There I was, at the Browns game, watching what could potentially be an amazing win.
14-3 at halftime. The Browns actually hitting on some big plays. The defense playing like a real-life NFL defense. The home crowd alive with surprise and joy. Beautiful women tearing off their clothing and making out with homely accountants.
Of course, being a Cleveland Browns fan, I felt absolutely no comfort. We could have a Michigan State-esque 24 point halftime lead and I would not feel safe. But it was a helluva lot better than I was expecting. “Just please please PLEASE don’t fuck it up,” I silently implored the Browns.
The second half was not a thing of beauty, but the defense hung in there, and the Browns really didn’t deserve to lose the game.
As Will Munny told Little Bill Daggett just before he removed his cranium with buckshot, “Deserve’s got nothing to do with it.”
10 minutes and change left. The Browns get the ball, move efficiently down the field (OK – Charlie Frye willed them down the field), and take 6 minutes off the clock. The Browns have first and goal at the 3. The worst that can happen – the absolute worst – is that the Browns have to settle for a field goal to go up 17-12. Right? RIGHT???
Please please PLEASE don’t fuck it up…
(Enter vengeful Browns-hating deity to laugh at our feeble hopes.)
Frye gets hit as he releases the ball. The subsequent errant pass floats into a Baltimore defender’s hands. The game is over.
“Hell no the game’s not over!” screams my nearing-hoarse girlfriend. Ah, to be a Browns fan and yet so innocent. I remember those halcyon days… the historians like to refer to them as 1986.
My buddy apparently has seen the same Browns I have over the years. “15-14,” he mutters to me. I numbly nod my head.
There are many times that I can see the future. Unfortunately, these times never come when they could be useful, such as before a horse race, or the lottery drawing, or a big boxing upset, or perhaps the 1980 Winter Olympics. No, they come whenever the Browns are holding onto a slim lead in the 4th quarter.
The game was over. I knew it.
So as the rest of Cleveland Browns stadium went nuts, screaming, imploring, begging the Browns to pull out this football contest, I stood dead, arms folded, grim look of depression and sullen concession. I’d seen this before. It haunts my dreams.
“Come on! Get excited!” my girlfriend yells at me. Foolish broad. Don’t you know when it’s time to start acceptance? If I were to get all riled up just to have my hopes dashed YET (big letters) again, I might end up like her – falling down the escalator stairs and yelling drunkenly at random stadium employees.
So as the Cleveland Death March made its way down the field, I just watched in detached dissatisfaction.
I don’t care if they played better today. I’m sick of the throbbing dull pain that is the moral victory. It’s like being excited because the 400 pound Samoan that’s about to anally rape you is at least using KY this time.
“This is a long field goal! They’re gonna miss it!” bleats my girlfriend.
“Only if their kicker has an orange helmet on,” I reply.
“You’re a dick! You have no faith! It’s a good thing that you’re so fantastic sexually, satisfying each and every need I have as a woman, or else I might be mildly upset with you!” she squeals.
(She disputes ever saying that last sentence, and although I cannot believe that I might mis-recall something like that from our exchange... It’s all very hazy…)
Needless to say, we all know where that 52 yard kick went. Straight down the fairway.
“Shit! Fuck! Cocksucking… shit!” My girlfriend is so upset she has ceased to use coherent sentences.
“Yup,” I murmur, staring dully ahead in the same fashion that I have been doing for the last 10 minutes.
“How can you not be pissed?” she shrieks at me.
“I am pissed,” I respond. “I’m just further down the path in the grief cycle than you are.”
Anyway… sigh… 0-3 pretty much means that the playoffs are a crack-whore’s dreams of royalty. I know that we looked much better this week… I know there’re some things to build on (none of which rhyme with “schmoffensive line”)… I know that we finally have some playmakers to build upon for next season (chant with me now… ooooooom… next season… next season… next season… you! Spit out that Clorox! How can you be suicidal when there’s always next season?!?!)
Sadly, the fact remains that we’ll YET again be discussing Browns draft options in September. To me, that’s about as much fun as swabbing my urethra with a hot sauce-drenched Q-Tip.