Why did I become a Browns fan? I didn’t. Seriously, I didn’t. I was born one. I was born under the early reign of the Kardiac Club in a small hospital in Wooster, Ohio. I have the vaguest memories of the excitement of Brian Sipe. I remember my parent’s excitement that we drafted Bernie Kosar. I loved watching his awkward throwing motion. As a kid, Webster Slaughter and Reggie Langhorne were "the best" to me and should have been perennial Pro-Bowlers every year. Eric Metcalf was so electrifying to watch.
I remember "The Fumble" and "The Drive". I remember thinking, we’ll get back there again. I believed it. It was so simple. We just stick with what we’d been doing to get there and we’ll be fine.
Even knowing just how terrible things have been since 1995, they’ve still controlled my pulse, my heart rate and my very life. 20 years ago I graduated high school. There was no NFL team playing in Cleveland. When my classmates asked me who my favorite sports team was, I still answered with the Cleveland Browns.
"But they don’t exist!"
Yes. Yes they do. In the beating heart of every Cleveland fan, they existed. I was excited to see the Cleveland Indians in the World Series last year. I was beyond ecstatic to watch the Cleveland Cavaliers hoist that trophy last year. I still get choked up when watching highlights of "The Block", Kyrie’s iconic shot over Curry and Kevin Love’s desperate defense of an even more desperate Stephen Curry.
None of that comes close to how overjoyed I would be, should the Browns get to a Superbowl. Not Win. Just get there. Winning would take me to heights of euphoria that are illegal in most galaxies.
Though I am born in mid-April, the Browns are my Zodiac Sign. They are my strength and my foundation. They are my hope and my salvation. The last two decades have been nothing more than character-forming, patience-testing, karmic-bundling towards a grand finale that will shut the City of Cleveland down for a week…and though I live in Wisconsin…it will
probably definitely shut me down too.