Celebrating a Hero in our Community

Celebrating a Community:
An Appreciation of the NBA Championship in Cleveland

A friend once surprised me with this question many years ago:  what's the difference between sports and theater?   Answer:  In sports you never know how the drama will end.

Last night, Cleveland, and all those connected to it, were treated to a deep and profound drama.  We got to see a true hero reach....

...and make it.

LeBron James is a true hero.  

Families in the practice who live in or near Akron have recently shared stories with me that astound.

This child of Akron has purchased blocks in what we call "the inner city," but are actually structurally set areas of many generations of despair.  LeBron has purchased some of these blocks and transformed their housing and business infrastructures into middle class neighborhoods, and they work.

The people of the place have jobs and earn enough to live good lives.  A barber who could not afford the new rent was given free rent by LeBron so he could finish his career continuing to care for the people he has groomed for many years.

Here is a man of rare talent, who oriented use of his gift to the benefit of others.  How may elite athletes volunteer to leave a championship game and endless wealth, to come home to a team that has sunk to irrelevance, with no hopes of even playoff play?  This is LeBron, he came home to inspire Akron and Cleveland, his homes.  

I have observed that, if lucky, most of us get to be really good at a small number of things, maybe 1, maybe 2 or 3, but rarely many more skills.   Think of them as our gifts, and if we are really lucky, we get to pursue and develop them.   When that happens, life becomes a story in part of how a person takes their gift and overcomes struggles to help as many people as possible.  That is one of the great narratives we have available to us as people.

It is in that sense that I right this appreciation of the Cavaliers winning the championship last night.  I was lucky enough to be with my wife at a small restaurant across the street from the Q last night.  We heard of people flying in from Hawaii to Massachusetts to be there for the moment, and sat with people from Cleveland, Baltimore, and Cincinnati.  The  downtown, the center of our greater Cleveland community, was as full of people as we have ever seen.  We all held our breaths as these two teams, each who had scored 610 points over the first 6 games of the Finals, traded leads in the tightest game of the Finals.

 As the last minute came, a strange elevation took place in the room.  People had trouble following the details, all we knew was something we would never experience again was happening, and we drew together, so happy.  That joy and amazement filled downtown in that instant.  Prospect Street became a carpet of people screaming for joy, dancing, happy.  A fire engine parked in 9th Street with all its lights on, with the crowd standing and cheering on it.  We drove home to see urban Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, and Shaker Heights filled with scenes of celebration.

And all as the result of a good man pursuing his gift, against monumental odds, reaching.   LeBron James, son of our NorthEast Ohio community, directly applied all his efforts to deliver a championship to his community, with the express intent to inspire us to be better.  To come together, and to care for each other as he has.

So here is my thank you to this truly great man, I am deeply grateful.   And I am so pleased we could come together last night.

As a small token of our gratitude, Advanced Pediatrics will be closed for part of the day this Wednesday, to join with you all to be at the parade acknowledging the power of a gift that cares.  Dr. Hertzer and I will remain available throughout the day for calls of course, and the office will remain able to help.

To your health,
Dr. Arthur Lavin

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