Tag: Cleveland Browns

I Am Cleveland (Thoughts on Lebron)

It’s been over 48 hours now.   You and the rest of the world now know that Lebron is coming home.

I wanted to write about this yesterday but this is my first opportunity to get enough time to gather my thoughts together and put it all into words.

Before I really get into it, I need to unpack my mind of a few things.  Hopefully you’ll stick around for the whole post. Especially if you’re not from Cleveland or Ohio.  Even if you swore you’d never forgive what Lebron did or if you, like me, could care less about NBA basketball.

I need to make sure everyone knows… I AM CLEVELAND.  However, IACI was not born in Cleveland, Ohio.  I was born in Sandusky, Ohio.  That is about 60 miles from Cleveland.  Lebron James was born in Akron, Ohio which is about 40 miles from Cleveland.  Lebron says he is coming home and if “home” is 40 miles away from Cleveland then I will take liberty and say I am from Cleveland as well.  I mean what does 20 miles make when it comes to being home?  That being said, I have no ties to Cleveland other than the fact that it is “in Ohio”.  

My first loves of sports teams did not start in Cleveland, they were found in Baltimore.  Where Johnny Unitas threw the football and the Orioles were playing in the World Series. I did what kids have done since the beginning of time… I just followed where the championships were won and became a bandwagon fan.  Not because of the love of the team but because at the time that was all you could watch on TV.

Then as the championships faded away and those Baltimore teams fell into mediocrity, I became less and less interested in following them.  I could not identify with them. Then just like the first time you realize the existence of girls, my twelve-year-old mind and heart started searching  for something real, something I could love forever, something I could identify with.

I found it… or rather it found me in the city of Cleveland.

I don’t need to go through the list of heartache the City of Cleveland has endured cleveland-city-1when it comes to sports. The list is long and heartbreaking. I can tell you where I was when a majority of them happened. The City itself has had it’s share of tough times. It has rebounded and fallen again. It seems like just when the sun starts to shine on Cleveland, something happens and the clouds arrive again. I think that is why the people who love Cleveland live and die (more die than live) with their beloved sports teams. It’s their escape.  No matter how bad a team is, each season begins with it a hope that this is the year.  That “just once before I die” finally comes true.

It’s well documented but Lebron was one of our own.  He knew our long history of failure.  In a way that was both unhealthy and unfair, we thought he was going to be the guy.  He was just out of high school and we thought the storybook ending of one of our own delivering the thing that has eluded the city for so long was perfect.  I have always maintained that I wasn’t mad about his “decision” to leave. I was mad about HOW he went about it.  The “Decision” that took place four years ago wasn’t supposed to happen.

For the past four years I have always felt that Lebron was never comfortable in the role of villain.  He never wore that well.   He regretted the decision but it was something he had to do. Don’t we all chase something at some point in our lives? Sometimes it turns up as expected, but often it does not.  I always believed that Lebron would someday return, I just didn’t think it would happen now.

As the days passed the tension in Cleveland began to build.  I believed that if he chose Miami or anywhere else this time, it would crush Cleveland once again and I braced myself for that to happen.  This was not the 2010 decision.  He remained quiet.   Social media, national media and fan hysteria began to build like a title wave.   For days, twitter was a constant refresh and sports talk radio was filled with talk of Lebron.  Where was he?  What was he doing?   Who wewtam1100re the sources?   How would we know?   Web sites crashed.   Planes were tracked.  It was all a bit too crazy.

Then on Friday, I was driving back from Elyria with Cleveland Radio blaring in the background.  I also had my phone on just in case some news broke.  In a “where were you” moment, a “breaking news” alert came across the radio and my phone rang.   I listened as my brother-in-law (a devout Piston fan) yelled into the phone, “Your boy is coming home.”  Even he admitted that it was good for the people of Cleveland.

One after another after another, tweets linking Lebron’s essay on SI.com.  Apparently, Lebron wrote a letter explaining his decision and it was used as a press release.  The local radio hosts were going insane. It was a moment I will never forget.

And then they read the letter…..  (Click here to read)

I was smiling ear to ear as they began to read Lebron’s words.  Chills covered my arms and legs, as the radio host james16closed out the final words of his letter, he couldn’t finish.  He was choked to tears.  He paused, gathered himself and finished it out.  I understood everything he was feeling because I was misty eyed too.

Lebron was coming home.

But the emotion I was feeling wasn’t about Lebron… this wasn’t about basketball and it certainly wasn’t about sports.  This was about a love for a city.  This was about the city of Cleveland and it’s people.

I said this before and I say it again….with every fiber of my being, this is not about the Cleveland Cavaliers.  For me it’s not.  I am not even a fan of the NBA.  Oh sure… I sort of paid attention when Daugherty, Nance, Price, Hot Rod and Harper played for the Cavs many years ago.  But I am not even sure I will watch much more NBA now that Lebron is coming home than I did this past year… which was almost none.

I’m sure there are people who celebrated yesterday just because they believe this man will bring home a title.   For me, the last thing I thought about yesterday was titles and wins.  I thought about a City I call “home.” I thought about the financial implications.  I thought about the closed bars, restaurants and businesses that sit around the arena.  In true Cleveland fashion, they have fought and tried to come up with ways to give some kind of life to these establishments.  It’s been a struggle but they never quit.

With those three simple words, “I’m coming home”…  life and hope were delivered to a city I love.

People will come to downtown.  Life will be breathed into a city that desperately needs it.  People began to gather downtown as soon as the announcement went live yesterday.  The Cavs sold out their season ticket packages in record fashion.  Those are dollars that will be invested into the City.  They will arrive early and stay late.  They’ll support local businesses before, during and after the games.  Hopefully, they will continue to see a winning product on the court for years to come.

I can’t speak for all of us that are fans of Cleveland, but I think I can.  They, like me, love the City of Cleveland.sports They’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly and I’m not just referring to their sports teams. They want to see their city alive like we’ve seen it before. They want Cleveland to be something other than a punchline or report of some bad press. They know the beauty that lies on the shores of Lake Erie. We’ve heard all about the “mistake” by the lake but we know the “potential” of what Cleveland can be.

I don’t know who’ll read this. I don’t know what city you’re from.  Maybe it’s a city that has always been on top.  It’s easy to cheer for a winner… it’s tough to taste heartbreak and loss.  Maybe you rolled your eyes at the endless string of Lebron posts on social media sites yesterday.  Maybe you’ve never understood “Cleveland Fans” or their reactions to the misery. 

If you feel the need to hold up your hand and show how many championships your team may have won and/or you feel the need to always make Cleveland the butt of a joke then you just don’t get it and I feel sorry for you.  Because you will never understand nor appreciate what it is to be a Cleveland fan.

For one day, for a few crazy hours, Cleveland fans lost their mind.  Emotions ran wild and this time it was mostly positive.  Frustrations were released.  Like I said, many probably are dreaming of championships and now place a huge weight back on the very broad shoulders of Lebron James.   Fair or unfair, that challenge is going to be his responsibility to make it happen.

Today… I celebrate for the City of Cleveland.  I am glad that Lebron is coming home.

After all… I am Cleveland.



I turned 52 this year.

I guess that I can finally assume that my NFL opportunities are coming to a close. The season is starting and I have waited patiently by the phone waiting for a call for the past 30 years during the NFL Draft and each April I am disappointed.  I always continued to work out hoping to get a shot at free-agency, but not this year.  I am beginning to think I may never get that call.  That being said… I think I need to move on and I still believe I have a small window of possibility with MLB and now I will place all my focus on that.   All I need is for someone to give me a shot.  Hey Cleveland… I’m available!!!

Obviously I am joking and it is plain to see that the NFL is keenly aware of the fact that I have not played a single down of organized football since the seventh-grade.  Infamously documented here (Click Here).  In addition, unfortunately my excellent baseball skills are documented here (Click Here).

The bottom line is that I have reached a point in my life that I honestly appreciate the fact that God did not give me everything I ever wanted.  God’s greatest gift to me is telling me NO or not answering a prayer the way that I wanted.

It has given me an opportunity at 52 years of age to say that I have gained a perspective of life that I did not have even a few years ago.  My personality is such that I tend toward the negative and somber. That’s not always good (but it’s not always bad either). However, sitting here, realizing I’ve been given 52 years thus far, I know that I have much to be thankful for.

These things are what is going through my mind as I look to express my perspective:

God doesn’t owe me anything, but He’s given me everything. 

God has given me a beautiful wife and four wonderful children.

He has taught me the meaning of grace through marriage and how to die to self and love my wife like Christ loved the church. He’s given me a help-mate and a woman I love very much.

He has blessed me with two grandsons.

God has given me a job that I love.   

I’m thankful for my church.  I never thought I would be a part of another church that I would call family.

I’m sure I could sit here all day, but I have to start working out… Major League Baseball  (maybe even the Cleveland Indian’s) may be calling me soon… so I will leave it at this.

God, thank you for everything.

If Only I Had Enough Talent

When I was a kid, the thing I wished for most was to be talented. No. Not just talented. I wanted to be special. I wanted to stand out from the crowd. I wanted to change the world with something I could do. I wanted to be remembered in my hometown.  I wanted to be someone who “made it” in whatever I would choose to do and make my mark on the world that would be remembered for years after I was gone.

And I believed I could…

If only I had enough talent.

That longing lead me down paths that almost all of us have journeyed. Drawn to sports, art, and a short-lived stint in the choir in search of my place to belong.

FootballLike most boys growing up, I dreamt of being a professional athlete.  Playing a sport I loved and getting paid for it was just the ticket for the dreams of a young skinny kid from Oak Harbor, Ohio.

If I only had enough talent.

When you are 5’4″ as a sophomore and weighed a solid 95 lbs dressed in your footbbaseballall uniform with full pads and helmet… it was painfully obvious that football was not going to be in my future.  The fact that I grew 9 inches during the summer between my 10th and 11th grade years did not make the prospect of being a professional athlete any clearer.  Yes, I was 6′ 2″, but I also only weighed 130 lbs.  A strong wind could and would knock me over.

While I was not the worst player on any of the sports teams I played on.  The evidence was clear that I was not going to take Hank Aaron’s place in the Major Leagues, nor was I going to play for the Cleveland Brown’s at any time in my life.

I had always thought of myself to be artistic.  Why I thought that I have not a clue.  I have always loved to draw and be creative.  I tried to be artistic and there was a time I thought I was pretty good at it. Maybe I thought that because when I was in the fifth grade I won a first place    riLigerbbon at the Ottawa County Fair for a pencil drawing. I guess it gave me enough confidence that I convinced myself that I was talented.  That was until I compared my ability to those around me when I took art classes at Oak Harbor High SchoolI was suddenly made aware that my artistic ability was somewhere along the lines of Napoleon Dynamite’s when he drew a picture of a Liger.  Not so good.

If only I had enough talent.

Then there was the period in my life when I dreamed of what it would be like to be the lead singer of a band.  I mean I could sing all the notes of my favorite songmicrophone1s and bands when the music was blasting through the cheap speakers of my 1976 Ford Pinto.  It’s funny how we convince ourselves that we are as talented as our favorite singer we hear on our radio.  I mean who of us have never sang their heart out using a hair brush as a microphone?  The sad truth is that I found out how lacking of talent I truly was when I tried out to sing a solo for our choir concert. It was not pretty.

If I only had enough talent.

I have written numerous times about my search to find what my talent was in life and I have to admit, when I reflect back at my life, I am hard pressed to state exactly what my talent ever was.  I have had to come to terms that I will not be remembered.  Not even in the small town I was raised in.  I have not changed the world and for the most part the only true mark that I will ever make will be the slab of stone that my family puts up to mark my burial plot.

That being said… I think I have figured out why my mark on this earth is not what I thought it would be when I was Talent-Overrated-titledreaming of it as a child.  I think that talent is over-rated.  Yes…I said it.  Talent is over-rated.  Talent doesn’t matter that much in the real world. It’s a prerequisite to being average. It may open some doors, but it won’t keep them open for long. I’ve discovered in the real world, there’s something that’s far more important. Want to know what trumps talent every time?

Hard Work and Discipline.

I know, I know. They are ugly words! Even typing them makes me feel a pit in my stomach much like I feel when I have to pay my taxes each April. 

If we’re honest, we’ll all admit we should “be more disciplined”.  And it turns out that hard work is, well…hard.

Easier things are easier and usually more fun. So we put off the hard stuff for another day. And we busy ourselves with things we can argue are important, in an effort to avoid what we should actually be doing.

Relying soleHArd Workly on talent to get you through life can often lead to failure.  Why?  Because those that rely on their talent alone often fail to work hard enough to accomplish what they feel should have come easily.  They tend to avoid the discipline needed to overcome those areas in their life that are lacking.

It’s not our talent that sets us apart and opens the door to our future.  It’s our willingness and resolve to face the hard work, again and again – to get busy, not just with doing stuff, but with doing the stuff that moves us forward in our most important dreams and goals.

Like you, I lead a busy life; I can find an excuse when I need one. I can justify my bad choices and procrastination if I want to. But the deeper I get into life, the more I see and feel the price I paid avoiding the important things before me.  I am convinced that ata secret this point the reason no one will remember a skinny kid from Oak Harbor, Ohio is the fact that I never worked hard enough and disciplined myself to achieve all that I should have achieved.

Far too many times in my life, I have used excuses that would keep me from doing what I probably should have done.  I would say that I didn’t know what to do.  The truth is that I would choose to avoid the hard work and discipline it would take for me to overcome the obstacles that were placed in my way.

Yes, there are times in our life when we legitimately don’t know what to do. But too often, too many of us set up camp there when we were meant to just pass through. In time, we accept our excuses as truth and trade our energy for apathy. Eventually, we give up and settle in – far short of our potential, far less happy and fulfilled than we could be. And when we do, we tell ourselves we just didn’t have the talent, or the skill, or the knowledge to move forward. When the truth is… we simply did not want to work hard and discipline our lives enough to reach the goals we should have had in life.

So as I reflect on the fifty plus years of this life, I am drawn to challenge myself fopossibilityr what can be accomplished in this phase of my life. There is still time and there is still opportunity. More and more, I’m coming to realize that hard work and discipline isn’t an enemy out to shame me. It’s a friend with a key.

If you want to be special, If you want to stand out from the crowd and change the world by something that you do.

You can. All you need is enough… discipline and hard work in your life.

No, more than likely, I won’t ever be remembered in my hometown and the world will make little note of my passing.  But I believe that there is still more for me to do.  There are things I still want to accomplish in life.  Things I believe I can make the difference in.  These goals can be attained by instilling an attitude of hard work and discipline in my life.

The same can be said for you and the things left for you to accomplish.

And yet, there is a small part of me that still thinks that maybe this will be the year that I will get drafted by the Cleveland Brown’s…

If only I had enough talent.

There are a Few Things I am Thankful for But Make 2009 Go Away

Maybe it’s just me,  but 2009 was a difficult year.  I am not sad to see it go away and be logged into the history books.   As I have reviewed this past year, I have noticed that so many of my posts have been directly related to the things that I was experiencing or thinking about at the time.  I have never written a post to get or gain attention.  I write to clear my head and it relaxes me. With that in mind, I have attached links to previous posts to the various experiences I have encountered this past year.  Please feel free to click on them and re-read some of my favorite posts of 2009.

It has been a year where I have had to deal with some serious health issues.   A few surgeries later, I am in still in recovery mode, trying to deal with the results of the operations.  Sometimes the cure is worse than the problem.  More importantly, this year was a time when I had to endure the loss of the two of the closest friends I have ever had on this earth.

Within a short span of three months, I lost Bob Emrich and Bryan Blakely.   Bryan was my closest childhood friend growing up in Oak Harbor, Ohio.  There wasn’t much that happened to either of  us from the time we were 6 to 18 that we were not involved in together.  As life happens to all of us, after high school we went our separate ways.  We always stayed in touch but we both lived in different parts of the country and we were on different paths.  However, Bryan was part of a foundation in my life and when we were able to get together over the years, it was just like old times.  Thirty years may have passed but it would only be a few moments and we were just like we were when we were 18.  Good times.  He was taken way too soon.

Bob was my mentor and he was the one person that could always point me in the right direction.  He was an example to me of what it means to live a life that would bring honor to his family and to his God.  He showed me how to truly live as Christian in this world.  He taught me more about God’s grace than any preacher that I have ever heard.  No, he was not perfect but he was a perfect example of what God can do in a person’s life if they allow Him to work in their life.  Bob wasn’t a preacher but a truck driver.  I cannot tell you how many times I would call him and he would be winding his way through the mountains of Tennessee or making his way through the corn fields of Iowa.  He always made time for me and always had a good word to say.  I still cannot bring myself to delete his phone number off my phone.

Performing the eulogy at their funerals was the most difficult thing that I have ever done.   I cannot express to you how much I miss them.

This year was also a time where I had to deal with some major health issues.  Without boring you with the details, I had to have two operations.  The second surgery was much more serious than I  was really prepared for and I am still dealing with the results of the operation.  Those results have hindered my ability to write and to do many of the things I did and enjoyed so easily in 2008.

For example, I have completely lost hearing in my left ear and have a 60% loss in my right.   I am on the fast track in becoming deaf.   Anyone who knows me, knows that I love music.  It is something that I have enjoyed my whole life and it is slowly being taken from me.  I have also lost most of my ability to taste food.  Most of my tongue is numb and I have limited ability to even taste what I am eating or drinking.   Finally, my right hand is still asleep.  This hinders my ability to write and typing is much harder than ever before.  The doctor says that while there is no chance that my hearing will come back, I may experience some improvement with some of the other issues.  So, while I am waiting to recover from this surgery,  I am trying to do what my friend Bob would have done.  He would  have called me to talk about the things we were thankful for in spite of the circumstances that we are in.

In honoring his life, I am trying to put into practice what he would have done.  In that process, I realize that I am extremely thankful for many things in my life, in spite of the difficulty of this past year.    One thing in particular that I am thankful for in 2009 is this blog.  Over the year, I have had over 150,000 visitors.  Now I know not all of them read my blog and some visit my blog just to read what new ridiculous and stupid thing  comes out of my mouth and spills out onto these pages.  Like I always say,  I love to write…I never said I write well.

One post that went viral this year was a post about things I am thankful for  called  “A Few of My Favorite Things… .  This post has by far has been my most popular post with over 20,000 hits and still growing.   I wrote that after my first surgery and just posted a few of my favorite things and things I was I was thankful for.   I would like to update it and add to those things and really be thankful for what God has allowed for me to be a part of in 2009.

So here are a few of my favorite things to be thankful for 2009…

And finally, in no particular order, here are a few of the maybe or maybe not so important things  to be thankful for…

So there you have it… a list of a few of my favorite things I am thankful for in my life.  No, the list is not complete and I am sure that there are more things I am thankful for if I would sit and think for a few minutes.    However,  that is for another time.

In closing, I will not be sad to see 2009 go away.  I am looking forward to what God has in store for me in 2010.   The slate is clean and anything is possible.

I will not be surprised by anything that may happen…but then again, maybe it’s just me.

The Hard-Luck Life of a Browns Fan

This is a re-post from an excellent article that Geoff LaTulippe wrote for ESPN.  I could not have written it any better or had my thoughts and feelings penned any more accurate than this post.

From one Browns fan to another…I hope you enjoy…

In reality, it all began Jan. 17, 1988.

Yeah, OK, the hooks were in place way before that — I was born in Berea, a Cleveland suburb, and even though I lived there for only a year, I’m too loyal for my own good. The Browns were my team by birthright, not unlike jaundice or fetal alcohol syndrome.  pg2_e_latulippe_300

But on that fateful winter day — I now was living, by some cosmic joke, in Denver — the 9-year-old me was packed with my father into the decidedly unfriendly confines of Mile High Stadium for the AFC Championship Game. Broncos versus Browns. John Elway versus Bernie Kosar. Dad versus hypothermia. Destiny.

Of course, you remember that game by two nauseating words: “The Fumble.” (Seriously, I could barely type that.) I remember it as the day all my hopes and dreams collapsed, died, caught on fire and then were urinated on by the universe.

I remember it as the day my lot in life as a Cleveland Browns fan was cemented. It didn’t dawn on me at the time as I bawled my eyes out, with the Denver fans throwing paper balls and ice at me, that my hyperemotional response was a contract. They had me. They were the Ike to my Tina. For life. A life of professional sports disappointment, pain, and Sundays full of deep-seated anger and regret.

Nearly 22 years later, I watched Sunday as we lost for the 12th — 12th, so help me God — consecutive time to the Pittsburgh Steelers. In between The Fum … the aforementioned AFC Championship Game and now, we’ve had a mere five winning seasons, a laughable four playoff appearances and three expletive-ridden years of inactivity after Satan himself ripped our beloved Browns out of Cleveland in 1996.

(Side note on Art Modell: I have so much seething hatred for you that it defies any rational explanation, so I’ll just say this: Wherever you are right now, I hope you are sad, alone and in severe physical pain.)

So … what am I still doing here? Honestly?

Well … honestly, I can think of 10 reasons I haven’t given up on the Browns:

10. When we DO win — and oh, one day we will — it is going to be the most magical, terribly profound thing that ever was. At this point, I’m willing to bet that it will be more important and satisfying than my wife and kid, neither of which exist at the moment.

Look at Red Sox Nation — 2004 happens, and everything is whisked away in an instant without a care. What curse? Babe Ruth what? Bill Buckner who?

Can you imagine the most painful memories of your failure-riddled brain laid fallow in the passing of one moment? Red Right 88, The Drive, The Fum … the aforementioned AFC Championship Game, the Modell Move … all of them gone? Forever? One Super Bowl win. That’s all it takes.pg2_g_browns_fans_300

Of course, you sort of have to ignore that, as an organization, the Browns are light years away from that moment in the talent department, the owner is apparently allergic to good coaching moves, they try to kill all their best players with staph infections and … screw it, I’ve just decided to go curl up in the fetal position and cry myself to sleep.

But then again, if the Arizona Cardinals can get to a Super Bowl …

9. I love being from an underdog, disrespected city like Cleveland — especially compared to the other AFC North locales. Consider what we’re up against:

Pittsburgh: America’s crotch. Literally one of the worst cities on the planet. Full of toothless mountain people. Looks from above as if someone decided, “You know what I’m going to do? Cut out a huge chunk of one of the worst sections of Eastern Europe and drop it in the middle of Pennsylvanian Appalachia.” At the end of the day, the Cleveland Browns suck, but at least we’re not from Pittsburgh.

Baltimore: A city of hypocrites and degenerates. Cried (rightfully) for nearly a decade and a half, not just about losing the Colts, but about how they lost them … and then accepted another team stolen under eerily similar pretenses and jackassedly supported it with nary a peep. Hang your head in shame, Baltimore.

Cincinnati: It’s Cincinnati. I don’t have the heart to say more than that. I can’t even hate the place. It’s … Cincinnati.

Up against those three, Cleveland is like a bright, shining Metropolis of the Future. All we ever did was set our lake on fire. Remember, we had Jim Brown. And then there’s the whole existence of Skyline Chili. I’m telling you, Cleveland … things could be worse.

8. We’ve got Josh Cribbs, the most electrifying player in the AFC. Even though no one we’ve hired as coach is smart enough to figure out how to use him consistently on offense. And he’ll probably be gone in two years after forcing a trade that he’ll want only because owner Randy Lerner refuses to renegotiate the contract extension he signed a couple of years ago that he’s outplayed by, oh, infinity.

But no, it’s a great idea to ignore the best Sweet-Jesus-there’s-no-way-to-stop-him player we’ve had since Eric Metcalf.

I’m going to have an aneurysm.

7. For Bernie Kosar. For Eric Metcalf. For Clay Matthews, and Hanford Dixon, and Frank Minnifield, and Brian Brennan, and Webster Slaughter, and Reggie Langhorne, and Steve Everitt, and Eric Turner, and Kevin Mack, and Leroy Hoard, and Michael Dean Perry, and for all those guys in the mid-’80s/early-’90s who played their hearts out for us every fall weekend and, for reasons we can’t comprehend, just barely came up agonizingly short.

pg2_a_byner_200But especially for Earnest Byner. EB, you’re not the reason we lost that game, and you were a cornerstone on one hell of a team. You deserve a hug, a clean record and way more respect. I’d say you deserve forgiveness, but there’s nothing to forgive. On behalf of the city of Cleveland, thanks for laying it all out there for us. No way one mistake can erase that.

If you’re a real fan, gut-wrenching defeat is not something you discard a team for — it’s something that fuels your lunatic devotion. Give up on everything these fellas fought so hard for? No chance.

6. No more Braylon Edwards. Ever.

5. Because one day I’ll be able to say, “No more Derek Anderson. Ever.” Incidentally, this day cannot possibly come soon enough. It also should not be confused with the organization’s stance on Brady Quinn: “No more Brady Quinn. Ever. Because a subpar performance by a third-year QB who’s little more than a rookie in terms of experience — with tenuous coaching staff support after a protracted, unnecessary and unrealistic preseason position competition — against two currently undefeated juggernauts and three of the top defenses in the league is enough to convince us that there’s absolutely no way the kid can play, and we are smart, smart peop … ooooooh look, a squirrel!”pg2_g_quinnb_200

4. I have no sense of pride, logic or reality. Also, I hate myself.

3. Any win, no matter how putrid or improbable (see: this season at Buffalo) is cause for manic celebration.

Remember when we kicked the crap out of the Steelers in 2003? Or when we crushed the Ravens in 2004? Or when we somehow managed to string three wins in a row together in 2007? Remember???

Me neither. Because like every other Browns fan, all of these events led to my brain melting, serious confusion, me stumbling out of my place of residence in a fog and eventually ending up in a bar plastered out of my mind on glee and light beer.

Coincidentally, this is pretty much the same thing that happens after a loss if you’re a Browns fan, except you drunk-dial ex-girlfriends just to breathe heavily and hang up, curse Phil Savage at the top of your lungs to no one in particular, vomit in front of a police officer and black out in what you think is an angel cloud but is actually a bush full of thorns and hornets.

Or maybe that’s just me.

2. All joking aside, I love the Browns. They cause me near-constant frustration and heartache, but that’s the price you pay when you become attached to a pro sports team to which you have only an imaginary philosophical connection. I won’t bail and support another team just because mine sucks, only to come back once we experience a modicum of success. What do I look like, a Patriots fan?

1. That afternoon in 1988, while I cried like an idiot, my dad put his arm around me, had a chuckle and told me it would all be OK. We’d win one day. Since my dad is the Greatest Guy Who Ever Lived, I know that’s true. He wanted me to keep the faith. So I will.

I mean, why else would he have given up his Sunday to head out into the bitter cold to watch a game he couldn’t have cared less about?

Thanks, Pop.

Win or Lose….I will die a Browns fan. Thanks to Geoff LaTulippe for a wonderful article.