels of Methotrexate in your bodily are significantly reduced. Drinking lots of water helps flush the Methotrexate out of your system. If Jen comes into the room and I don’t have a 1.5 Liter bottle of water in hand, there are problems.] There will be another chemo injection on Friday. After a few days of recovery, we will start the second (and last) “Re-Induction,” which will carry us through mid December. Although certain treatments can slip a two or day because of blood counts, we have less than 60 days to go.