Sports in the Midwest
New Yorkers don’t understand how much sports means to midwesterners.
In the midwest, the celeb 8x10 on the wall of the pizza place is the local newscaster. That’s the most famous person around, the guy who does the weather. There, you are a big celebrity if you’ve been on Law & Order. In NYC, your waitress has been on Law & Order.
When the local sports team makes the playoffs, a midwestern city stops. Watching that game is what the city is doing that night. Yes, the entire city. Were you planning on performing that night? Sorry, that’s not a thing anymore. Everyone will be at a sports bar. Actually, every bar becomes a sports bar. And there is a DJ who plays jock jams when the game goes to commercial. Gary Glitter is played and people scream “hey” and none of it is ironic.
There is real investment. Jerseys are worn. People sulk and hurt when their team is eliminated. They rejoice and honk horns all night when they win. In New York, we have no horns to honk.
Lebron gets it. He knew that winning would mean more to Cleveland than it could ever possibly mean to Miami, where people leave before the game ends because they have to go tan and do cocaine and promote their cool party because everyone in Miami is a promoter.
New Yorkers won’t ever get that highest of highs that sports can deliver because that intense high comes from a place of desperation. A yearning to escape, if just for a night. To be a real player. One on the big boys.
In NYC, we are always a big boy. We have too many options. Sure, we may root for the Yankees. But when they lose, we shrug and go out and do one of the 238 other cool things there are to do in NYC that night. When Cleveland loses, they have to go back to living in Cleveland.
So I’m happy today. I’m happy for Cleveland. They got a championship. And I’m happy for everyone else too because hey, we don’t live in Cleveland.