Normally Disney World is considered the happiest place in the world. As of Sunday, it is Cleveland!
On June 22, my family and I were lucky enough to watch the super huge parade in honor of the Cleveland Cavaliers becoming NBA Champs. It not only was the most crowded event I have ever attended, but also the biggest crowds in downtown Cleveland for a long time. There was about 1.3 million people, some even camped out the night before to get a good view of the parade! It was just as big as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, maybe even bigger!
This was just a wonderful opportunity to be of something so historical. Watching the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Golden State Warriors and ending the 52-year drought in Cleveland is a moment I will never forget for the rest of my life. It was so amazing to watch my favorite team become champions and bring a championship to my city. It was so surreal, and to listen to their inspirational speeches, like LeBron James and J.R. Smith, brought happy tears to my eyes. And now I'm lucky enough to say that I witnessed the most historical Cleveland sports event following the win!
My mom and I woke up at about 5:30, freshened up, and left at 7:15 with my aunt, uncle, cousin, and her friend. My other cousin works for the Cavaliers in the ticket sales, Traffic, obviously, was backed up entirely. However, we managed to take the side streets through Valley View Road and Canal Road, which easily took us to downtown without being stuck in traffic for five hours. By the time we parked, we walked with the crowds to the streets of East 9th and Euclid to watch the parade. Unfortunately, we had to stand and wait two hours before the parade finally came to our street. It was very hot outside and we were surrounded by so many people, it was so crowded that some people even scaled on top of buildings and portable toilets to gain a better view. Talk about a crazy commitment!
Finally, police officers cleared the streets to make way for the parade. The Ohio State Marching Band marched down and performed some of their hit songs. It was so cool to finally see them live! Then, cars came by and sprayed confetti out of machines into the audience, both rectangle and star shaped. I've never seen so much confetti in my life, it was totally picture worthy!
A few big trucks and trollies drove by, which my cousin Jenna was in one of them! It was so cool to see her be a part of something so special, especially something that she, me, our family, and the whole part of Northeast Ohio love! One of the big trucks had Cleveland-born rapper Machine Gun Kelly performing "Till I Die". There also was Jim Brown, former Browns legend, Tyronn Lue, Cavaliers coach, and of course, the beautiful NBA Finals trophy!
The best part, of course, was finally getting to see the players drive in. J.R. Smith was the first big player to come in, and he received the greeting that he deserved. He was also kind enough to sign autographs for anyone who asked. There is still one question out in the open that everyone is trying to figure out: where did his shirt go?
But of course, J.R. was not the only player to appear shirtless. Soon enough, Kyrie Irving came down the street without top or coverup on as well. Like J.R., he signed a few autographs and even gave someone a free shoe of his! It was so cool to see him up close, I think he even made binoculars out of his hands to look at me while taking his picture! Of course, there could have been several people he was looking at, but I'll still say that we made eye contact and interaction!
I was a little caught off-guard after Kyrie drove away because that's when the King himself drove in! He worse a yellow baseball cat, a Nike shirt, and sunglasses and showed much pride and love like a true monarch. I was a little disappointed, however, because he somehow was in a smaller car rather than a big van which he could stand up and reveal himself. It made it hard to see him fully, but I at least managed to catch a quick glimpse and snap one good picture!
Other players such as Iman Shumpert, Mo Williams, Matthew Dellavedova, Richard Jefferson, Timofey Mozgov, Tristan Thompson, and a few more passed along after LeBron. One of the last big players that I got to see - and was totally worth the wait to see - was my super handsome future husband Kevin Love!
I've had a big crush on him ever since I found out the Cavaliers drafted him. He just has such a pretty face, and he's such a great basketball player! I enjoy watching him play with the team, I think he has been a great help to allow the team to win the Championship. Kevin was so sweet as he came by. Like the other players, he gave high fives and wanted to sign autographs, but unfortunately did not have a pen. But his sweetness was so flattering, I wish I could have pushed my way through the crowds just to say hi and get a handshake!
By the time the parade was over, we were exhausted from the overwhelming heat and claustrophobia from the confined crowd. He finally made our way to an open space as the streets cleared up, where confetti and trash lay everywhere. I finally got to eat some Subway sandwiches and Dunkin Donuts pastries which was very fulfilling and delicious, my favorite combination of food. We then made our way back to the car and drove home after a long day full of exhaustion but excitement.
I now wish I could got back in time to re-live the incredible event, a terrible and wonderful experience all at once. If I could go back, I would try to get closer to the full on action and get better pictures and interactions with the players, but I think the amount we received was awesome no matter what. I had the best time of my life, especially since I got to spend it with my family. Let's now pray for another awesome season this fall and for our team to win it all again next year, that way we can have another historical parade to experience once more! Who knows, maybe even the Indians will win the Championship and have their parade earlier in November!
Thank you to the Cleveland Cavaliers for striving for greatness and achieving more than that. As the King would say, "Nothing is given, it's earned."