In Dante Alighieri’s 14th century poem “The Divine Comedy” the Italian philosopher tells of his allegorical journey through hell. He depicts hell as nine circles of suffering.
Dante had nothing on the Cleveland Browns.
In an all to familiar refrain the Browns lose tonight on Monday Night Football when Travis Coons 51-yard field goal is blocked and returned by Will Hill as time expires giving the hated Ravens a 33-27 win. Not only do they steal our team and win two Super Bowls but they deal the Dawg Pound faithful the cruelest of losses in front of a national audience.
While many fan bases would “experience” such a defeat and call it one of the worst all time, us Browns fans know better. Honestly tonight’s loss doesn’t even rank in the top-20 for me. I am not kidding. I can rattle of dozens of other games that were more excruciating and I’m not even talking about the The Drive or The Fumble.
It takes stones to cheer for the Browns. While I call it “stones” my mother calls it stupid, but for the sake of this here blog let’s stick with STONES. The Browns are the one constant in my life where I know exactly what will happen. Fleeting moments of happiness and joy will be dashed by unexpected lightning bolts of searing pain. Searing as in frying a scallop on an open flame.
I cheer for them because I am either insanely loyal or insanely stupid. Until the gas man owner Jimmy Haslam and the texter n’ cheat Ray Farmer are gone the Browns will be second-rate. Even since their return in 1999 Browns fans have had one playoff appearance. A loss to the hated Steelers in 2002. A game in which the Browns went into Heinz Field and had a 33-21 lead with a little over five minutes left and somehow gave the game away. The past 13 years have been littered with have-nots and never-was’
I love them. I always will. But, I realize this pact I got myself into is a one-way street. I give and they always take.
On Dante’s ladder of suffering I have to believe the Browns are on the 7th or 8th circle. If we aren’t close to that 9th circle of suffering. Heaven help me, I don’t know how much more this faithful Dawg can take.