For Me, For You, For Cleveland
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By Drew Pelto, AKA *censored*, A Cleveland Native

(NOTE: This was written hours before Chris Lillstrung's similar, but longer piece in the Lake County News Herald; apparently we were on the same brain wavelength)

Kyrie, Kevin, TT, Mo, JR, RJ, Shump, Delly, Moz, Jones and Jones, Channing, Sasha, McRae, Lebron. We will never be able to thank you enough. Nothing can possibly express just what this finally means to us.

This is for everyone who wore the wine and gold, the blue and orange, the red and navy, the orange and brown.

For Bernie, who put his body and his brain on the line for us every week for eight years. He didn't have to play for his hometown. He could have taken his talents to the business world, or to any NFL team. And even though the deck was stacked against him with no speed, a not-so-powerful arm, and minimal weaponry around him, he wanted to play at home and fought his hardest to try to get us something.

For Ehlo, who got outjumped by Jordan. But really, who didn't back then? For Lenny Wilkins: maybe Larry Nance's extra four inches would have been a better idea, or maybe it wouldn't have mattered.

For Jim Chones, and his ankle. For Nate Thurmond, also playing for his hometown, who did everything that one can possibly try to stop Dave Cowens, seven years his junior.

For Earnest. It wasn't your fault. You don't owe anyone an apology and you never did. We owe one to you for letting a fumble overshadow your 187 yards and two scores.

For Webster. Because every one of us would have wanted to see that touchdown get scored, and none of us would have thought a block on a cornerback would mean anything on a run of less than five yards.

For Jose Mesa and Tony Fernandez. Like Byner, we shouldn't let a couple bad innings spoil your efforts that got the Tribe that far.

For everyone who has ever played for our city. Bled. Sweat. Cried. Even died. Score. Kelly. Colavito. Manning. Carr. MacAdam. Maruk. Shmyr. Julio. Price. Nance. Daugherty. Hot Rod. Newsome. Matthews. Mack Truck. Langhorne. Brennan. Metcalf. MDP. Lofton. Vizquel. Baerga. Belle. Thome. Nagy. Shin-Soo. Santana. Kipnis. Cribbs. Steve Olin. And so many more, whether you spent 20 years playing like Lou Groza, or one game like Willie Martinez.

For those who had no connection to Cleveland besides the uniform, but have stayed with the city in spirit. I've seen supportive tweets from the likes of Greg Swindell, Jason Pinkston, Mark Price, and so many more throughout these playoffs-- those who could have just left the city of Cleveland behind, but didn't.

For the voices who brought it all to us in our homes and in our cars. Casey Coleman. Nev Chandler. Gib Shanley. Jimmy Dudley. Jack Graney. Bob Neal. Mike Hegan. John Sanders. Jack Corrigan. Bruce Drennan. Hal Lebovitz. Dan Coughlin. Matt Underwood. Jim Donovan. Tom Hamilton. Michael Reghi. Fred McLeod. Mike Snyder. Joe Tait.

For everyone who has ever supported The Land whether in sports, or in life as a whole. From Rockefeller to Kucinich, from Reznor to Symon, from Carey to Hall, Harvey, Heaton, and Hope, whether you were born there, died there, or (like me) were there for some time in between. Cleveland is a part of you and you're a part of it.

For Parma. For Pepper Pike. For Westlake. For Fairport Harbor. For Maple, Garfield, and Newburgh Heights. The 216, the 440, the 330, and the 234.

The Elways, the Castilles, the Counsells, the Renterias, the Jordans-- tonight, we can finally put the villains behind us (but not Modell; NEVER Modell).

On July 11, 2014, just under two years ago, we were reminded that "In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned."

We've survived The Shot, The Fumble, The Drive, Red Right 88, The Move, The Decision, and so much more. Rivers caught fire, a mayor's hair caught fire, loans defaulted, industries left. Lake effect snow. We've been knocked down repeatedly, almost an unbearable number of times. But we've gotten back up every time knowing eventually we would see the top of the mountain.

And it is good.

Friends, we've earned this.