Most young girls like fairy tales. As a child, I was no different, except instead of princes and castles, I found drunk fans in packed arenas, cheering on competitive athletes quite enchanting. No one who knew me as a child was surprised when I became a sports reporter.
Like many people in Cleveland, I did not expect the Indians to be in the World Series this year. The opportunity to cover another epic event is beyond a dream. On Tuesday, as the Indians played in Game 1 of the World Series, the Cavs championship banner was raised and the rings were handed out to members of the team.
On that night I was not inside the Q or at Progressive Field. Instead, I started off in Public Square and made my way around downtown with several young adults who formed a group called Feed the People. Like many other big sports nights in Cleveland, the group bought 52 hamburgers, one for each year this city went without a championship. My cameraman and I followed the group through downtown Cleveland, as they passed the hamburgers out to anyone who might want a bite to eat.
The group is led by Cleveland natives, Clarence Keith Semple and William Lyons. They recognized a unique power that sports has on a community. Sports, especially when teams win, bring people together. Feeding off of that notion, they rallied their friends to not just give people a meal, but show people that they are all united.
As I walked around the city in the cold weather, it became clear to me that the Indians and the Cavs are much bigger than the men listed on their respected rosters. The teams include the fans, the people who can’t afford the tickets and can only hear the cheers from outside the stadiums. The sick child in the hospital, with their eyes wide open, waiting to see if their favorite team can make something happen on the biggest stage in a given sport, is part of the squad, too. Even the people who don’t know or follow sports, who feel and react to the energy around them are included. Everyone in the community contributes to the journey.
While my coworkers witnessed LeBron’s emotion inside the Q and provided a live report from Progressive Field, I met homeless men and women and watched a man in a costume play a song about the Indians, while young adults surrounded him with claps, hamburgers and handshakes. I interviewed a parking attendant, who did not get a chance to eat lunch. After a long tiring day of work, he was grinning from ear to ear when strangers handed him a free meal while he waited for the bus to go home.
Feed the People embodies what it means to "Rally Together" and be "All In," as they make sure every member of the team feels included and appreciated.
As a reporter, I may not have covered the main attractions, but as a woman who once loved fairy tales, I discovered where the magic really occurs.