Wednesday, September 12, 2007

On being a Browns fan

Shortly after the Browns returned in '99, I bought a little Browns shirt for my nephew. Like a lot of other dads, the Rhino raided his kids' college funds and bought 4 PSL's that gave him the privilege of paying for season tickets.

"Seems like I'm caught up in your trap again.
Seems like I'll be wearing the same old chains."

That huckster from Youngstown, Carmen Policy, peddled the renaissance of the team all over Ohio and immediately started talking about the playoffs. The talk shows and their callers started talking about renewing the rivalries with Pittsburgh and Cincinnati and just shitting all over Baltimore.

"Good will conquer Evil. And the truth will set me free. And I know someday I will find the key. I know somewhere I will find the key. "

Dwight and Carmen drafted a batch of stiffs and criminals. They wasted the extra picks the Browns received to ease the transition back. Pittsburgh destroyed the Browns in the opener.

"Seems like I've been playing your game way too long. Seems the game I 've played has made you strong."

They hired Butch Davis after he broke his promise to his players and bosses at Miami. Tim Couch cried. The Browns lost more and more and more. Art Friggin Modell won a Super Bowl. Despite everything, the fans kept showing up, kept buying t-shirts and as much Browns gear as they could grab.

"When the game is over I won't walk out the loser. I know I'll walk out of here again. I know someday I'll walk out of here again."

They finally cleaned house and got rid of Policy and Clark. Butch kept making lousy draft picks and just kept losing. They got rid of Butch too. Everyone hoped for the best with the new regime. After all, it had to get better. There was no other way to go.

"Well now I'm Trapped.
OOh yeah. Trapped.
OOh yeah. Trapped.

Seems like I'vebeen sleeping in your bed too long.
Seems like you've been meaning to do me harm."

They hired Romeo, who had no head coaching experience. The only thing he's done is made losing the norm. He had to flip a coin to figure out which player was best for the single-most important position on the field. About 20 minutes of this year's home opener apparently proved him dead wrong.
But, the Browns keep making money, big, big money, even though the team is a laughingstock.

I knew all that, and I watched. I watched on Sunday with a flicker of hope in my chest. I watched "knowing" they were going to lose, but hoping I was wrong. The next day, I read the fishwrap about them. Now, they're dangling Brady out there as the savior. He's all they've got left. I'll probably continue to watch to see him when he starts. He's another agent of heartbreak, just disguised with a pretty smile.

"But I'll teach my eyes to see beyond these walls in front of me.
Someday I'll walk out of here again.
Someday I'll walk out of here again."

~~~Italicized lyrics from "Trapped" by B. Springsteen


peter said...

I can't help it. Always have been and always will be a Browns fan. My dad's had season tickets since 1950, and I've lived through quarterbacking by the likes of Don Gault, Mike Phipps, Paul McDonald, Todd Philcox, and Charlie Frye (who's the worst of the group, though likable as hell). So we've been living through the growing pains of an expansion team that's made some horrendous moves, but what of Bengals fans in the '90's, Steelers fans forever until the '70's, Saints fans forever, etc., etc.? Thus far I don't think we've sunk as low as Ted Stepien (may he rest in peace). We've got the makings of a top-notch NFL line, a top-notch corps of linebackers and receivers, and by all appearances a QB who's got the goods. Stop bitching. Root for the Tribe. Be grateful your kids aren't growing up like I did, worshiping Vern Fuller (!). And be patient.

Hornless Rhino said...

Wow, Vern Fuller -- now there's a blast from the past. I know you idolized him, but let's face it, he was no Pedro Gonzalez.

Talk about desperate times.

Lollipop Sal said...

Amen. Those guys make me sick.