Last weekend I attended a golf outing just to the southeast of Pittsburgh. We arrived on Friday evening and had 36 holes to play all day Saturday, with 18 on Sunday before the drive home. The Ski resort was beautiful, and the golf course was spectacular. It almost made being deep within enemy territory for a weekend acceptable.
Of course me being me, I couldn't imagine spending a weekend surrounded by Steeler fans with me and my buddy being the only Browns fans within miles, and not fully representing my fanhood. I had to fly our colors proudly.
I walked into the buffet breakfast Saturday morning proudly sporting my Browns golf shirt and hat with brown plaid shorts. Within seconds I heard "what the F$@k is that?!?", and "Holy $hit, what the hell are you wearing?!" It was officially "On".
For the remainder of the weekend I would be referred to as "Cleveland" - proudly, I might add. There was a tremendous amount of fantastic football conversation with everybody I came in contact with. We spoke about the history, the draft and especially the concern that the Browns are a team on the rise, ready to challenge the Steelers. Friends, they are officially worried about our young, upcoming talent in Steel-town.
The most fun I had though was with a Pittsburgh cop. He talked the most trash, bought me a Steelers ball marker and bet me that if he beat my score on the course that day, I'd come to a Steelers game - on him - and wear a Steelers jersey. If I were to beat him, he'd pay his own way and come to a Browns Home game with me, wearing a A Browns jersey. I, being buzzed at 8:30 in the morning and over estimating my golf prowess, accepted the challenge. I felt pretty good about myself after the 43 on the front nine. Alas, he shot 37. No way I was making up 6 strokes on the back, and my fate was sealed. We exchanged business cards.....we will see what we will see later this year.
Aside from the cop though, I'm happy to report that even on Sunday, when I wasn't wearing any Browns gear, I was still subjected to taunts in my backswing, and even being stopped as I was pulling out of the parking lot to go home by someone that wanted to make sure I knew "Cleveland Sucks" before I hit the road. The amount of razzing I received over the weekend made me comfortable that even though the Browns haven't upheld their part for the last decade and the Ratbirds have become a force within the division, the Browns/Steelers rivalry still lives. The long time, older fans have not forgotten. Let's hope this year we do more to fuel the fire, and next year I can rub a little salt into some fresh wounds on my golf weekend in enemy territory!