Back in the 1970s, Daffy Dan’s was the rage and one of the most popular t-shirts read, “Cleveland: You’ve Got To Be Tough.”
You had to be.
The city had lost nearly a quarter of its population, the Flats and the river were dead, and the old municipal stadium often felt like a ghost town during games.
Things had nowhere to go but up.
Then, by the 1980’s, the Browns started to win. By the 1990’s it was the Indians’ turn in a new stadium.
What once seemed dead was very much alive.
The Flats, for example, began booming as rowers appeared alongside new restaurants on the Cuyahoga. The only “Burning River” was a new beer that won medals.
And what about downtown?
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum landed along the lakefront over much larger cities, in a pattern that continued with the Republican National Convention—which came after the Cavs made history.
Today much of the good remains intact. Mottos on popular t-shirts remain defiant, with phrases such as “Cleveland ‘Til I Die."
It is a city which has certainly "toughed" it out, and became all the better because of it.