By Brad VanFossan
A wise man once said, he who can redeem himself holds all the power. Ok, no one has ever said that, but I think it sounds wise and is true. After my teams would lose while growing up (and whether I have is up for debate), my mom would say, "it's just a game!" I would always reply, "no it's not!" But I didn't really have a good reason as to why. Fast forward to July 11, 2014, while most people who work normal hours were eating lunch, that reason became clear, sports are indeed more than just a game. Redemption, apologizing, accepting your faults, being accountable for your actions, accepting someone's apology and letting go of the past. These all sound like life lessons we learned in school right? Well maybe more so a Catholic school setting or just everyday teachings from our parents. But one of the most amazing displays of these virtues took place when Lebron James announced he was returning home to Cleveland.
Sure these actions didn't literally take place on a basketball court, but it was because of sports that Lebron was able to redeem himself with a sincerely written letter on SI.com Friday afternoon that eloquently spoke of a man who has grown up a lot in the last four years, realized the way he handled "The Decision" back in 2010 was wrong, and highlighted that of a man who was able to accept another man's apology. The apology coming from Cavs owner Dan Gilbert for writing a scathing letter, ripping Lebron's character down to the core on that same night of July 8, 2010. I challenge anyone who has taken to Twitter or Facebook within the last week to tell me sports are just a game. An entire city and dare I say possibly state waited anxiously, hoping the rumors that Lebron was returning were true. The emotions involved as everyone got the news were not that of a normal day, there was just a feeling I couldn't put a finger on in the air from about 12:30 pm Eastern Standard Time that will last probably the entire weekend and more than likely up until the Cavs home opener in October. We all know Lebron's history, and the reason that this story is extra special. But even people not from Ohio can appreciate this story, people who are passionate sports fans, casual sports fans and people who don't follow sports can appreciate the human element of this event.
Yesterday was not about basketball, it was about a city, it's fans, the passion they have for their city and teams and the passion that we found out yesterday, one of our own still has for us. The Cavaliers since 2010 have been dying a slow death in the standings and in the stands. Players like Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and number one overall pick Andrew Wiggins had been signs of life for Cleveland but now, Lebron James, the man with the power to give a city life, gave the Cleveland Cavaliers the most important thing to put the brakes on a slow death, a beating heart.