I’ve never been a follower of The Ohio State University’s sports: didn’t go there; don’t care. But everyone assumes I’m a fan because I exist within 60 miles of their stadium. In the fall it’s perfectly acceptable for a complete stranger to invade my space and hoot, “O-H!” gesturing wildly like a confused Village Person. They expect the proper response, which is not, I’ve discovered, “F-U.”
Football madness also rages strong 60 miles to my north in Cleveland. In the Browns stadium there is a section reserved for The Dawg Pound. This section is known for its rowdiness, excessive alcohol consumption, and for its population of tirelessly enthusiastic men in Browns jerseys and rubber dog masks. This all sounds suspiciously like the antics at an afternoon in the OSU Horseshoe, but I’m here to tell you that Browns fans are different. They maintain magestic reservoirs of hope and optimism and, having been dragged through the mud many times before, retain this loyalty and the there’s always next year mentality through the worst of seasons.
It is hard to be a Browns fan. We don’t win all that much. I was thinking of this just the other day as I stood in the craft beer aisle looking for a brown ale. Nothing. Not even that Honey Brown crap we considered to be “the good stuff” in college. It was all IPAs and pumpkin beer. The next store, more of the same. I couldn’t win. The third store had one kind of brown ale, Bell’s Best Brown out of Michigan. Score. Continue reading