Tuesday, December 27, 2011

No politics, no coupons, no touchdowns

Originally published in the Tuscarawas County edition of the Bargain Hunter.

This being Christmas weekend, I will refrain from discussing whether Mitt Romney would make a better president than Newt Gingrich or vice versa.

The last thing, I suspect, that you want to do during this hectic season is to settle down in front of your nice toasty fireplace – a cup of eggnog nearby – and read about politics.

We could discuss fracking, or the failings of our socio-economic system, or the Occupy Wall Street movement, or North Korea, or even those crazy folks who visit Walmart on a daily basis.

In other words, we could get very serious and just ignore the fact that this is Christmas. But sometimes we should take some time and consider stuff that’s not really important.

“Oh, boy, Farrell’s going to discuss the value of newspaper coupons,” you’re probably thinking.

No, I’m not.

I want to talk about the Browns.

This weekend, on Christmas Eve, the Browns travel to Baltimore to face the old Browns, which are now called the Ravens.

I hate the Ravens.

Next weekend, on New Year’s Day, the Browns host the Pittsburgh Steelers in Cleveland Browns Stadium.

I hate the Steelers.

Now, if the Browns were any good this year, these would have been games to savor. Let’s say the Browns were in contention for a playoff spot and had to win the final two games to get in. Wouldn’t that have been terrific? We’d be getting and giving Browns jerseys and all sorts of Browns paraphernalia for Christmas.

Alas, it is not to be, Santa Claus.

Conventional wisdom has it that it’s probably better for the Browns if they lose both games, thus ensuring a better position in the NFL draft next spring. That’s when Cleveland fans pray that the Browns take that franchise linebacker from USC only to be disappointed when the team announces it has traded down, thus guaranteeing a playmaker like Brian Robiskie.

In the end, I’ll be OK with whatever happens, because I’ll be there next year no matter what – unlike a lot of other Ohioans who have jumped on the Steelers’ bandwagon. I believe they’re called frontrunners.

I’ll cut some slack to the Ohioans who live near the Pennsylvania border or who happen to hail from the Keystone State, which has given the world, among other things, Yuengling beer, which is really good, and a turnpike, which is not.

I have noticed some things about Steelers’ fans over the years. They are a different breed, to wit:

–Steelers fans wear their logo-emblazoned hoodies in the spring and summer. This is probably because the Pirates baseball team is so bad that Steelers fans are too embarrassed to admit that football season actually ends in Pittsburgh.

–In a bar, Steelers fans always seem to infiltrate a Browns crowd and will stay mostly silent until the Browns are on the wrong side of the score. Then Steelers fans become really loud and obnoxious.

–Steelers fans refer to the Cleveland Browns as “the Brownies,” indicating to the faithful that our team actually is comprised of girls. (Browns fans, on the other hand, respond: “Stillers fans are idiots.” And it goes downhill from there.)

–Some Steelers fans are so enamored with their football team that they actually will buy ugly yellow and black pickup trucks and stick the Steelers logo on both doors. (OK, Browns fans paint old milk trucks orange and brown. That’s a draw.)

This year, the Browns added an official comedian, Mike Polk, who earlier this fall coined the term “Factory of Sadness” in a video made in the aftermath of yet another disappointing loss. I hope someday he can revisit that thought and replace it with something a little more positive.

In the meantime, I will keep the faith and hope for a Browns win this holiday season.

Here’s hoping you have a terrific Christmas – no matter what (and even if you are a Steelers fan) ­– and that your favorite team brings a little cheer to your life. It’s good for us, you know.

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter (dfarrell_dover).

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