After reading the ill-advised fanpost this week from a misguided Steeler fan asking the members of DBN something to the effect of “How Do We Do It? Support the Browns Day In Day Out?”—and subsequently becoming so incensed that I had no choice but to stumble to my local and douse the flames with copious amounts of lager—I felt compelled to try and answer this question with a fanpost of my own. Sitting on the F train this morning, somewhere beneath the East River, two words came to mind as to why I do, year in year out, support the Cleveland Browns. Faith and character.
Faith, as the Danish existentialist Soren Kierkegaard saw it, is the act of believing in or accepting something that cannot be proven and has no tangible evidence. As Browns fans each year we listen to whatever GM/Head Coach that currently runs the team as he subtly pushes us to go out and buy tickets, to buy a jersey, get the DirecTV Sunday Ticket and we do it. We do it because we have faith that they have a plan and that our team will bring us joy on Sunday afternoons. We take the proverbial “leap of faith” even though there is no proof that we will be any better or win many games besides the empty words of a few men, a few positive scouting reports on new players and maybe even Sterling Sharpe picking us as his upset of the week (like this week) . My wife—a native New Yorker—cannot fathom why it is that I continue to take this hazardous leap but each and every Sunday I throw my “lucky” Browns shirt on and sit in front my TV full of faith and hope. And one day, one day soon I hope, some elegant celestial power (or just a fleet footed wide receiver who catches the ball and a strong armed QB who can get it to him) will swoop down like God did to Abraham as he was about to kill his son and grant me a winning team to support. You cannot really explain faith, it is beyond comprehension—totally ineffable. You just have it. My faith was borne from the halcyon days of my youth in suburban Akron watching Slaughter, Kosar, Matthews, Byner and Brennan. And it is solid as a rock.
As far as character goes, thats what is formed within us as Browns fans along the way. Watching victory after victory cruelly stolen away (or, more often than not, given away) we learn to deal with disappointment like few other fan bases . . .to not punch holes in the closet door after your wife has the guts to laugh about a loss . . . to not start doing shots of Fernet Branca one after another to dull the pain. We become stronger and better fans who are—whether or not they want to admit it—the envy of the rest of the league. How would most Steeler fans react to a string of losing seasons? Most would probably stick with their team but a good amount would run to the comforting arms of the Pats or Cowboys or Eagles. This is the truth.
But Browns fans, how do we do it? How do we keep coming back behind the woodshed for another beating?
Faith and character.