Fall means a lot of things. The weather changes, we get pumpkin spice lattes back, it’s sweater weather and all that stereotypical crap.
For me, though, fall means the return of my two favorite sports: football and hockey. Confession time: I am a huge Cleveland Browns fan. Once you’ve finished laughing, we can move on. I guess the only justification I can give for this is that I am typically a very hopeful person. I continue to hope that someday the Browns will win the Super Bowl even though the team finds new ways to let me down each season.
I blame my father for my Browns obsession. He grew up rooting for the Brownies, and he had me in a Bernie Kosar jersey before I could walk. Many a Sunday I scratch my head and ask why he couldn’t have picked a better team for me. Thanks for all the heartbreak, Dad. For Christmas this year, I want to get my family these shirts:
So, be that as it may, I am determined to watch the Dawgs play every Sunday. I’m still fighting with Verizon, and I still do not have TV or Internet in my apartment (my battles with Verizon have turned into an epic that deserves its own blog post when I am feeling less murderous). Therefore, my Browns loving requires a sports bar. After being laughed out of the bar two doors down from me when I told them what game I wanted to watch in Week 1, I found one over in Crown Heights that has the full NFL package and about 15 TVs. At any given moment, 10 of those TVs are turned to the Giants game. The people in the bar do not talk about the Jets. If you bring them up, you will not live to tell the tale.
The diehard (read: insane) Giants fans are led by a large, boisterous black gentleman who enjoys drinking many gameday beers and then introducing himself as “Big Cheddar.” They know me now and will grudgingly change the small corner TV from the Giants to the Browns. I’ll take a stack of papers to grade and have a beer. It’s a very pleasant way to spend a Sunday. The Browns usually do okay for a bit, but by the end of the second half they’re pretty much all petered out (typical). By then I’ll have mumbled and grumbled to my football buddies and then I’ll pack up my books at the two minute warning and head home so I don’t have to watch the actual loss.
Yesterday, however, was a good day. I walked into the bar around halftime and was greeted by Big Cheddar, who was decked out in his Giants jersey and lucky hat. When I got there, everybody was sulking because the Giants game was offering no real excitement, and Big Cheddar was drowning his sorrows in beer because his lucky hat was not doing its job. When it became clear the Giants were not going to score at all, Big Cheddar convinced the cranky bartender to let me have – wait for it – the big screen for the Browns-Vikings game. I was greeted with a miraculous surprise… the Browns were winning!
The Browns just traded their best player Trent Richardson away to Indy several days ago. Rumor has it the team captains spent the pregame convincing the team that, contrary to popular belief, the management has not given up on them and written off the whole season as a do-over. Reassured, the Browns somehow discovered that offense is a thing and that touchdowns exist. I will spare you the glorious play by play, but I will tell you that it was a wonderful victory for the Brownies.
The best part, though, was that by the end, all the people around me were cheering right along with me. Sure, it’s just because the Giants were going down in flames and Big Cheddar needed some excitement, but the fact that they gave me their big screen when the Giants were on really meant a lot. One of the biggest reasons I love football is because it often brings completely different people together, and on Sundays, when I really miss my dad and my brother, it’s nice to know that I’ve found a place where I can still have that community. I don’t have a lot in common with Big Cheddar and the crew, but I know where I’ll be next week!
Readers, what are your favorite sports teams? Any fun football stories to share?