During its coverage of the Denver-Cleveland game last night, the NFL Network showed highlights of how, 21 years ago,
And then fail, dismally.
I, as a Viper pup, sat at my papa's knee and watched the Cleveland Browns play Denver in the AFC playoffs, one game away from the Super Bowl, a game in which Cleveland has never played because the first Super Bowl was in 1967 and the team's last championship was in 1964.
On that day in January, Cleveland was ahead 20-13 in the fourth quarter and had Denver pinned deep in its own territory with five minutes remaining when Elway rattled off a series of plays that became known as The Drive.
Cleveland lost. It was stunning. A season that was so exciting to watch had suddenly and quite finally ended. And then, I uttered those fateful words, "Maybe next year."
Next year has never come.
I have since watched the Browns leave Cleveland for Baltimore in 1995, return in 1999 in absolute dismal fashion, with only two winning seasons in that time, one of them last year, when it looked like just maybe this team might become respectable again, only to look like dog -- oh, I'm sorry -- dawg turds again this year, as they looked last night. Maybe next year.
I have seen the Cleveland Indians go from a team that was so bad they made movies about it, to a team that, in a new, record-settingly full ballpark, reached and lost the World Series twice in the 1990s, one time just two outs away from winning the whole damned thing, then all those players left Cleveland for bigger paychecks (bon voyage, Albert; bye, Jim; see ya, Manny), while the Indians got "rebuilding years," until last year when I saw the team win its last post-season game, putting them one win away from another chance to lose the World Series, only to lose three straight games to Boston, which won the Series, something Cleveland has not done since 1948, when ironically the team beat both Boston teams. This was supposed to be their year. Maybe next year.
I have seen the Cleveland Cavaliers, a team that has never won a championship in its existence, a team that in the late 1980s to mid-1990s was one of the best basketball teams in the league, a team that unfortunately had to play against a guy named Michael Jordan, who played in the same conference and prevented the Cavs from ever reaching the NBA Finals, eventually leading the team to break apart and fall into such futility that I stopped watching basketball altogether, until the team was so bad that it got the first pick in the 2003 draft and selected Akron-born phenomenon, LeBron James, who has returned the team to success, taken them to the playoffs three consecutive years, to the NBA Finals in 2006-07, losing to the San Antonio Spurs, returning to the conference finals again last year, only to lose, of course, to Boston. This is supposed to be their year. Maybe this is next year?
I have seen The Drive, The Fumble, The Shot, The Move, The Blown Save. I have seen coaches and players leave Cleveland to win championships elsewhere. (Oh, hi Jim, Manny, Bill and Ron! Thanks for joining, Charlie!) I have seen hope dashed, smelled its decayed flesh, and tasted its rancid bitterness.
I watch sports not thinking my team will win, but knowing it will figure out a way not to. I cheer for players who are rumored to be on the first flight out of Cleveland when their contract is through. I wincingly root for teams that I'm scared will build me up just to let me down (let me down) and mess me around and then worst of all (worst of all) they never call, baby, when they say they will (say they will) but I love them still.
I am a Cleveland sports fan. And I know why they brew good beer with 10 percent ABV.
This is my baggage. Thank you for listening.
Wherein I'm just too angry at my local sports team to be all that clever in response to your comments this week, but it doesn't matter because your comments are never all that good anyway.
Marcy thinks everyone whose name starts with V looks the same and admits to a perverted fetish for odors: "Are you and Vanilla the same person? You both said the SAME damn thing in your comments HAHAHHAAA I'm anal about smelling. I also put deodorant on before bed."
Answer: No, Vanilla and I are not the same person. I'm the faster and better looking one, whose only children are illegitamate. I also know how to copy and paste. Please keep the anal smelling talk off my site.
Xenia has some advice in regards to my not running: "Let's see -- you have poor eyesight, a propensity to drop your pants, and somehow hurt your leg while scooting closer to your desk. Perhaps if you laid off that extra-curricular activity of yours, you'd be able to run. Just saying."
Answer: Next, your going to tell me that forearm soreness is not a common running injury.
Ms. V shows why she is a good teacher: "Okay, I know it looks like we've been on your blog for like, 15 minutes, but seriously, my 5th period class spent all this time watching Soul 2 Soul and explaining to me that it's a REALLY old group.
"I'm like, NO, this guy that put this up is really young and hip. Except for the fact that you're experiencing some age related aches and pains."
Answer: My SiteMeter clocked you at 13:48. I'm glad to see your students are learning under the influence of my alcoholy writing. I'm a premium role model.
Thanks for stopping by everyone. I'm sorry if your comments didn't get the treatment you felt they deserved. Maybe next year.
Happy Hour is nearly upon us. I hope you brew a fine weekend for yourselves. Run well and drink well. Cheers.