Self-inflicted wounds are still wounds nonetheless. And this past weekend I hurled myself once more down the Cleveland sports staircase. I subjected myself to the Buckeyes and Browns games and, despite knowing better, was foolish enough to get my hopes up that this past weekend would be different than what I'd experienced in the past.
I know: I'm an idiot for approaching it that way. I have plenty of company.
But that's not really what's troubling me. What's troubling me is that, like a hemophiliac, I don't seem to be recovering from these wounds.
Usually I'm able to pick myself up relatively quickly and get back to living life with some joy and some optimism where my sports teams are concerned. But it's now the middle of the week and I'm still crumpled at the bottom of those steps and either unable or unwilling to lift myself and begin climbing toward the light.
Maybe it's because I'm impatient. Or maybe it's because I can't see any light right now.
I've told myself for the past three or four days all the things that have inspired me to get off the mat in the past but it's not working this time around.
Look, I realize it's a taking a very narrow look at what's going on. The Browns looked like an actual NFL football team for a half on Sunday. I think they'll be fine with the passage of time and the acquisition of talent. But the outlook for this season is bleak. Eric Mangini will continue purging the talentless and the elderly from the roster until he's remade the club into what it ultimately will be. That's a painful process to watch and I'm just not sure I can do it down there at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Again, in narrow terms, the Buckeyes season is all but over from a national title perspective. Looking at the program more holistically doesn't help here. This Ohio State loss to USC on Saturday night was the ‘hallelujah moment' for me as far as this program is concerned. There's not as much talent in Columbus as there is at USC or Florida or some of the other annual elite programs and what talent is at Ohio State's disposal is simply not being properly utilized.
You can look at it either way and be depressed. You can argue with my talent assessment and state the Buckeyes have plenty. If you're right then it would seem to validate the fact that there's a deeper issue that may be more difficult to correct. To the point, that would be coaching and philosophy.
If you agree the Buckeyes come up short talent-wise in comparison to the elite college football teams you have to wonder if and when the decision makers at Ohio State will recognize and rectify that issue. Personally I'm hoping it is a talent discrepancy because that's more likely a short term fix compared to facing the possibility that the game has passed by a coaching staff that's won a national title and has played in three title games in seven years.
Perhaps this would all be bearable if we were getting ready for post season baseball on the North Coast. But...ummm...that's not the case. I don't even want to get into the systemic illness that plagues the Indians right now. I don't have the heart for it.
What it all means is I just can't continue to expose myself to the forces combining to kick my ass. I had a ticket for Saturday's OSU-Toledo game at Cleveland Browns Stadium. A nice fall morning of tailgating followed by a Buckeyes game would be something I'd normally look forward to for weeks.
Not right now.
Maybe it's because it's down at CBS, the scene of so many crimes against sporting humanity, but I've sold the ticket. I've never been to any Ohio State game and I sold the ticket for exactly what I paid for it. Don't want it. I don't want to see either a blow-out Buckeye victory over a MAC team nor a close win that further reinforces what I already feel about the team.
Same with my Browns season tickets. I've already begun selling them off. It started with the Pittsburgh game on December 10th and I'm already talking to a couple of people about the October 25th game against the Packers.
Certainly I'll watch all of those games but I'll do it without investing as much financially or emotionally. At this moment it's just not worth it to battle the crowds, the drunks, the idiots and the gauntlet of profiteers to do so.
Seriously, how many times would you go to a restaurant that's ridiculously overpriced, charges an exorbitant amount of money to park, provides rotten service while serving awful food and that you have to fight your way through drunken morons to get in and out of?
Be honest. Would you go to that restaurant on every other Sunday in the fall for seven straight years?
That's the point to all of this. It's not a ‘Woe is me' rant. At least it's not intended to be. It's just more from the perspective that, personally, I've finally hit the wall, at least for the time being, where I can't justify the time, money, emotion or hassle that's involved with these teams.
And it's also to ask those of you who read this column if you've reached that point yet, if you gotten there in the past and overcame it or if you're convinced you'll never get to that level of frustration/depression/craziness because you bleed orange and brown onto your scarlet and gray authentic game jerseys?
Either way, I'd like to hear how to step out of the darkness and back into the sporting light because I haven't been in this rut before.
And because I've got some Browns tickets for sale.