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Monday, October 23, 2006


Cleveland Rocks (In an Ironic Sense)

I did something yesterday that I haven't done in a long, long time. I actually watched a Cleveland Browns game. Or at least part of one. I went for a run in the middle of it. And, actually, I was grading student work as I sat in front of it. But still, it's more than I've done in a long, long time.

When I told my dad I was watching, his response was, "Why the hell would you wanna do that?" He's not very forgiving, y'see.

'Cause, like my dad, I was a fan in the old days. Back when the Browns were perennial playoff contenders/also-rans. Back after The Drive, but before The Betrayal. (And if you didn't have to click the links to know what the hell I was talking about, you are my brother and I love you. In a macho, Greatest Generation kind of way.)

My dad is still very, very bitter. We're talking like a three-day-old espresso kind of bitter. The man practically spits and makes the sign of the evil eye when you mention the Browns. When I talked with him yesterday, I asked, "Hey, you watching the Browns?" "The Browns moved to Baltimore years ago," he told me, and spit. He will have nothing to do with this changeling team that was left in their place.

Myself, I feel differently. I used to love the sport. I used to love the team. Since their return seven years ago, I've wanted to love them. But they just haven't held my interest. (Kind of like Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, only with less pretension and no Timothy Busfield.) I've followed their stats in a half-assed sort of way on Monday mornings, but I haven't really been able to whip up any enthusiasm about them for the most part.

Yesterday, though, when I was flipping around cable and saw that their game against Denver was being aired on my local CBS affiliate, I couldn't stop myself. I switched to channel 2 and proceeded to watch them get the living shit kicked out of themselves. It was a little embarrassing, to be honest.

It was just like old times.

Imagine what it felt like to be at the stadium!! To watch the embarrassment as the temp fell 20 degrees and the winds off the lake increased to 30 m.p.h. !! Good times!

I don't know if it's the onset of apathy in middle age, or if I've just never really connected with the new team, but I don't have the same feelings about this incarnation of the Brown and Orange that I used to about the old Brownies. I can now afford the childhood dream of going to any game I feel like, and so I do. So where I should be excited and pumped, I'm usually left with an empty feeling, like, "Did I just see a professional game?"

On the walk to the stadium, I happened across Mike DeWine, a Republican Senator from Ohio. He was campaigning IN PERSON, out "pressing the flesh" with the masses. This means he is DESPERATE for votes. He sucks ass, and I will relish the moment that he is toppled next month.

I walked over to him, looked down at him, made eye contact, shook his little weasel paw, and leaned in just a hint as I whispered, "It's over." He cocked his head quizically, and narrowed his eyes, as if I'd asked him if he fucks little boys, and he was desperately trying to remember the appropriate answer. I released my grip, nodded, and walked away with a chuckle.

That has nothing to do with football, but it felt great. And Mike, if you're reading this, don't take offense, but the whole time we were doing it, I was thinking about Dubya.
Nice. Nice.
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