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Good-luck charm sparks area pro teams in 2016

By MIKE LESKOReporter Published: December 21, 2016 12:00 AM
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It was a sensational year for Cleveland and Akron pro sports teams. They achieved remarkable success -- including three league championships -- through talent, hard work and determination.

Maybe there was also a little help from a good-luck charm -- my 18-year-old son, Michael -- whose presence with me at plenty of those teams' games paid off with lots of victories.

We say the part about the good-luck charm jokingly in our home, but when you've got a kid, it's fun to fantasize about some magical power that he might have.

Regardless, the games are like Christmas gifts spread throughout the year for a young man who enjoys attending sporting events.

The first team to win a title in 2016 was Michael's favorite -- the Lake Erie (now Cleveland) Monsters -- who toppled the Hershey Bears, 1-0, in overtime June 11 for the American Hockey League crown, completing a four-game sweep.

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Michael and I were among the 20,000 fans at Quicken Loans Arena that night for the heart-pounding victory. I can still hear the fog horn in the arena that sounded when the winning goal was scored, sending the onlookers into a frenzy. The roar from the fans was deafening.

It was our fourth Monsters game last season.

One of Michael's requests on his Christmas list is to go to a Monsters game during the holidays, a wish that I believe will become a reality.

On June 19, the Cavaliers captured the National Basketball Association title, tripping the Golden State Warriors in seven games. Michael watched games on TV, but we did not attend any in person. The Cavs apparently didn't need Michael's help.

Michael and I attended 10 Akron RubberDucks minor league baseball games -- including three playoff contests -- as they won the Eastern League title by defeating the Trenton Thunder, 2-1, to complete a three-game sweep Sept. 16. Michael's presence throughout the season didn't hurt.

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We watched some exciting victories, saw fireworks after most of the games and ate plenty of hot dogs.

The Indians reached the seventh game of the World Series before falling to the Chicago Cubs. Michael and I attended several Tribe games this season, bringing plenty of good luck to the team.

One of the games we attended was during the final weekend of the regular home season, when we received a poster featuring photos of Indians stars Francisco Lindor, Jason Kipnis and Corey Kluber next to a 2017 schedule. It now hangs in Michael's bedroom. Michael would go to a game tomorrow if that was possible.

Of course, Michael has not attended a Browns game this year (or ever). The Browns appear headed for a winless season. Maybe they could have used Michael's presence as a boost.

Email: mlesko@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9432


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