As a Browns fan, there are hardships and trials that you understand that no one else ever will.
1. The Perils of buying a player’s jersey.
To fans not in Cleveland, buying your favorite player’s jersey is a joyous occasion. You get the duel benefits of representing your favorite team and usually the recognition of other fans about the skilled players that your team has. Cleveland Browns fans however, no the ugly truth of buying a player’s jersey. You see, the odds of buying a Browns Jersey and the player remaining an active member of the roster are slim to none. Less than that even really. I personally have a Tim Couch jersey, a Gerard Warren jersey, two Peyton Hillis jersey’s (one in white, one in brown), a Braylon Edwards jersey (ugh), and a Lebron James jersey. I know Lebron wasn’t a Brown, but man, I bought the “official” one and paid like $200 for it. Come on man. I haven’t bought a new Browns jersey since the Peyton Hillis ones, because at some point you’ve got to stop bleeding money and wise up right? Wrong. Wrong. I’m sure I’ll have a new Johnny Manziel jersey after this draft.
2. The Perils of getting attached to any player or coach
There have been a lot of Browns players I’ve really liked over the years. Currently, I secretly admire Joe Thomas and D’Qwell Jackson. Not just because they’ve been here for a long time, relatively, but because they’re both great (Thomas) or good (DQ) at what they do, I fear that if I admit how much I like them, they’ll either be seriously injured or leave town. I mean, how many times has that happened? I remember how pumped I was when the Browns signed LaCharles Bentley. A great player who wanted to be in Cleveland? He’s my new favorite! Wait, what happened during his first practice as a Brown? Oh, right, he’s hurt and never going to play again. Quarterbacks are even more precarious. More than likely, they’ll struggle through a few barely watchable games, the fans and media will turn on them, and they’ll spend the rest of their time loathing Cleveland before they move on to be a backup somewhere else. Hell, they’ll be lucky if we don’t announce our intentions to draft another first round QB before they finish their first three and out. Coaches are even worse. I started to get attached to Chud. I really did. I loved his hometown story, his love for the team, and his reckless aggression on fourth down. Fired. I really wished that the Brian Hoyer Dream would turn into a movie someday, but of course he blew out his knee. You have to take on a Buddhist mindset as a Browns fan. Attachment leads to pain, pain leads to a range of bad emotions. Be Zen, man.
3. The Perils of discussing your team allegiance with anyone who is not a fellow Browns fan.
How many times at your job or other place where people gather have you been the lone Browns fan? Show of hands. No, those of you who work for the team do not count. Wait, you’re still the only one? Seriously? That explains so much, actually. Anyhow, if you’re like me, you’ve been in a situation where other fans are talking football, and naturally, you want to join in. Ah, but this is a precarious situation you’ve found yourself in, isn’t it? Because the second you blurt out “Yeah guys, I love football too! I’m a BROWNS FAN”, all eyes are immediately on you. As the assistant manager of IT, Larry, glares down his stupid hipster glasses at you, you suddenly find yourself as a figure of fun. “Hehe, we weren’t talking about Pop Warner football, we’re talking about PROFESSIONAL football” Larry says, in his stupid nasally nerd voice. Fuck you Larry. This isn’t revenge of the nerds, you don’t get to score points off me. GO FIX MY COMPUTER AND SHUT YOUR FACE HOLE ABOUT FOOTBALL NERD. Now you have to go to human resources to explain your behavior, all because you took on the socially uncool position of being a fan of your home team. No one else deals with this shit.
4. The Perils of that feeling of impending doom.
Being a Cleveland Browns fan, it’s like… it’s pretty god damn impossible to enjoy the simple things in life. Because if being a Browns fan has taught you anything, it’s that all your dreams and happiness will only come alive to murder you in the most horrific, twisted sort of ways. Dreams of a hometown quarterback, entering the NFL undrafted, working his ass off for years until he finally comes home to get his shot. Then he blows out his knee in a Nationally Televised game, just so everyone else on Earth can join in witnessing what God does to those he hates. Dreams of a hometown boy, chewing on dog biscuits in the Dawg Pound, growing up to be the teams offensive coordinator and eventually head coach, only to be fired after one year, both times. 11 MONTHS. They fired the guy who loved their team and would chew off his arm to coach it AFTER 11 MONTHS. Dreams… They’re just dust. We’re all just dust in the wind.
Shawn is an Army Sergeant, husband to the beautiful and brilliant @MrsStarr, dad to three, and lead writer/publisher here at Dawg Pound Nation. You can follow him on twitter @ShawnMStarr.