Cincinnati, at least in my lifetime, has been the staple for mediocrity. A consistently inconsistent home for high hopes and huge disappointments. Teams that broke records, and not the good kind. And somehow every year, there is a small glimmer of hope that we'll be a little bit better. We no longer live in the days of the Big Red Machine and the Super Bowl appearances, when there was not speculations but expectations. Yet, I find myself (like most Cincinnati fans) expecting something big this year.
Mainly, I expect a statement.
A statement that is simple yet concrete. Something along the lines of "We're Back", but mailed with a giant F*** You stamped on it. A statement the obliterates all speculation and uncertainty. A calling to all the wonderful band wagoners that grace Cincinnati with their negativity and lack of interest. A statement that true fans can finally take a deep breath after years of heartbreak.
The Reds are in first in the NL Central.
No big deal, they've only had the best record in the majors for the past month. The were finally able to hand somebody the biggest contract in franchise history. Opening Weekend was sold out for the first time in a decade. They win games, not with star pitching but with runs. If you asked somebody who followed the Redlegs in the 70's what they thought of this year, they might mention that this year's team bares similarities. The ability to get on base, drive in runs, and make clutch hits defined the Big Red Machine. And we see it all too well this year.
The Bengals are the buzz.
Experts are deeming the Bengals off-season as one of the best in the league. Acquiring veterans from all around the NFL and consistently having stellar drafts, the Bengals are projected to reach the playoffs once again. Many fans believe that this is the year, but the seasoned Bengal's fan will say, "What's the catch?". Cincy hasn't had back to back playoff seasons since Colinsworth and Ken Anderson dominated Cinergy Field. Historically with this franchise, a good season is usually followed by a huge let down. So what makes this year different? Maybe it's the rookies that can can only improve, and the Bengals had a lot of them last year. Maybe it's the quarterback where his greatest asset is the unrelenting will to win. Or maybe it's the seemingly starved defense who's on a "all football" diet. You can credit coaches, players, management, fans, beer vendors or even the ticket window guy, but the truth of the matter is that this team has the potential to bring back the glory days to Cincinnati Bengals football.
And this is just the professional level.
The Cincinnati Cyclones are consistently in the hunt for the Kelly Cup and pack US Bank Arena when they do so. The Commandos have won their arena league championship two years in a row. The Cincinnati Bearcats are seemingly resurgent with a Big East Championship appearance in basketball and share of the title in football.
So my final question to you, as fan and resident of Cincinnati is...
What if the Reds win the Central? What if the Bengals win the North? What if all of the decades of disappointment are lost with just one year of success? What if Cincinnati grows into the championship city it once was? When the Queen City finally becomes the King City. Will it happen? What if history repeats itself?
What if the world ends in 2012, and my generation never got to see a title in Cincinnati?