With the recent departure of LeBron James to the Miami Heat, the city of Cleveland finds itself deep in a transition process. Like a bad break-up, it will take time to heal, but when the dust finally settles, the void of the city’s most beloved sports superstar will be a big one. For the last seven years, James has controlled the pulse of the city, taking the throne as Cleveland’s Most Loved Athlete from Day One.
That void appears ready to be at least partially filled by the Browns’ best player – Josh Cribbs. Not only do the fans adore his work on the field – a do-it-all player that plays with the same intensity whether it is Week One or Week Seventeen – but after a short contract dispute, he did end up re-signing with the team he professes to love.
Despite the fact that, since 1999, every bit of optimism surrounding the Browns is quickly squashed by various on-field atrocities, the team appears to be on the upswing. Cribbs plays a huge role in the team’s success; plus, it’s no secret that this is a football-first town. And with all of this cautious optimism, it doesn’t take much for Browns fans to get excited.
With Cribbs ready to inherit LeBron’s throne, the town is also ready to move on. LeBron burned Cleveland pretty bad, but the city is a resilient one, and Cribbs exemplifies that hard-working mentality that Cleveland prides itself on.
This could very well be the beginning of a change of fortune for Cleveland. LeBron’s departure offers up a clean slate, a fresh start. The city will be glad to know that it has seen the worst the sports world has to offer and, yet, remains standing. Rather than lamenting the loss of LeBron with a woe-is-me attitude, it is time for the city to pick itself up by its bootstraps and remain confident, not only in the city’s sports teams, but in the city’s future as well.
Josh Cribbs is now Cleveland’s Most Loved Athlete and it feels good.