Wahoo is CryingMy grandfather passed away today.

I debated back and forth as to whether I wanted to write this post. It initially felt like a hollow gesture. But the more I sat here, the more I felt that it was something I wanted to write. After all, isn’t that what blogs are all about….expressing our feelings through a connected platform by which others can share in your thoughts and opinions? Well, this one is for my Grandpa.

Some people will never get it. We’ve all been questioned many times before….why do we care so much about sports? It’s just a game. It’s not the end of the world. There’s always next year.

And all those are true on the surface. Yes, it’s a game. Yes, tomorrow will still come when our team loses that heartbreaker. But if you dare to dig deeper, you can find that sports can often hold a deeper meaning and serve a deeper purpose in our lives. Sports can connect us to people in our lives. They can serve as a bond between us and those we care most about.

My grandpa was a huge Cleveland Indians fan. It was a legacy that he passed on to my dad, and my dad in turn passed it on to me and my brother and my sister. The bond connected me to my grandpa. It was one of the things that my grandpa would talk to me about almost every time I saw him. He would always ask me things like “So, do you think the Indians can catch the Tigers this year?” or “So what do you think of the Tribe’s chances in the playoffs?” My grandpa loved collecting the Indians bobble heads. He grew up with names like Feller and Lemon and Doby and Calavito and Boudreau, continued through names like Thornton and Swindell and Carter and Snyder, through Lofton and Belle and Baerga and Vizquel and Nagy. The names on the back never mattered quite as much as the name on the front of the jersey. And that’s why he enjoyed the bobble heads of guys like Sabathia and Sizemore and Martinez and Hafner just the same.

And even when later on, as his eyesight began to fail him, and he could no longer watch the games on TV, my grandpa still faithfully listened to Hamilton and Hegan call the games on the radio. It was more than a simple dedication to a meaningless game. It represented so much more. To me, I saw this game as hope. As the Indians went on a wild ride to the Division Title and within 1 game of the World Series, at times I couldn’t help but think about this through the scope of this generational bond from my Grandpa to my Dad to myself. Had the Indians won the World Series, the first person I would have called would have been my Dad. And I would have been so excited to see my gtrandpa the next time and to say to him, “Well, they finally did it!”

It wouldn’t have been just about a simple game. It would have been about the pride and elation that was instilled in me from the generations of this family who came before me. It would have been about that connected feeling of unity within my family. Sure, maybe sometimes I care a little too much about sports. But other times, sports has time and again shown it’s healing powers.

My memories of my grandpa will extend far beyond sports. I will always remember him when I look at my coin collection, a hobby he passed on to me. I will remember spending the night at my grandparents’ house, and the next morning my grandpa would always take me out for breakfast at his favorite diner, and he would always tell me that they had a chocolate cow in the back who would make the chocolate milk. I will remember the time my grandpa took me fishing. That’s the thing about those we love. They always live on in our memories. But there’s one other way my grandpa will always live on, and that’s through the Cleveland Indians. Every summer, through every big victory the franchise experiences, the memory of my Grandpa will be right there with them. And there’s just something comforting about that thought. It may not heal the sadness right now, but that day when the Indians finally win the World Series again, you can bet I’ll raise a glass for my Grandpa and think to myself “Well, grandpa, they finally did it!”