Many of my friends at JCU who hail from places other than Cleveland often ask me, “How can you be a Browns fan amidst all the heartbreak?” The answer is deeper than you might think.
I still remember my first Browns game. The New York Giants were in town to play a sub-par 2-8 Browns team on a cold November afternoon in 2000. I attended the contest with my dad, enjoying every minute, even though the home team lost in typical Cleveland fashion.
Led by quarterback Doug Pederson, the Browns went up 3-0 in the first quarter before allowing 24 unanswered points to the Giants, resulting in a 24-3 loss.
I’ve been attending Browns games ever since. I’m lucky enough to have an awesome uncle who grants me the opportunity to go at least once or twice a year. I cherish the chance to see the Browns.
Many fans of other teams don’t understand my love for a squad known for consistently underachieving. How could I root for a team that’s appeared in the playoffs just once since 1999?
My love for Browns football began with my Dad. Since I went to my first game, the team has provided 16 opportunities for him and me to bond on a Sunday afternoon.
Since I came to JCU, I don’t get as many chances to sit down and watch the game with him. But when we see each other, we often talk about the Browns. And we cherish those chances we do get even more.
Many Cleveland fans share stories similar to mine, with tales of listening to the game on the radio or making the trek to the stadium.
As strange as it may seem, the Browns unite Clevelanders. Although the team can never seem to discover the secret formula to success, the Browns bring together families, friends and even random strangers. Walk with the crowd up West 3rd Street on a Browns game day and you’re sure to exchange high-fives with fellow fans, strike up a conversation about the team with a fan next to you and revel in countless “here we go Brownies” chants.
One of my favorite Browns moments occurred last Thursday, Oct. 13 against the Bills. T.J. Ward sealed a win for the Browns with an interception return for a touchdown. The actual play did not make the moment special. The celebration immediately following the play did. I high-fived the strangers sitting around me in orange and brown. I hugged my dad and I cheered in unison with over 71,000 other Browns faithful.
Following the injury to quarterback Brian Hoyer, Brandon Weeden once again assumes control of the offense. While some rue the rest of the season or hope for a good draft pick, I know one thing: win or lose, I’ll be watching the games and forming memories that will last a lifetime.