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The little city that could

According to Wikipedia, the city pictured above is the 7th most dangerous city in the world. Sports teams in Cleveland haven’t won a championship in 44 years. The economy in Cleveland is bad and getting worse. Politicians in Cleveland are corrupt, power-hungry and greedy. Lake effect snow is just a weird breeze away.

On that note, I’d like to make a statement to the national media.


It seems like every day I’ll flip on ESPN, CNN or one of the cable news networks and something is said along these lines:

  • “…Cleveland’s economy is just terrible. Poor Clevelanders.”
  • “…not a single championship in 44 years. Can you imagine that?”
  • “It’s amazing that there are still people left in the wasteland that is Cleveland.”
  • “Cleveland is one of the most devestated economies in the U.S….and it’s all George Bush’s fault.”

Anyone else sick of hearing this?

Let’s think about it for a moment. Cleveland’s economy, while a tad slow, still has a ton of room for growth. Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport is one of the main hubs of Continental Airlines, seemingly the only airline that is not being affected by rising fuel costs. The lakefront is primed for development (now if only those stupid politicians could do something about it…). Cleveland’s cost of living is among the best in the nation.

In sports, we haven’t had a championship in 44 years, but on the other hand, none of our teams perenially bad, either. The Indians had an off year but still had some memorable moments and are poised to contend next year. Even though the Cavs struggled with injuries and rebuilt their entire team in the middle of the season, they took the best team in the league down to the final few minutes of Game 7 of the conference semi-finals. The Browns had an improbable 10-6 season last year and just missed the playoffs. If you’re not in the mood for the conventional sports, what about a Lake Erie Monsters game, or a Cleveland Gladiators AFL game?

And if you want culture, Cleveland’s got that too. Little Italy is full of mom-and-pop shops and restaurants that makes Cleveland Heights (maddeningly) like the streets of Rome. The Chicago Tribune has called Cleveland the hot new dining scene. Playhouse Square is probably the best theater district between New York and Chicago.

It’s easy to focus on Cleveland’s shortcomings. But if you focus on the good, you find that Cleveland is a pretty nice city to live in. And the media feeling bad for us works against us in two ways: 1) it scares new people and talent away from the city, and 2) it’s against most true Clevelanders’ nature.

Instead of complaining about the weather when it’s bad, Clevelanders notice when it’s good and enjoy it. Instead of being fair-weather (pun intended) fans of the Browns, Indians and Cavs, Cleveland fans support the teams when they’re bad or good (particularly the Browns). Instead of wistfully dreaming of the Pacific coast or Atlantic coast, Clevelanders drive up to the tenth largest lake in the world and enjoy a day at the beach.

Don’t let the media attack or victimize our city. Living in Cleveland is a lot better than its made out to be, because, like anywhere else in America, with some hard work and a little bit of luck, anyone can excel.

I’m proud to live in Cleveland, and like Fausto Carmona, I’ll defend it.

Originally posted on Cleveland, Curveballs and Common Sense on September 24, 2008 at 2:46 PM. Post text content © 2008 Jimmy Sawczuk. All rights reserved.