In high school we remember that one couple who started dating their Freshman year and went through a very dramatic off and on relationship until they graduated High School.
Instead of four years my toxic relationship has been going on for 25 years.
Throughout that toxic relationship there was always one party who would always take advantage of the other. And despite always being taken advantage of, the other party would always take them back.
In my relationship with the Cleveland Browns, the Browns always seem to take advantage of me.
I buy new jerseys, t-shirts, koozies, coffee mugs, old sports illustrated magazines, and worst of all I give them my heart.
I give them my heart every Sunday through four quarters win or lose. I am all in every draft night thinking they will draft the next franchise guy to finally turn this miserable relationship around.
Guess what, it never happens. They always let me down.
Just like that toxic relationship, people always ask why.
Why do you put up with the abuse? Why don’t you just move on?
To which I respond with…
Do you honestly think I don’t want to move on? You think I like doing this?
My favorite players growing up were Kurt Warner, Brett Favre, and Peyton Manning.
Don’t you think I wanted to enjoy Sundays watching those guys play quarterback?
Do you think I enjoyed watching Kelly Holcomb, Brady Quinn, Colt McCoy, or Charlie Frye for that matter?
Just like that toxic relationship you do it because of one thing.
And that is Love.
The Browns are my first love, and dropping that first love is never easy.
Because, you remember the beginning when things were great, when you had hopes and dreams.
I remember the Browns running onto the field when they returned in 1999 to eventually get shutout by the Steelers.
I remember going to the playoffs in 2003, and the 10 wins in 07. I just want those romantic days to return, so we can have that healthy relationship like I know we can have.
Instead, you take advantage of me!
You not only get my hopes up every year, you get my hopes up every week!
The Browns could announce my dog Kip as the starting qb for next weeks game and by Saturday I would have convinced myself we are going to win.
To give you an idea here is how my week is when thinking about the Browns.
The Browns just lost in the worst way possible, whether it was a blowout or they lost because a guy threw his helmet in celebration before the play was over and the penalty from that set the other team up to make a game tying field goal and eventually win in overtime.
By the way, that actually happened. I didn’t make that up.
Anyway, I spend the rest of the day pissed off ranting about how I am done with this team and I am not expecting us to win another game for the rest of the season.
I throw out phrases; “Why do I do this to myself,” “I don’t know why I watch,” “I am not getting excited for another game this season,” or “I can’t wait for the draft.”
I am usually still upset about the game. I spend the day ranting and talking to my friends about the game.
My friends aren’t really talking to me, it is just me ranting and them just nodding their heads.
I read articles and listen to podcasts about the game that only frustrate me more.
Most of the time I am still telling everyone that I am done getting excited and how we are just going to get our asses kicked Sunday.
Depression has kicked in. I probably just got done watching a stellar Monday night game where I saw Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady put on a performance for the ages.
This causes me to ask myself… Why can’t we be good? Why can’t I have a reason to enjoy watching this team?
I don’t want to talk about the Browns, and I don’t even want to think about the Browns.
I block the Browns out for the day. I have said everything that needs to be said, I have ranted on everything that needs to be ranted on.
This is the day where I start to become happy again, the sun shines a little brighter, the grass is a little greener.
I have officially put last weeks game behind me, it is also known as the beginning of the end.
Today is the day where the optimism slowly starts to kick in.
It is usually because I watched the shitty Thursday night game and I think ” Man we aren’t that bad.”
I start to become optimistic, I start to think we aren’t as bad as we look.
Certain thoughts enter my brain like: “We were only a few plays away last week.” “If we can just run the ball we could win.”
I keep these thoughts to myself though. I don’t tell anyone because I am trying to keep myself from getting too excited.
My thought process is, if I just hide these feelings there is no way I will get hurt again.
My head is full of optimism. By Friday afternoon I have almost talked myself into thinking the Browns will win on Sunday.
I always think somehow we will catch this team off guard or the offense will finally come together.
My head my be full of optimism, but I am still trying to act like I am not excited.
I am trying not to act excited because deep down I know what is going to happen.
I know I sound like an idiot and I know everything that I think could happen won’t happen.
As Friday comes to an end the reality of what is going to happen on Sunday is all pushed out.
All those thoughts of optimism I was holding inside are officially out for the world to hear.
I am telling everyone how I think we have a chance to win or how I really think we are going to “pull this one out.”
Here is an example how optimistic I am on a Saturday leading up to a Browns game.
I was at a get together Saturday night for the boxing match. I was sitting out on the back porch with some friends grilling some food and drinking some beers and we were talking about the upcoming NFL games.
When asked about the Browns season I told my friend; “Well if you look at our schedule we could be 5-1.”
My friend looked at me like I was trying to tell him Santa Clause was real. I then tried to argue why I was right and he was wrong.
You see how pathetic that is? On Monday I am telling people how we will be lucky to win a game and now I am telling people how we are playoff contenders.
We all know what happens here.
Listen, I know my relationship is toxic but deep down I know there is good in the Browns heart.
One day I will just break through that brick wall and we will be happy forever and ever.
One day the Browns will be good, it may be when I am 30 or 75, and I will have double middle fingers to all of you who laugh at me now.
You know? sometimes that toxic relationship does have a happy ending.