Do you remember how it felt the first time you finished reading the Harry Potter series? You looked around the real world after that and you knew everything had changed, that life had altered you in some undeniable way. You didn’t want the day to end, for this feeling to end, and even as you tried to sleep the scenes played back in your mind, refusing to let you go.
This is all of Cleveland today. And all those little pockets of Clevelanders all across the US, everyone’s heart a veritable portkey that yanked fans together to Oracle Stadium in Oakland California on Father’s Day 2016.
This was bigger than the Quidditch World Cup. Fans crowded downtown Cleveland Sunday night to witness game seven of the NBA finals. Yes, even though the game was held in Oakland, downtown Cleveland had to be shut down because it was simply too crowded full of fans gathering to watch their team, with the hopes that the curse hanging over this city would finally be lifted.
For fifty-two years, Cleveland has not won a major league title. Imagine that. The last time Cleveland won, it was December 27, 1964. To put things into context, the last time Cleveland won, there were no cell phones. There were no smoke detectors, ATMs, or MRIs. Neil Armstrong would not become a household name for another five years.
Elon Musk, inventor of the Tesla Motors, wasn’t born yet. Steve Jobs was ten years old, years away from meeting Steve Wozniak and starting Apple. Bill Gates, at ten, was still a few years away from seeing his first Teletype Model 33 terminal and taking an interest in programming.
Queen was not yet a band. Nor was Devo, Blondie, or the Talking Heads. J.K. Rowling, creator of the beloved Harry Potter series, wasn’t even born, let alone Harry Potter. Dungeons & Dragons wouldn’t be published for another ten years. Star Wars didn’t exist, nor did Silver Surfer, Space Ghost, Wolverine, Rogue, Storm, or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Sports were the original cosplay. Today, all around Cleveland, people are dressed in the jerseys of their favorite players, replaying amazing plays and incredible shots. And there were many.
As far as drama goes, this Finals series has plenty. You’ve got the rematch—the Cavs lost to Golden State last year in six games, keeping it close despite missing two big players (Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love) to injuries. Golden State had the best record in the league (73-9), hadn’t lost two games in a row all season. The Cavs were down 3 games to 1 going into game seven. And before the start of the game, the teams had each scored 610 points apiece over the first six games. Which means the two teams were incredibly well matched, and the difference in the series came down to four points.
Movies are made with less drama than that. Soon, we’ll return to the office. We’ll send our kids to camp and continue with our real lives. A month from now, people will think of Cleveland only in terms of the Republican National Convention, and this sweet moment of victory will start to fade into memory.
We may not be wearing robes and emitting sparks from our wands, celebrating the death of Voldemort. But Sunday night there were fireworks and today, in Cleveland, we are feeling the magic.