Graham Von Carlowitz, Editorial Editor
Watching the culmination of the World Series the other day, I couldn’t help but think of one of the funnier humans in my memory, Chris Farley. Once upon a time, the overweight comedian played in an SNL skit, portraying a Chicago Super Fan Todd O’Connor. At a roundtable discussion and/or feast featuring bottomless Polish sausage and beer, he and his Super Fan counterparts would discuss how great the city of Chicago was, specifically talking up the Bears and Bulls (or “Da Bears” and “Da Bulls”), the city’s two unbeatable franchises.
The episode I remember best featured “Da Air Man,” Michael Jordan, who joined the table to discuss how many championships his Bulls would win, although his presence was diminished by the hilarity of Big Man Farley. After the character Bob Swerski posed a seemingly unanswerable question of who would win in a fight, Bears coach Mike Ditka or a hurricane named Ditka, Farley stole the scene, enduring a routine heart attack.
“Now how many heart attacks is that for you, Tom?” Bob asked after Farley quit pounding his chest.
“That makes a baker’s dozen for me,” Farley retorted, fully recovered and ready for more Bears and Bulls talk.
If you haven’t seen the skit, then I just don’t know what the Internet is for anymore. It’s great.
Anyhow, the reason this scene was singed into my memory and playing back during Game 7 should be quite clear to anyone who watched the game. As a Cleveland fan, it was my duty to watch the game to the last out. That meant enduring a half-dozen micro-heart attacks throughout the game, which coincided with, for baseball’s standards, rapid shifts of momentum and fates. And, as a Cleveland fan, I couldn’t have asked for more.
Growing up in northeast Ohio, Cleveland fans are given leeway to select alternative teams to root for in the postseason. It’s fun for a while, but even if those alternative teams raise a trophy in the end, a fan like me is left shrugging, saying, “Whelp, that must be fun for those fans in that city. Good for them.”
But all the self-pity and “maybe next year” talk fizzled out in June, when the Cavs won the NBA Finals (that gives me shivers). Sure, the title of “defending champs” might well dissolve next June and never again apply to the city of Cleveland, but the way I look at it, the satisfaction of one year can last a lifetime. Literally. How else could my fellow Cleveland fans have survived the 52-year championship drought?
I don’t hold anything against the Cubs for stealing a second championship parade from Cleveland, and I certainly don’t mind the hope they provided us in giving Cleveland a chance to win it all — ‘twas a cruel joke, but one I can now laugh at.
One championship is enough for me, at least for the next 52 years. That doesn’t mean I will give up hope or stop cheering and bragging that LeBron James was born an hour or so from where I was. It just means I won’t break any windows or karate chop tables in uncontrolled rage when something like Game 7 happens again, because it will.
But if Chris Farley’s fictional character can survive 13 heart attacks, I can survive a few more, too.