Cleveland honors Glenville team with parade and rally (Video, photo gallery)
CMSD NEWS BUREAU
Glenville’s star running back D’Shawntae Jones refused to cry tears of joy immediately after his Tarblooders won Ohio’s Division IV state football championship on the evening of Dec. 3.
Too many cameras were present. He said it was important for him to appear tough amid the celebration that erupted all around him at Tom Benson’s Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton.
The young man’s resolve crumbled a bit Thursday.
As D’Shawntae stood at a podium addressing an adoring crowd of about 2,000 people who had gathered at Cleveland’s Public Auditorium to celebrate him and his teammates, he and several other players struggled to hold their emotions in check.
“I want to thank Coach Ginn for believing in me as a young man and for helping build my confidence,” he said. As he spoke, he glanced over his shoulder at Ted Ginn Sr., the legendary football coach and life mentor who guided the Tarblooders to an undefeated 2022 season and the first state football championship ever won by a CMSD school.
Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb, who attended the championship game, decided the night of the victory that the city would honor the team with a parade and pep rally. His staff, working in conjunction with CMSD, quickly pulled off a celebration that will not soon be forgotten.
“This team has made everyone proud,” said Bibb, who spoke at the celebration and shared a quote he said he heard Coach Ginn make before the game:
“We will show Cleveland what greatness looks like,” Mayor Bibb recalled Ginn saying.
It would have been challenging to find anyone beaming with more pride during the two-hour-long celebration than the Rev. Charles P. Lucas, pastor emeritus of St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church. Lucas, who graduated from Glenville High School in 1959 and currently serves as president of the RTA board, was ecstatic.
“I’m proud to represent a lot of the former classes of Glenville who never thought we would see a celebration like this. It’s just wonderful to be able to witness the fantastic achievement of Coach Ginn and his players,” said Lucas, who was resplendent in Glenville’s school colors of red, black and white.
On the other end of the age spectrum at the rally was Jamari, 17, who currently serves as senior class president of Ginn Academy.
“This day is a big deal for us at Ginn Academy, Glenville, and hopefully all the schools in the District,” said Jamari. “We’re very proud and can feel the energy around us.”
Cleveland schools CEO Eric Gordon, who joined Mayor Bibb and other notable Cleveland politicians on stage with the Glenville team, couldn’t have been prouder of the moment that the championship team has created for the city and CMSD.
“These young men right here are the pride of Cleveland,” he declared as the audience cheered.
When Coach Ginn took the microphone to address the crowd, many of his players leaned forward in their seats to take in the words of their dynamic leader, who has busied himself shaping athletes into young men of character.
“Let’s talk about the kids, the players,” he said as he addressed the crowd. “They believed first and learned later.”
Coach Ginn was speaking of a vision that was more than a quarter of a century in the making. A vision of proven winners both on and off the field.